Vodafone looks to emerging markets for acquisitions

Having been accused in the past of making ill-judged acquisitions, Vodafone's CEO, Arun Sarin, was keen to stress that future investments would be done in a 'sensible way.'

Speaking at the company's India Investor Day earlier this week, Sarin indicated that there were several countries in Asia where Vodafone would like to extend its footprint, adding that he was keen to increase the company's exposure in Africa, "but how we do that is unclear."

One key area for attention, according to Sarin, is to aggressively grow revenues from operations in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific, as well as from the operator's U.S. associate Verizon Wireless. These regions currently account for approximately 25 percent of Vodafone's revenue, and Sarin would like this business area to contribute one third of Vodafone's revenues in the coming years, with the growth happening organically as well as by acquisition.

Sarin also indicated it would like to increase its shareholding in Vodacom Group, South Africa's largest cell phone operator, and would do so if a sensible route forward became available. Last month Telkom South Africa abandoned talks to sell its mobile and fixed-line phone assets to Vodafone and MTN Group.

Separately, Vodafone announced it had been successful in acquiring, as part of a consortium, a second mobile license in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar. The group submitted the highest bid, thought to be around £300 million, in the second round auction, defeating four rival consortia, which included bids from AT&T and Verizon.

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