http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk Proactiveinvestors RSS feed en Thu, 21 Jun 2018 15:07:04 +0100 http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Genera CMS action@proactiveinvestors.com (Proactiveinvestors) action@proactiveinvestors.com (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[News - Vodafone to trial 5G mobile network technology in seven cities later this year ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/199240/vodafone-to-trial-5g-mobile-network-technology-in-seven-cities-later-this-year-199240.html Mobile phone networks giant Vodafone Group PLC (LON:VOD) is to try out 5G in seven major British cities in the fourth quarter of this year.

The next generation mobile broadband service will go on trial at more than 40 sites in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester.

READ: Vodafone to be Europe's leading next generation network owner after €18.4bn Liberty Global deal

The telecoms company also said it is talking to business customers about testing augmented reality and virtual reality technology in factories, hospital and offices.

5G is the next big thing in networking technology for connected devices, holding out the prospect of speeds up to 100 times as fast as 4G and 10 times swifter than broadband to the home.

The higher speed results from the technology operating at a higher frequency than current networks but the range is not so great, which means network operators will have to erect more base stations to ensure decent coverage.

Vodafone said the trials will use the recently released 3.4GHz (gigahertz) spectrum band.

James Rogerson, of 5G-focused web site 5G.co.uk said it would make sense were the trial cities to be among the first locations to get the full 5G service once Vodafone launches it commercially.

Earlier this month, rival mobile networks operator EE, which is now owned by BT Group plc, said it would begin 5G trials in East London in October, so it is probably a small step ahead of Vodafone in terms of trials of the technology. There does not seem to be any great rush, at present, as the first 5G-capable phones and devices probably won't be on the market until 2020.

READ: BT, Vodafone, Telefonica and Hutchinson pay £1.35bn in mobile spectrum auction​

Vodafone UK chief executive Nick Jeffery said Vodafone wants to make 5G and new fibre broadband services available to consumers and businesses throughout the UK.

“We will also be bringing ultra-fast 4G to several hundred sites in hard to reach rural areas this year, building on our position as the network that offers the best voice coverage in the UK,” he added.

Shares in Vodafone were up 1.1% at 187.82p in afternoon trading.

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Wed, 20 Jun 2018 14:22:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/199240/vodafone-to-trial-5g-mobile-network-technology-in-seven-cities-later-this-year-199240.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180613092746_13677807/ Wed, 13 Jun 2018 09:27:46 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180613092746_13677807/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - CHANGE IN VODAFONE'S OWNERSHIP OF VODACOM GROUP ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180611070004_13673657/ Mon, 11 Jun 2018 07:00:04 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180611070004_13673657/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - 2018 Annual Report on Form 20-F ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180608142001_13673166/ Fri, 08 Jun 2018 14:20:01 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180608142001_13673166/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Annual Financial Report ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180601141312_13664186/ Fri, 01 Jun 2018 14:13:12 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180601141312_13664186/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Total Voting Rights ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180601113802_13663863/ Fri, 01 Jun 2018 11:38:02 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180601113802_13663863/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Issue of Debt ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180530181501_13660534/ Wed, 30 May 2018 18:15:01 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180530181501_13660534/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180530145911_13660271/ Wed, 30 May 2018 14:59:11 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180530145911_13660271/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180529104756_13658048/ Tue, 29 May 2018 10:47:56 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180529104756_13658048/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Publication of Suppl.Prospcts ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180525160117_13656445/ Fri, 25 May 2018 16:01:17 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180525160117_13656445/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Repurchase of Floating Rate Notes by Verizon ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180524151936_13654585/ Thu, 24 May 2018 15:19:36 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180524151936_13654585/ <![CDATA[News - Vodafone 'highly likely' to receive approval for Liberty Global deal, says Citi ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/197274/vodafone-highly-likely-to-receive-approval-for-liberty-global-deal-says-citi-197274.html Vodafone Group PLC’s (LON:VOD) deal to buy continental European assets from Liberty Global is highly likely to receive the go-ahead from regulators but that could be a long way off, according to Citigroup.

Earlier this month, Vodafone agreed to pay US$21.8bn to buy Liberty Global’s assets in Germany and eastern Europe to expand its business with a range of cable TV, broadband and mobile services.

Vodafone expects the deal to close by mid-2019.

Citi downgraded Vodafone to a ‘neutral’ rating, saying the deal is “structure sensible” but it might be a while before it receives clearance. 

“We believe deal clearance is highly likely but the market will likely wait to see the remedies that may be required before it credits Vodafone for the full synergy potential,” the broker said.

On Tuesday, Vodafone announced that its chief executive Vittorio Colao is to step down in October and would be replaced by chief financial officer Nick Read.

READ: Vodafone announces departure of CEO Vittorio Colao as it swings to full year profit

It also reported an attributable profit of €2.5bn, compared to a loss of €6.3bn in 2017 when the company incurred a one-off €4.5bn charge in relation to merging its India business with the country’s mobile phone provider Idea Cellular Limited.

India the 'biggest risk' to sentiment on Vodafone

Adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) increased 4.2% to €14.7bn. Total revenue fell 2.2% to €46.6bn but organic revenue rose 1.6% and free cash flow (FCF) increased 22% to €4.0bn.

“We look at VOD on a proportionate basis in terms of: a) revenues/ EBITDA growth; b) FCF generation; and c) leverage (3.0x and 3.8x post Liberty close and pre synergies),” Citi said.

“We see India as the biggest risk to sentiment as leverage and margin pressure raise concerns of recap needs.”

In mid-morning trading, shares in Vodafone were down 1.1% to 193.7p.

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Fri, 18 May 2018 10:37:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/197274/vodafone-highly-likely-to-receive-approval-for-liberty-global-deal-says-citi-197274.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180517124226_13645506/ Thu, 17 May 2018 12:42:26 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180517124226_13645506/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Notice of Full Redemption ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180516111924_13643580/ Wed, 16 May 2018 11:19:24 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180516111924_13643580/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180516094931_13643331/ Wed, 16 May 2018 09:49:31 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180516094931_13643331/ <![CDATA[News - Are Vodafone and BT bosses up to the challenge?, analysts question ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/197015/are-vodafone-and-bt-bosses-up-to-the-challenge-analysts-question-197015.html The departure of Vodafone Group PLC’s (LON:VOD) chief executive sent shares in the telecoms company lower on Tuesday as some analysts questioned whether his successor was the most suitable candidate to steer the ship in the right direction. 

Vittorio Colao will stand down in October after almost a decade at the helm of Vodafone.

He will hand over the reins to Nick Read, who has been chief financial officer for the past four years. Deputy chief financial officer will succeed Read.

Shares in Vodafone fell 3.4% to 199p in afternoon trading.

READ: Vodafone announces departure of CEO Vittorio Colao as it swings to full year profit

Under Colao’s leadership, Vodafone has undergone a restructuring to focus on its core markets in Europe and to reshape the company into a digital communications operator.  

As part of the overhaul, Vodafone has exited non-core markets, including India and the US, and embarked on a plan to expand in its core market of Europe.

Earlier this month, Vodafone agreed to buy Liberty Global’s cable operations in Germany and Central Europe in a deal valued at €18.4bn. 

Investors 'sceptical' about new Vodafone CEO

Artjom Hatsaturjants, research analyst at Accendo Markets, said: “Colao has in past sought to exit many of Vodafone’s non-core markets (e.g. India, US), but investors look sceptical about whether his replacements can steward the massive acquisition programme in Central and Eastern Europe to drive future revenue growth not just in the medium-term, but for the longer haul.

“After 10 years of stability under Colao, Vodafone is potentially setting sail into uncharted waters under the guidance of an executive that has been with the company only 4 years and has less top level experience than the markets would have been fully comfortable with.”

But another analyst pointed at the Colao has struggled to do much for the company’s share price during his tenure.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said Vodafone’s share price is up just 23% over the time Colao has been in charge against a 45.2% advance for the FTSE 100.

“Of course, this ignores the significant sums returned to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks and the performance of the shares under Colao may not reflect any failings on his part,” he said.

“After all, Vodafone is an established player in a mature market and has few levers to pull for growth.”

He added: “Ultimately Colao’s successor, current chief financial officer Nick Read, could also be running to stand still.”

BT's boss under pressure to turnaround the business

Likewise, some investors have been questioning whether the chief executive of rival telecoms giant BT Group PLC (LON:BT.A) can survive as he tackles the challenges of regulation, pensions, high costs and tough competition.

Gavin Patterson, who joined BT as chief executive in 2013, last week unveiled plans to cut 13,000 managerial and back-office jobs and to leave the London headquarters as part of his new strategy to reduce costs.

READ: BT Group shares drop as it slashes 13,000 jobs and revenues fall, but dividend maintained

“13,000 job cuts and a move out of central London are drastic actions, and should help deliver £1.5bn in cost savings. But they still aren’t going to be enough to dig BT out the hole it’s in,” according to George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“The dividend, which was rising 10% a year not so long ago, is set to freeze for the foreseeable future, and next year’s profits look likely to fall again.”

The strategy update, which follows a tough 2017 that included an accounting scandal in Italy, came as the group reported a 1% decline in full year revenue to £23.7bn and a 2% drop in adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) to £7.5bn.

BT left its full year dividend unchanged at 15.4p even as it said it expects adjusted EBITDA to fall to £7.3bn - £7.4bn.

Shares have continued to drop since the full year results and strategy update last Thursday. In afternoon trading on Tuesday, shares were down 1.4% to 208p.

Vodafone returns to full year profit but revenues drop

In comparison, Vodafone said it swung to a full year profit of €2.5bn in the year to March 31, 2018 from a loss of €6.3bn last year.

However, last year’s results included a one-off €4.5bn charge in relation to merging its India business with the country’s mobile phone provider Idea Cellular Limited.

Total revenue fell 2.2% to €46.6bn, mainly due to the foreign exchange headwinds and the negative impact from the deconsolidation of Vodafone Netherlands following the creation of the VodafoneZiggo joint venture with Liberty Global.

Vodafone raised its final dividend by 2% to €0.1023, bringing the total payment for the year to €0.1507.

The full year dividend puts its yield at around 6.4%.

“Despite continued investment in the business, such as India and the Liberty Global Germany acquisition, Vodafone has again raised its dividend in view of its own confidence in prospects, and the current yield of 6.4% is a strong invitation to investors who are being paid handsomely to wait whilst the strategy unfolds,” said Richard Hunter, Head of Markets at interactive investor.

Should BT cut its dividend? 

BT’s dividend yield sit at over 7% and some analysts have asked whether it should cut the dividend or scrap it completely and invest the money elsewhere.

It could use the money for its pension scheme or to support its plans to upgrade the UK’s broadband infrastructure to improve internet speeds.

BT has agreed a new 13-year funding plan for its pension, which had a deficit of £11.3bn at the end of June. The group will pay £2.1bn into the scheme by 2020 and a further £2bn will be funded by the issuance of bonds.

READ: BT Group dives again; how much worse could it be were it to cut the divi?

“BT has paid its shareholders £10.7bn in dividends in the last decade, almost the size of its current pension deficit,” said Justin Cooper, chief executive officer of Link Market Services

“Shareholders still need the company to invest for the future, and they are on the hook for the company’s pension scheme one way or another. The big cost reductions BT has announced today will protect the dividend for the next couple of years, but its longer-term prospects are still unclear.”

BT is also under pressure by regulator Ofcom to deliver on its plans to connect fibre broadband into three million premises by the end of 2020.

It also needs to carry out the upgrade to fend off competition from the likes of CityFibre (LON:CFHL) and Vodafone, which have joined forces to build a new ultra-fast broadband network for five million homes and businesses in the UK.

In April, CityFibre agreed a £538mln takeover by a consortium formed by private equity firm, Antin Infrastructure Partners, and Goldman Sachs’ West Street Infrastructure Partners, giving the company more fire power to back its new broadband network. 

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Tue, 15 May 2018 12:54:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/197015/are-vodafone-and-bt-bosses-up-to-the-challenge-analysts-question-197015.html
<![CDATA[News - Vodafone announces departure of CEO Vittorio Colao as it swings to full year profit ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/196980/vodafone-announces-departure-of-ceo-vittorio-colao-as-it-swings-to-full-year-profit-196980.html Vodafone Group PLC (LON:VOD) shares fell on Tuesday as it announced that its chief executive Vittorio Colao is to step down in October as the telecoms giant revealed it swung to a full year profit.

Colao, who has been chief executive since July 2008, will be replaced by chief financial officer Nick Read.

Deputy chief financial officer will succeed Read at the annual general meeting in July.

Chairman Gerard Kleisterlee said: "On behalf of the board, I would like to express our gratitude to Vittorio for an outstanding tenure. He has been an exemplary leader and strategic visionary who has overseen a dramatic transformation of Vodafone into a global pacesetter in converged communications, ready for the Gigabit future.”

In mid-morning trading, Vodafone shares were down 2.7% at 201.6p.

"After 10 years of stability under Colao, Vodafone is potentially setting sail into uncharted waters under the guidance of an executive that has been with the company only 4 years and has less top level experience than the markets would have been fully comfortable with," said Artjom Hatsaturjants, research analyst at Accendo Markets.

Vodafone swings to profit but revenues fall

The announcement was made alongside the group’s financial results for the year to 31 March 2018.

Vodafone delivered an attributable profit of €2.5bn, compared to a loss of €6.3bn in 2017 when the company incurred a one-off €4.5bn charge in relation to merging its India business with the country’s mobile phone provider Idea Cellular Limited.

“We have made good progress in securing approvals for the merger with Idea Cellular in India - which is expected to close imminently - and appointed the new management team, who will focus immediately on capturing the sizeable cost synergies,” Colao said.

“In addition, we agreed the merger of Indus Towers and Bharti Infratel, allowing Vodafone to own a significant co-controlling  stake in India's largest listed tower company.”

Total revenue fell 2.2% €46.6bn, reflecting foreign exchange headwinds and the negative impact from the deconsolidation of Vodafone Netherlands following the creation of the VodafoneZiggo joint venture with Liberty Global.

Organic revenue rose 1.6% as broadband market share gains and demand for data offset a drag from new regulation that allows mobile users in the European Union to use free data roaming across the bloc.

Organic adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) increased 11.8% to €14.7bn, beating the company’s guidance for about 10% growth.

Excluding the negative impact of net roaming declines in Europe, the benefits of settlements in the UK and Germany and the introduction of handset financing in the UK, organic adjusted EBITDA grew by 7.9%.

Dividend hiked as Vodafone predicts earnings growth in 2019

Vodafone raised its final dividend by 2% to 10.23 cents.

“We expect to sustain our profit growth in the year ahead, despite the arrival of a new entrant in Italy and competitive pressure in Spain, supported by the third year in a row of lower net operating costs,” Colao said.

Vodafone expects organic adjusted EBITDA growth, excluding settlements and UK handset financing, of 1-5%, implying a range of €14.15-14.65bn.

Earlier this month, Vodafone agreed to buy Liberty Global’s cable operations in Germany and Central Europe in a deal valued at €18.4bn.

READ: Vodafone to be Europe's leading next generation network owner after €18.4bn Liberty Global deal

The group said the deal would create a “converged national challenger to the dominant incumbent in Germany”, Deutsche Telecom, and “transforms our predominately mobile-only operations in Central & Eastern Europe”.

 

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Tue, 15 May 2018 07:54:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/196980/vodafone-announces-departure-of-ceo-vittorio-colao-as-it-swings-to-full-year-profit-196980.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - BOARD ANNOUNCES GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE SUCCESSION ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180515070302_13640830/ Tue, 15 May 2018 07:03:02 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180515070302_13640830/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Final Results ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180515070008_13640765/ Tue, 15 May 2018 07:00:08 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180515070008_13640765/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Vodafone Group Directorate Announcement ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180511143310_13638466/ Fri, 11 May 2018 14:33:10 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180511143310_13638466/ <![CDATA[News - Berenberg trims target price for Vodafone as value of Indian venture dips ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/196827/berenberg-trims-target-price-for-vodafone-as-value-of-indian-venture-dips-196827.html German bank Berenberg has trimmed its price target for Vodafone Group PLC (LON:VOD) to 250p from 253p citing a slightly lower value of its Indian venture.

In an announcement on 25 April, Vodafone said it would merge its Indian mobile tower joint venture Indus Towers with local rival Bharti Infratel to become the world’s second largest tower mobile company.

Indian merger less valuable

In a note to clients, analysts at the bank said the merger had now devalued slightly: “The high indebtedness of the Indian joint venture (JV) (now above 7x net debt/EBITDA pro-forma), despite recent asset sales and an equity injection, means risks of a further cash injection from the group cannot be ruled out.

They added: “Previously, a sale of the group’s stake in Indus Towers could have at least facilitated this without adversely affecting group leverage. However, Vodafone’s decision to fold this stake into publicly quoted Bharti Infratel, while positive in giving investors a see-through valuation for the tower asset, means the stake is no longer as liquid and therefore debt will have to be raised at the group level to provide additional financial support if needed.”

‘Buy’ rating maintained despite India worries

The bank, however, maintained its ‘Buy’ rating on the stock, citing elements of potential upsides in its investment case that were obscured by the concerns around the company’s Indian assets.

“Support from European broadband and AMAP should help group service revenue trends stay in positive territory (c1% in hard currencies). Meanwhile, digitisation and recent regulatory concessions in AMAP should lead to EBITDA CAGR of 3%” Berenberg said, adding that while they agreed with solvency concerns around India, it was “an industry-wide problem that will inevitably have to result in government-led relief or competitors being acquired by [Indian mobile network operator] Jio, both outcomes of which are positive.”

Analysts also commented that the proposal from the European Parliament regarding symmetric regulation is far less negative than it may seem for Vodafone’s recent €18.4bn deal to purchase operations from US cable giant Liberty Global.

READ: Vodafone to be Europe's leading next generation network owner after €18.4bn Liberty Global deal

More generally, the bank said results for the second half of the year due on 15 May should reassure on organic prospects.

Analysts commented: “We think there is scope for a slightly stronger H2 EBITDA performance than consensus expects with organic growth for underlying EBITDA at about 7% (H1: 9%).

“This, together with a 2018/19 outlook for low single-digit organic growth for underlying EBITDA (we are at 3% while consensus is at 2%), should serve as a reminder that service revenue, EBITDA and free cash flow growth are not at risk of declines from an Italian price war as the valuation seems to suggest” they added.

In mid-morning trading Friday, Vodafone shares were up 0.6% at 211.4p.

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Fri, 11 May 2018 10:45:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/196827/berenberg-trims-target-price-for-vodafone-as-value-of-indian-venture-dips-196827.html
<![CDATA[News - Vodafone's European expansion is bad news for Deutsche Telekom but could also lead to a shake-up in UK market ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/196666/vodafone-s-european-expansion-is-bad-news-for-deutsche-telekom-but-could-also-lead-to-a-shake-up-in-uk-market-196666.html The push by Vodafone Group PLC (LON:VOD) to become Europe's biggest quad-play telecoms, broadband and media provider will mean big competition for German heavyweight Deutsche Telekom AG but could also lead to changes in the UK telecoms market, according to analysts.

The FTSE-100 listed mobiles telecoms giant is acquiring operations in four European countries - Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania - from US cables giant Liberty Global for an enterprise value of €18.4bn.

READ: Vodafone to be Europe's leading next generation network owner after €18.4bn Liberty Global deal

The move will see Vodafone’s European network extended to 54mln cable/fibre homes 'on-net' and a total reach of 110mln homes and businesses.

David Madden market analyst at CMC Markets UK pointed out: “The motivation behind the move is to challenge Deutsche Telekom’s dominance in Germany.

“It would allow Vodafone to offer more competitive packages to customers, and it is estimated that the transaction would lead to savings of €1.5 billion through synergies.”

Deutsche Telekom shares fell back on the news as its hegemony looks to be threatened, and some analysts suggested European Union regulators may have concerns over the deal, raising a risk that it doesn’t happen.

Where does the money go?

But if the move does succeed, Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com thinks it could also lead to a shake-up of things in the UK.

Wilson pointed out that the question to ask now is where does Liberty Global boss John Malone deploy that big chunk of cash?

The analyst thinks the UK “may be in his sights”, with Liberty Global - already the owner of cable broadband provider Virgin Media - owning a big stake in commercial broadcaster ITV plc (LON:ITV).

Wilson added: “The much-rumoured bid for ITV could be on the cards although Liberty may in fact be minded to go after o2 ahead of its much-rumoured stock market listing.”

The analyst said: “Tying up the assets of Virgin and o2 to offer bundled services/quad-play in the UK may be the number one option."

“One thing is for sure, with the mounting costs of building out network capacity and 5G etc, telecoms firms have decided they need to combine or merge assets to have the necessary scale,” Wilson concluded.

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Wed, 09 May 2018 15:35:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/196666/vodafone-s-european-expansion-is-bad-news-for-deutsche-telekom-but-could-also-lead-to-a-shake-up-in-uk-market-196666.html
<![CDATA[News - Vodafone to be Europe's leading next generation network owner after €18.4bn Liberty Global deal ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/196613/vodafone-to-be-europe-s-leading-next-generation-network-owner-after-184bn-liberty-global-deal-196613.html Vodafone Group PLC (LON:VOD) is set to become Europe's leading next generation network owner after agreeing to acquire operations in four countries from US cable giant Liberty Global for an enterprise value of €18.4bn.

Vodafone - the world's second biggest mobile operator - said in February that it was in talks about buying Liberty Global's assets in continental Europe where they overlap - Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.

READ: Vodafone unlikely to overpay for Liberty Global assets or cut dividend, says Numis

The move will see the FTSE 100-listed group become the leading next generation network owner in Europe, with 54mln cable/fibre homes 'on-net' and a total reach of 110mln homes and businesses, including wholesale arrangements.

The group said it estimates cost and capex synergies from the deal of approximately €535mln per year before integration costs by the fifth year post completion, with an estimated net present value of over €6bn after integration costs.

It added that it sees revenue synergies with a net present value exceeding €1.5bn from cross-selling to the combined customer base.

Vodafone’ s chief executive Vittorio Colao commented: "This transaction will create the first truly converged pan-European champion of competition. It represents a step change in Europe's transition to a Gigabit Society and a transformative combination for Vodafone that will generate significant value for shareholders.”

In afternoon trading, Vodafone shares were 1.1% higher at 209.9p.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, commented: “The motivation behind the move is to challenge Deutsche Telekom’s dominance in Germany. It would allow Vodafone to offer more competitive packages to customers, and it is estimated that the transaction would lead to savings of €1.5 billion through synergies.”

 -- Adds share price, analyst comment --

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Wed, 09 May 2018 07:46:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/196613/vodafone-to-be-europe-s-leading-next-generation-network-owner-after-184bn-liberty-global-deal-196613.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - VODAFONE LIBERTY GLOBAL TRANSACTION ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180509071942_13634104/ Wed, 09 May 2018 07:19:42 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180509071942_13634104/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Total Voting Rights ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180501101416_13625512/ Tue, 01 May 2018 10:14:16 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180501101416_13625512/ <![CDATA[News - Vodafone to become premium partner for ESL esports series ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/195830/vodafone-to-become-premium-partner-for-esl-esports-series-195830.html Vodafone Group PLC (LON:VOD) said it has become a premium partner of the world’s largest esports company, ESL, and will sponsor its upcoming flagship event series.

The FTSE 100 mobile network operator said the event series would include the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM), ESL One and ESL Pro League events, with the agreement including a live broadcast segment, ‘The Vodafone View’, content and advertising distribution, as well as branding and activation at the events.

READ: Vodafone unlikely to overpay for Liberty Global assets or cut dividend, says Numis

Vodafone added that it would also work with ESL to support a series of initiatives to promote diversity and female participation in esports by acting as premium partner of the female esports challenge at the IEM live event in Sydney in May 2018, as well as collaborating with the world's top female esports personalities to highlight the opportunities for women in the industry.

Serpil Timuray, chief operations & strategy officer at Vodafone, said: "We are delighted to launch this partnership with ESL and create one of the biggest international networks for esports at a time when audiences are growing rapidly and new technologies are poised to deliver better experiences.”

Ralf Reichert, chief executive of ESL, added: "We are thrilled to partner with Vodafone as our new telecommunication partner for various events,

"Together with Vodafone we are looking forward to connect even more people and create diversity in esports by ensuring better technological conditions for professional players, fans and ESL employees, fostering corporate responsibility projects and creating awareness around the esports industry to a broader audience.”

In early trading Thursday, Vodafone shares were up 0.5% at 210.1p.

--Adds share price--

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Thu, 26 Apr 2018 08:15:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/195830/vodafone-to-become-premium-partner-for-esl-esports-series-195830.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - VODAFONE & ESL ANNOUNCE ESPORTS PARTNERSHIP ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180426070010_13619101/ Thu, 26 Apr 2018 07:00:10 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180426070010_13619101/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Merger of Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180425070005_13617202/ Wed, 25 Apr 2018 07:00:05 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180425070005_13617202/ <![CDATA[News - Vodafone unlikely to overpay for Liberty Global assets or cut dividend, says Numis ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/195463/vodafone-unlikely-to-overpay-for-liberty-global-assets-or-cut-dividend-says-numis-195463.html Vodafone Group PLC (LON:VOD) is negotiating on the possible acquisition of Liberty Global's assets from a position of strength so is unlikely to overpay, Numis said.

In February, Vodafone announced that it was in early stage talks to buy some of Liberty’s European assets.

Numis said in a note to investors on Friday that Vodafone is in a good position to negotiate because it now has some “sizeable” assets of its own in Europe and “sensibly priced” wholesale access to third-party fixed-line networks.

The broker also believes Liberty is showing “much more humility” than it did a year ago as the company is convinced that fixed line and mobile convergence is a certainty but does not work for cable networks that reach only a small proportion of each market.

Risk Vodafone will cut dividend 'very low', says Numis

“In Germany, Liberty's asset reaches just c.30% of all properties so we think Liberty believes it has to exit sooner rather than later, no matter how well this asset is growing currently,” Numis said.

“As a result of all the preceding points, we believe Vodafone will not overpay for Liberty’s asset in Germany (we think more than 10 times EBITDA is fair) and Vodafone will not have to also buy Liberty out of the Dutch market.

“In turn, risks that Vodafone will issue new shares or cut its dividend per shares are very low.”

Shares rose 1.5% to 209.90 in late morning trading.

Numis remains bullish but cuts target price

Numis left its rating on the stock at ‘buy’ but cut its target price to 255p from 270p due to “numerous individually small reasons” such as higher estimates for spectrum costs.

“Our target price reflects our view that the stock should trade at a small EV/EBITDA premium to the out-of-favour sector rather than a small discount currently - relative to some listed telecom companies, we believe VOD is better managed and gaining more control of its destiny faster,” Numis said.

Vodafone was among the successful bidders in Ofcom’s 4G and 5G airwave spectrum auction earlier this month.  It won 50 MHz of the 3.4 GHz spectrum that is earmarked for 5G at a cost of £378.24mln.

Ahead of Vodafone’s full year results on May 15, Numis downgraded its underlying earnings (EBITDA) forecasts by 1-2%.

India the 'only real problem asset' for Vodafone

Numis, however, believes market reaction to revenue key performance indicators in the third quarter was “over the top”.

READ: Vodafone's quarterly revenue drops on impact of Dutch unit sale and forex

Regarding sales prospects in Europe, Numis thinks regulatory cuts to mobile prices are now immaterial and Vodafone keeps growing in fixed line.

On the competition the company faces from new Italy mobile entrant Iliad, Numis reckons “many overestimate Iliad and underestimate Vodafone”.

Numis said the only real problem asset in the Europe and Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region its India subsidiary, which has been weighed down by tough competition.

However, Vodafone is close to completing the merger of the India unit with Idea Cellular and thus initiating a major self-help programme, the broker added.

“Also, India now has two-thirds of fewer mobile network operators and just three large players remain,” Numis said. 

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Fri, 20 Apr 2018 10:57:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/195463/vodafone-unlikely-to-overpay-for-liberty-global-assets-or-cut-dividend-says-numis-195463.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Directorate Change ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180416072502_13604788/ Mon, 16 Apr 2018 07:25:02 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180416072502_13604788/ <![CDATA[News - Vodafone Group tipped to show strong full year earnings ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/194620/vodafone-group-tipped-to-show-strong-full-year-earnings-194620.html Vodafone Group PLC (LON:VOD) is expected to highlight strong earnings and free cash flow growth when it releases full year results next month, that’s according to Morgan Stanley.

The US bank repeated an ‘overweight’ rating for the mobile telecoms firm whilst telling investors that the recent market concerns are “overdone”.

READ: Vodafone deal to buy Liberty Global assets would increase free cash flows

Analyst Emmet Kelly noted that the recent share price tail-off was driven by the consensus miss for the third quarter, concerns over trends in the Indian business, a lack of visibility on a possible deal with Liberty Global and a higher outlay on network spectrum over the coming 24 months.

Kelly downgraded Morgan Stanley’s price target to 270p, from 280p, which still suggests significant upside to the current price of 204.75p.

The analyst said Vodafone is likely to beat guidance for the last financial year, and also highlights that ongoing telecoms consolidation and potential monetisation of mobile towers as other possible catalysts for the share.

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Tue, 10 Apr 2018 11:23:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/194620/vodafone-group-tipped-to-show-strong-full-year-earnings-194620.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - VODAFONE UK ACQUIRES SPECTRUM FOR 5G SERVICES ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180405075451_13592714/ Thu, 05 Apr 2018 07:54:51 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180405075451_13592714/ <![CDATA[News - Vodafone deal to buy Liberty Global assets would increase free cash flows, says Citi ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/194239/vodafone-deal-to-buy-liberty-global-assets-would-increase-free-cash-flows-says-citi-194239.html Vodafone PLC’s (LON:VOD) free cash flow would receive a boost if talks to buy large parts of John Malone’s European cable group Liberty Global result in a deal, according to Citigroup.

The FTSE 100-listed company confirmed it was in discussions with Liberty Global in February about buying some of the cable company’s assets in the continental European countries where they both operate.

Liberty’s Unitymedia business in Germany would help Vodafone to take on the country’s leading broadband provider Deutsche Telekom.

“We think a potential debt and hybrid funded deal to buy Unitymedia for €15.8 - 19.0bn (10-12x FY19 OCF) would add €700-830m or 12-15% to Vodafone's free cash flow,” said Citi.

Citi upgraded Vodafone to a ‘buy’ rating from ‘neutral’ on a lowered target price of 220p.

The broker added: “Vodafone's markets remain competitive but Germany and Spain look to us to be structurally attractive for the long term, the UK is improving, the Netherlands may have stabilised and India could end up with a much more appealing market structure.

“On the other hand, conditions look set to get tougher in Italy and near term.”

READ: Vodafone's quarterly revenue drops on impact of Dutch unit sale and forex

Shares in Vodafone edged up 0.31% to 194.6p in morning trading. 

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Wed, 04 Apr 2018 10:49:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/194239/vodafone-deal-to-buy-liberty-global-assets-would-increase-free-cash-flows-says-citi-194239.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Total Voting Rights ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180403094539_13589105/ Tue, 03 Apr 2018 09:45:39 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180403094539_13589105/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - SALE OF INDIAN STANDALONE TOWER BUSINESS COMPLETED ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180403070009_13588405/ Tue, 03 Apr 2018 07:00:09 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180403070009_13588405/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - COMPLETION OF THE SALE OF VODAFONE QATAR ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180329170001_13587835/ Thu, 29 Mar 2018 17:00:01 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180329170001_13587835/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - PROPOSED NEW LEADERSHIP TEAM IN INDIA ANNOUNCED ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180322124001_13577693/ Thu, 22 Mar 2018 12:40:01 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180322124001_13577693/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - LAUNCH OF WORLD'S LARGEST FUTURE JOBS PROGRAMME ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180320081503_13573284/ Tue, 20 Mar 2018 08:15:03 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180320081503_13573284/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director Declaration ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180309070006_13560753/ Fri, 09 Mar 2018 07:00:06 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180309070006_13560753/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Total Voting Rights ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180301094010_13550841/ Thu, 01 Mar 2018 09:40:10 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180301094010_13550841/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - VODAFONE & NOKIA TO CREATE 1ST 4G NETWORK ON MOON ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180227143001_13547788/ Tue, 27 Feb 2018 14:30:01 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180227143001_13547788/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - SALE OF STAKE IN VODAFONE QATAR ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180226124501_13545937/ Mon, 26 Feb 2018 12:45:01 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180226124501_13545937/ <![CDATA[News - Vodafone issues trio of news, including smart home link with Samsung Electronics ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/192172/vodafone-issues-trio-of-news-including-smart-home-link-with-samsung-electronics-192172.html Vodafone Group PLC (LON:VOD) unveiled a trio of news announcements today including an exclusive partnership with Samsung Electronics Co.Ltd to develop and launch a range of consumer Internet of things (IoT) ‘Smart Home’ product and services in selected European markets.

The service, named ‘V-Home by Vodafone’ will bring together its IoT system and Samsung’s ‘SmartThings’ open platform. It will send immediate alerts to customer’s phones in the event of a home intrusion. It also enables simple remote automation of home appliances and utilities, including voice activation via home voice assistants.

READ: Vodafone Group announces world first in trial of drone traffic control system

The FTSE 100-listed company said the new service will be launched in Germany and Spain in the second quarter of 2018, and it will continue to expand it throughout the year, offering more products and services.

Vittorio Colao, chief executive of Vodafone, said: “The IoT is already transforming the world of work; now, it will transform the home.”

'Big Data for Good'

In the separate statement on Monday, Vodafone also announced it is pioneering a ‘Big Data For Good’ programme in Ghana.

The company said the new programme will use aggregated anonymised mobile data to track real-time trends in population movement. The data will be analysed to provide life-saving insights during a widespread epidemic and government departments will be able to allocate resources more efficiently and identify the areas at increased risk of new outbreaks.

They said the level of activity at each mobile phone mast can provide a ‘heat map’ of where people are and how far they are moving during the outbreak, while anonymised data can be used for decision making.

Joakin Reiter, Vodfone's external affairs director, said: “As we can now measure human mobility, it is possible to model how infections spread. This has the potential to save thousands of lives.”

Vodafone Qatar stake sold

And later on, Vodafone also announced that Qatar Foundation LLC will acquire its 51% stake in the joint venture company that controls Vodafone Qatar.

The group said Qatar Foundation will pay a total cash consideration of €301mln to acquire the stake, with €279mln payable at completion, which is expected in the next three months, and the balance 12 months later.

The group said the transaction values Vodafone Qatar at an enterprise value of €1.451bn.

The UK firm said it has entered into a partner market agreement with Vodafone Qatar with an initial term of five years from completion.

In early afternoon trading, Vodafone shares were up 0.6% at 205.05p.

 -- Adds Vodafone Qatar deal news, share price --

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Mon, 26 Feb 2018 08:58:00 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/192172/vodafone-issues-trio-of-news-including-smart-home-link-with-samsung-electronics-192172.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - VODAFONE FOUNDATION 'BIG DATA FOR GOOD' PROGRAMME ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180226080002_13545319/ Mon, 26 Feb 2018 08:00:02 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180226080002_13545319/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - VODAFONE & SAMSUNG TO LAUNCH SMART HOME SERVICES ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180226070006_13544999/ Mon, 26 Feb 2018 07:00:06 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180226070006_13544999/ <![CDATA[News - Vodafone Group announces world first in trial of drone traffic control system ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/191885/vodafone-group-announces-world-first-in-trial-of-drone-traffic-control-system-191885.html Vodafone Group PLC (LON:VOD) has said that it is to test the world’s first air traffic control system for drones on a mobile network.

The FTSE 100-listed telecoms provider said that it would work alongside the European Aviation Safety Agency on the trials, to be undertaken in Germany and Spain.

READ: Vodafone upgraded to 'buy' by Numis as broker predicts earnings growth

The company hopes to make drone tracking and safety technology available for commercial use in 2019.

The system will not be used to track consumer drones but larger remote vehicles currently being developed for commercial uses.

It will be able to track drones up to a height of around 400 metres and for any device going higher to descend.

Vodafone shares were up 0.4% in early morning trading at 204.4p.

-- Add share price --

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Tue, 20 Feb 2018 08:04:00 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/191885/vodafone-group-announces-world-first-in-trial-of-drone-traffic-control-system-191885.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - WORLD'S 1ST 4G DRONE TRACKING & SAFETY TECH TRIAL ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180220070005_13538704/ Tue, 20 Feb 2018 07:00:05 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180220070005_13538704/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180207145326_13525216/ Wed, 07 Feb 2018 14:53:26 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180207145326_13525216/ <![CDATA[News - Vodafone upgraded to 'buy' by Numis as broker predicts earnings growth ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/191141/vodafone-upgraded-to-buy-by-numis-as-broker-predicts-earnings-growth-191141.html Vodafone PLC’s (LON:VOD) third quarter service revenue met market forecasts but the prospects for sustained and accelerated earnings growth are intact, Numis said in a note to investors.  

Numis raised its rating on the stock to ‘buy’ from ‘add’ and left its target price at 270p. Last week, the company reported a 1.1% rise in third quarter organic service revenue, compared to 1.3% growth the previous quarter, as it tackled new mobile roaming regulations in Europe and a shift towards SIM-only contracts. 

READ: Vodafone's quarterly revenue drops on impact of Dutch unit sale and forex Too soon to think Vodafone will spend more cash in India

The struggling India division continued to contend with price competition but Numis thinks it is too early to believe Vodafone will have to inject more cash into the business.

In March 2017, the company announced a deal to combine its Vodafone India subsidiary with Idea Cellular. Vodafone and Idea recently agreed on an extra cash injection of up to €1.8bn, raised €1bn from selling standalone towers and will raise €1bn from selling an 11% stake in Indus Towers.

Numis pleased Vodafone not exiting UK

Vodafone is also in early talks to buy some of Liberty Global's assets in the continental European countries where they both operate.

The news comes two years after discussions between the pair collapsed.

“Buying Liberty out of Germany would double Vodafone’s cable footprint to c.60% of the country,” Numis analyst John Karidis.

“Because of this, cable's long and enduring value, and the total worth of Germany's market, we doubt investors will begrudge VOD if it pays a full multiple (11-12x EBITDA).”

Numis added that it was glad Vodafone is not exiting the UK as this “could hurt its global Enterprise business”.

Shares in Vodafone fell 2.3% to 214.3p in morning trading. 

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Mon, 05 Feb 2018 10:18:00 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/191141/vodafone-upgraded-to-buy-by-numis-as-broker-predicts-earnings-growth-191141.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - VODAFONE ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING MEDIA SPECULATION ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180202162001_13520512/ Fri, 02 Feb 2018 16:20:01 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3322/LSE20180202162001_13520512/