Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read Germany for its less than pleasing commercial performance for 2022, ending March 31, blaming it on factors including lower patronage at retail outlets and ongoing issues with customer support systems.
Although Nick Read noted during an earnings presentation today (May 17) that Vodafone Germany recorded revenue gains, he noted a weakening of its performance over the past 18 months.
Read said Vodafone Germany had declined to “an unsatisfactory level”, with work underway to improve the situation in what is the operator group’s largest European market with a 30 per cent share of group service revenue.
He pointed to recent positive trends in net additions for fixed and mobile services, and confirmed the operator is exploring plans to create a joint venture (JV) company to focus on building fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) networks for housing associations in Germany.
“We are currently evaluating investment and build partners and I look forward to updating you further on this project through the year ahead. This overall German plan will be led by Philippe Rogge, who joins us from Microsoft in July, along with a strengthened German team.”
Read said improvements had been made to stabilise the group’s performance in the highly competitive Spanish market, but more needs to be done.
Although Vodafone had “not been able to participate in the recently-proposed consolidation in Spain”, Read indicated it remains “open to pragmatic alternative structural solutions that create or unlock value for our shareholders”.
He also noted progress in other areas, “which are to strengthen our in-market mobile positions in Europe and move Vantage Towers to a co-control structure”.
“We’re actively pursuing a range of live opportunities”.
Vodafone indicated its financial performance in the current fiscal year is likely to be impacted by the current macroeconomic climate, particularly rising inflation.
In fiscal 2022, group revenue increased 4 per cent to €45.6 billion, primarily owing to service revenue growth in Europe and Africa.
The group also posted a much higher profit of €2.6 billion compared with €500 million, mostly due to higher adjusted EBITDA and lower income tax.
Meanwhile, Vodafone has been a shadow of its true self in Ghana for many years now but that has not engaged the attention of the CEO.
Vodafone Ghana is said to now be run by Vodacom South Africa and it has now been turned into a cash cow with almost zero investment coming in from the Group, even though Vodafone Ghana is up against very tough competition.
On the contrary, the company was rather found wanting culpable of tax avoidance in a transfer pricing audit after having shipped over GHS2 billion out of Ghana without paying taxes. Eventually, the law caught up with them and they were made to pay the due taxes on those transfers.
Currently, Vodafone Ghana has been compelled to zero-rate mobile money transfers on Vodafone Cash as a strategy to grow that portfolio and reap the benefits in the future. But the group does not seem interested in any further investments in Ghana.