Announcing that a company the size of Vodafone would feel the effects of the global downturn sent its share price down by 14 per cent, the largest fall in Vodafone history. The company reacted to this fall by announcing a £1 billion buyback. However, this warning by the outgoing CEO, Arun Sarin, that the outlook was less than rosy might have disguised some hidden gems within Vodafone's arsenal of revenue generating resources.
Sure, the sharp decline in the Spanish market hit the company badly as did the lacklustre results from the U.K.--but both are very mature markets and consumers in both countries are reining back on all expenditures. The revenue growth high spots were the emerging markets, namely Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Pacific which was up 30.9 per cent, supported by growth from India of more than 50 per cent. Overall, Vodafone reported a 19.1 per cent revenue growth to £9.8 billion for the three months to the end of June 2008-and added 8.5 million subscribers.
Of more interest was the 50 per cent rise in revenues from its data services over the past quarter, after the number of its customers using the web from mobile devices more than doubled. Data revenue for the quarter stood at £664 million globally, compared with £441 million for the same period last year. The CEO of Vodafone Germany, Friedrich Joussen, was also upbeat claiming that, although revenue fell slightly in the second quarter, due mainly to regulatory causes, "it won't be long until we see growth again."
There are also growing indications that the company is seriously considering an offer for freenet's DSL business. "We are taking a very close look at it," said Joussen, adding that a purchase couldn't be ruled out. Vodafone Germany doesn't necessarily need acquisitions as its organic growth is strong, Joussen said.