Vodafone plans job cuts amid losses


Mobile phone giant Vodafone has announced plans to cut hundreds of British jobs after unveiling annual losses of £14.85 billion.

The company is planning to axe 400 jobs at its Newbury headquarters in Berkshire in a bid to reduce overheads after incurring one-off costs of £23.5 billion over the last year.

The massive deficit was caused by the mobile phone provider writing down the value of its key assets, including the worth of its £100 billion acquisition of Germany's Mannesmann in 2000.

But announcing preliminary results for the year to March 31st 2006, Vodafone chief executive Arun Sarin insisted that the company had continued to outperform its competitors in an "increasingly challenging marketplace."

Vodafone has faced slower revenue growth, particularly within markets such as Germany and Italy where large numbers of people own mobile phones and competition between providers is intense.

Mr Sarin said that the company had returned £10.2 billion to its shareholders through dividends over the year.

Vodafone also revealed that it had attracted an additional 21 million new customers over the year and increased sales of 3G phones to over ten million.

Amid the growing convergence of mobile, broadband and internet technologies, the company also highlighted the creation of a new business unit to tap into new revenue streams.

Welcoming the phone company's results, despite its heavy losses, Mr Sarin said: "Vodafone has met or exceeded expectations, outperforming its competitors in an increasingly challenging marketplace.

"We have restructured the group and updated our strategy and we will seize the opportunities provided by new technologies to continue delivering innovative services to our customers."

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