Vodafone’s new boss to cut 11,000 jobs as cash flow to fall

Margherita Della Valle, the new CEO of Vodafone, stated on Tuesday that she would remove 11,000 jobs over three years to streamline the telecoms firm and reclaim its competitive edge, despite the company forecasting a 1.5 billion euro reduction in free cash flow this year.

The job losses are the most significant in Vodafone’s history, as the company employs about 100,000 people across Europe and Africa, making it one of the most well-known corporate brands in the United Kingdom.

“Our performance has not been good enough,” said Della Valle, who was appointed permanently as CEO last month, adding: “My priorities are customers, simplicity and growth”.

Vodafone was the biggest faller on the FTSE 100, falling 4.5% to its lowest level since early January.

“Lacklustre performance has been something markets have come to expect from Vodafone of late, and full-year results didn’t buck the trend,” said Matt Britzman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

Della Valle stated that Germany, Vodafone’s largest market, was underperforming, and that Spain, which has seen fierce competition in recent years, was undergoing a strategic review.

Vodafone said it will generate 3.3 billion euros ($3.6 billion) in cash this fiscal year, down from 4.8 billion euros in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023. Analysts estimated 3.6 billion euros.

Vodafone’s group core earnings fell 1.3% year on year to 14.7 billion euros, missing its own expectations due to headwinds in Germany and increasing energy costs.

According to Vodafone, the European telecoms industry has traditionally provided a poor return on capital spent in networks, and its relative performance has deteriorated over time.

Activist investors and competitors have also characterized the British business as cumbersome and slow to respond to market changes.

Della Valle stated that she will maximize the potential of business clients, a long-standing Vodafone strength, while focusing on the essentials in the consumer market, such as customer service.

Vodafone has already begun to reduce positions in its major countries, laying off 1,000 workers in Italy early this year, and laying off roughly 1,300 in Germany, according to media reports.

Della Valle’s predecessor, Nick Read, who stepped down in December, had previously stated that consolidation was required in large markets such as the United Kingdom, where Vodafone has been in negotiations with rival Hutchison’s Three UK for at least nine months.

However, Vodafone stated on Tuesday that there was no guarantee that any transaction would be completed. It made no more remark on the talks.

Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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