Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao to step down in October

16 May, 2018, 08:27 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao to leave after a decade in charge

Vodafone's earnings announcement Thursday pointed to other challenges ahead for Read, as the company battles low-end price competition in Spain and prepares for the entry of Iliad SA's discount carrier in Italy.

"Vittoria Colao has certainly chosen a good time to bow out, having finally consummated a significant and strategically beneficial deal with Liberty Global, as well as reporting a relatively decent year to March 2018", he said.

For Colao, what life after Vodafone will look like hasn't been decided, he said.

However, Vodafone India revenues fell 18.9 per cent, hurt by an ongoing tariff war with Reliance Jio and a drop in interconnection charges ordered by the telecom regulator.

Colao seems to be leaving on a moderate high, with 2017 numbers revealing a 15% increase in operating profit despite a 2% fall in revenues.

He said the planned merger of Indus Towers and Bharti Infratel would "create a monetisable asset that would make the India business very self-supportive and solid".

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The results for FY18 "comprises a non-cash charge of 3,170 million euros (2,245 million euros net of tax) to reduce the carrying value of Vodafone India to fair value less costs to sell", Vodafone Group said. The average revenue per user of the company declined by 26 per cent to Rs 105 from Rs 142 during the quarters under review.

And in India, which it entered with great fanfare in 2007, it is merging its operations with Idea Cellular to bulk up in a market that has been hit by intense competition. The mobile customer base doubled from 269 million to 536 million during his tenure, and the company added almost 20 million broadband customers.

Vodafone shares plunged over 4% despite the company announcing consensus-beating FY 2017 results (Adj. EBITDA +12% YoY organic, beating 10% guidance). There was 86 per cent decline in data price on a year-on-year basis.

Mr Colao's tenure has been largely characterised by Vodafone pulling away from markets outside Europe where his predecessors sought growth, including an agreement past year to merge the company's Indian operations with Idea Cellular Ltd - seen by investors as a prelude to a likely exit. India's objections to jurisdiction and the company's claims are scheduled to be heard together in February 2019.

There doesn't seem to be any juicy gossip behind the move, he has presumably just chose to spend more time with his cash, having spent a decade in charge.

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