Vodafone will look for others if Hutch bid fails, says Sarin

Vodafone would consider other acquisitions in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe if the mobile giant failed in its bid for India's Hutchison Essar, according to Vodaone CEO Arun Sarin, quoted by a Daily Telegraph report said.

The Daily Telegraph repot also said that the Vodafone board would also look at possible returns to shareholders as part of a review of its balance sheet in the event it was unsuccessful, according to Sarin.

His comments came as Vodafone reported underlying third-quarter revenue growth of 6.1%, despite growth of just 0.9% at its core European business, the report said.

The group was boosted by faster growth in less developed markets such as India, where it already owns 10% of Hutchison Essar's rival Bharti Airtel, the report said.

Sarin, who is likely to negotiate an exit from Bharti Airtel if he wins Hutchison Essar, vowed not to breach Vodafone's self-imposed financial guidelines on bids.

Vodafone is considering a network-sharing deal to help it meet its criteria and revealed that it was considering such deals in other territories.

Wesley McCoy, investment analyst at Standard Life Investments, said the competition for Hutchison Essar, valued at $18 billion, 'appears fierce."

Vodafone is seeking to buy Hutchison Whampoa's 67% stake in the business but faces several rivals, including the 33% shareholder, Indian company Essar, the report further said.

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