Vodafone announced a mixed set of financial results for its first quarter with the CEO, Vittorio Colao, claiming they were in line with expectations as growth in emerging markets offsets a slide in European revenues.
Away from these figures, Andy Halford, CFO of Vodafone, admitted the company was very keen to supply the iPhone across more of its empire. It currently sells the device in 11 countries but not in the key European markets of Germany, where it is stocked exclusively by T-Mobile, or the UK where O2 has the exclusive. "It's a good product and we would love to have it in the portfolio in more countries," said Halford,
Supporting this viewpoint, Colao later confirmed that not having access to the distribution rights was having a negative affect on Vodafone. "It's clear the iPhone is working very well in the UK; it's particularly clear that not having it has hindered us."
Referencing to how Vodafone was making progress with internal cost cutting--which would appear to be on track--Halford widen the topic by stating that the company liked the idea of merging its businesses in underperforming markets with other players in order to reduce costs. Last month the company merged its Australian business with local rival 3.
Asked about Vodafone's attitude to so-called in-market consolidation, Halford said: "The concept of putting two businesses together with very obvious cost synergies... is one that we like. There are other markets where we think more consolidation would be a good thing," he added, in an allusion to the UK.
Having seen Vivendi walk away from discussions to acquire the African assets of Zain, Halford rejected any idea that Vodafone might be interested in making a bid: "Our primary focus is on squeezing all the pips we can out of the existing business."
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