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Vodafone

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Vodafone Group Pic
Type Mobile Telecommunications Company
Founded 1984 as Racal Electronics Plc, became Vodafone Group Pic in 1991
Headquarters Berkshire, England, UK
Number of locations Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and the United States
Key people Vittorio Colao, CEO Sir John Bond, Chairman John Buchanan, Deputy Chairman
Products Cellular phones,telecommunications, integrated mobile and PC communication services.
Revenue ▲ £35,478 million GBP (2008
Net income ▲ £10,047 million GBP (2008)
Employees Approximately 72,000 during year ended 30 June 2008
Website http://www.vodafone.com/hub_page.html

Vodafone is a global telecommunications operator and provider headquartered in Berkshire, England, UK. It is the world's leading mobile telecommunications company, with over 269 million registered customers, and an estimated total market capitalisation of approximately 79 billion pounds as of June, 2008.[1] It is currently present in 25 countries, and has undertaken various assiociations, parterships, and joint industrial/investment ventures in 42 other countries.[2]

Company History

Vodafone was formed in 1984 as a subsidiary of Racal Electronics Plc. Then known as Racal Telecom Limited, approximately 20% of the company's capital was offered to the public in October 1988. It was fully demerged from Racal Electronics Plc and became an independent company in September 1991, at which time it changed its name to Vodafone Group Plc.(the name comes from the expression "VOice DAta Phone").

Following its merger with AirTouch Communications, Inc. (‘AirTouch’), the company changed its name to Vodafone AirTouch Plc on 29 June 1999 and, following approval by the shareholders in General Meeting, reverted to its former name, Vodafone Group Plc, on 28 July 2000.

The following list includes Vodafone's most important corporate highlights over the past 8 years:

2008

Vodafone acquires a 70% stake in Ghana Telecom for $900 million (July)

Vodafone lauches the M-Paisa mobile money transfer service on Afghanistan's Roshan. Afghanistan is added to the Vodafone footprint. (February)

2007

A consortium led by Vodafone Group is awarded the second mobile phone licence in Qatar. (December)

Vodafone agrees to acquire Tele2 Italia SpA and Tele2 Telecommunication Services SLU from Tele2 AB Group. (October)

Vodafone announces completion of the acquisition of Hutch Essar from Hutchison Telecommunications International Limited. (May)

Safaricom, Vodafone’s partner in Kenya announces the launch of M-PESA, an innovative new mobile payment solution that enables customers to complete simple financial transactions by mobile phone. (February)

Vodafone agrees to buy a controlling interest in Hutchison Essar Limited, a leading operator in the fast growing Indian mobile market, (February)

Vodafone announces agreements with both Microsoft and Yahoo! to bring seamless Instant Messaging (IM) services to the mobile which can be accessed from both the PC and mobile handsets. (February)

Vodafone signs a series of ground-breaking agreements which will lead to the mobilising of the internet. YouTube agrees to offer Vodafone customers specially rendered YouTube pages on their mobile phones. With Google, Vodafone announces its intention to develop a location-based version of Google Maps for. With eBay, Vodafone announces it is to offer the new eBay mobile service to customers, With MySpace.com Vodafone announces an exclusive partnership to offer Vodafone customers a MySpace experience via their mobile phones. (February).

Vodafone reaches 200 million customers (January)

2006

Sale of 25% stake in Switzerland's Swisscom (December)

Sale of 25% stake in Belgium's Proximus. (August)

The number of Vodafone live! customers with 3G reached 10 million in March 2006.

We acquired Telsim Mobil Telekomunikasyon Hizmetleri (Turkey) in May 2006.

Launch of mobile TV capability and Vodafone Radio DJ, which offers a personalised, interactive radio service streamed to 3G phones and PCs.

3G broadband through HSDPA launched offering faster than 3G speeds.

Japan business sold to SoftBank.

‘Make the most of now’ global marketing campaign launched.

Sir John Bond succeeds Lord MacLaurin as Chairman.

2005

Completed acquisition of MobiFon S.A. (Romania) and Oskar Mobile a.c. (Czech Republic) (May).

Launch of Vodafone Simply, a new easy-to-use service for customers who want to use voice and text services with minimum complexity (May).

Introduction of Vodafone Passport, a voice roaming price plan that provides customers with greater price clarity when using mobile voice services abroad (May).

2004

Launches its first 3G service in Europe with Vodafone Mobile Connect 3G/GPRS data card.

14 Partner Networks with new agreements in Cyprus, Hong Kong and Luxembourg. Vodafone live! with 3G launched in 13 markets (November).

2003

At the GSM Association Awards Ceremony in Cannes, France, Vodafone won the mobile industry's most prestigious awards in two categories, Best Consumer Wireless Application or Service and Best Television or Broadcast Commercial for its global consumer service, Vodafone live!

Vodafone live! attracts 1 million customers in its first six months.

Verizon Wireless and Vodafone co-operate on laptop e-mail, internet and corporate applications access for the US and Europe.

Arun Sarin succeeds Sir Christopher Gent as Chief Executive.


2002

First trial of a global mobile payment system in the UK, Italy and Germany. The trial enables customers to purchase physical and digital goods using their mobile phone.

Launching of the first commercial European GPRS roaming service. Customers are able to seamlessly access services such as corporate e-mail, intranet and personalised information on their mobile phones, laptops or PDAs over GPRS.

The Vodafone Group Foundation is launched, with plans to contribute £20 million to community programmes, guided by the Group Social Investment Policy.

In October: launch of Vodafone live!, a new consumer proposition, and Mobile Office, a new business proposition. In November, Vodafone Remote Access is launched as part of Mobile Office. The service gives business customers an easy way to connect to their corporate LAN to access e-mail, calendar and other business specific applications whilst on the move.

2001

Acquisition of Ireland's leading mobile communications company, Eircell.

Vodafone and China Mobile (Hong Kong) ltd (CHMK) sign a 'strategic alliance agreement'.

The Group completes the acquisition of a 25% stake in Swisscom Mobile.

Introduction of instant messaging to its networks, a faster and more efficient way to communicate using text messages via SMS or WAP.

First global communications campaign launched in August. The campaign features TV, cinema, print, online and outdoor media, each version asking the question, 'How are you?'.

First Vodafone Partner Agreement with TDC Mobil A/S, Denmark's leading mobile operator. The agreement is the first of its kind in the mobile industry and means Vodafone and TDC Mobil will cooperate in developing, marketing and advertising international roaming products and services to international travellers and corporate customers.

We make the word's first 3G roaming call (between Spain and Japan).

2000

On 4 February, terms are agreed with the Supervisory Board of Mannesmann by which Mannesmann would become a part of the Vodafone community. The transaction almost doubles the size of the Vodafone Group.

The agreement to acquire Mannesmann AG receives European Commission clearance on 12 April 2000.

Verizon Wireless is launched in May, the combination of Vodafone AirTouch's and Bell Atlantic's US cellular, PCS and paging assets.

Original source: [3]


Historical Financial Information

Revenue:

£35,478 million (year ended 31 March 2008) £9,828 million (quarter ended 30 June 2008)[4]


Summary Consolidated Income Statement for the year 2007.

Monetary data is presented in £m

Revenue: 31,104

Cost of sales: 18,725

Gross profit: 12,379

Selling and distribution expenses: (2,136)

Administrative expenses: (3,437)

Share of result in associated undertakings: 2,728

Impairment losses: (11,600)

Other income and expense: 502

Operating loss: (1,564)

Investment income: 789

Financing costs: (1,612)

Loss before taxation: (2,383)

Income tax expense: (2,423)

Loss for the financial year from continuing operations: (4,806)

Loss from discontinued operations: (491)

Loss for the financial year: (5,297)


For a more comprehensive and specific study of the Group's financial reports: 'Annual Review and Summary Financial Statement 2007[5]

Business Strategy

The Group's mobile subsidiaries operate under the brand name 'Vodafone'. In the United States the Group's associated undertaking operates as Verizon Wireless (second largest wireless telecommunications company in the United States). During the last two financial years, the Group has also entered into arrangements with network operators in countries where the Group does not hold an equity stake. Under the terms of these Partner Network Agreements, the Group and its partner networks co-operate in the development and marketing of global services under dual brand logos.[1]

The Group has ownership interests in 27 countries across 5 continents. In addition, it has Partner Markets in a further 40 countries.

For a complete and interactive footprint of the Group's world-wide presence and strategical business undertakings through affiliates, subsidiaries and partner markets, PLEASE VIEW: [6]

Corporate Accountability

According to its website and its own Code of Ethics [7] , Vodafone is committed to establishing clear labor, human rights, and environmental policies that personify the Group's ultimate goal of complying with international obligations, as well as the internal legislation of each of the countries in which it operates, particularly in the three fields previously cited.

"Vodafone's commitment to human rights is embodied in our Business Principles. We respect and comply with all human rights legislation, regulations and standards in the countries where we operate. We welcome the work of the UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights to help business build its understanding of human rights and explore the ways it can contribute.

We recognise the rights of our employees to freely choose to join trade unions or similar external representative organisations. Where representation by trade unions is conferred automatically by legislation, these rights will be upheld. Local operating companies will respect the wishes of the majority of their employees in deciding whether to recognise a trade union to negotiate terms and conditions of employment, where legislation permits. We seek to work in a constructive partnership with recognised trade unions in the best interests of employees, shareholders and customers.

Vodafone does not tolerate child labour, forced or compulsory labour. Our employment policies also cover a range of related issues including health and safety, and equal opportunities and diversity." [8]


Labor

"National Strike in Vodafone Italia" October, 2007

"Workers went onto the streets on 5 October to demonstrate against the largest outsourcing project ever seen in the Italian telecommunications sector. The trade unions in the telecoms sector (Fistel, Slc e Uilcom) reject this categorically. They called a national strike on 5 October against the outsourcing of Vodaphone Italia’s backoffice activities to Comdata, a company headquartered in Piedmont and specialising in customer service and call centre management."[9]


Vodafone has gained a reputation of violating workers rights and being hostile to worker organizations, a phenomenon which has lead to many worker strikes and manifestations. It has been reported that in some places, like South Africa, Vodafone’s subsidiary, Vodacom, forced employees to work over 18 hour shifts. For many years, Vodacom employees in South Africa attempted to negotiate working conditions through the Communication Worker’s Union (CWU), but the Company managed to block every single dialogical initiative.

For more information, please click on the following to view a documentary on the various negotiation initiatives undertaken by Vodacom employees to improve working conditions in South Africa. [10]


"South African Union in Major Breakthrough" August, 2007

"After many years of campaigning, the Communication Workers Union of South Africa have secured full trade union bargaining rights at Vodacom.

Vodacom, which is jointly owned by Vodafone Group UK and Telkom South Africa, is the biggest mobile company in the Republic, with more than 30 million customers, and a total workforce of 3,500. But whilst Vodacom made more than 5 billion Rand (£346m) last year, its employees were paid as little as 5,000 Rand (£346) a month. The company is also notorious for its long hours culture, and its parsimonious application of basic employment rights such as sick pay and maternity leave.

CWU members at Vodacom have faced years of management intimidation and discrimination towards anyone who joined the Union. Such intimidation has included the use of legal action, and locking out from work anyone who turned up wearing a CWU T-Shirt."[11]

Human Rights

"Diverse Coalition Launches New Effort to Respond to Government Censorship and Threats to Privacy" Oct 28, 2008

"In an effort to protect and advance the human rights of freedom of expression and privacy, a diverse coalition of leading information and communications companies, major human rights organizations, academics, investors and technology leaders launched the "Global Network Initiative"

From the Americas to Europe to the Middle East to Africa and Asia, companies in the information and communications industries face increasing government pressure to comply with domestic laws and policies that require censorship and disclosure of personal information in ways that conflict with internationally recognized human rights laws and standards."[12]


"Major U.S. Internet companies agree on a code of conduct for operating in repressive countries" August 4, 2008

"Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, France Telecom and Vodafone said today that they were close to finishing a voluntary code of conduct for doing business in China and other countries that censor the Internet -- a project they started in January 2007. These companies have been developing the code with human rights organizations and privacy groups. The Center for Democracy and Technology and Business for Social Responsibility have helped guide the process."[13]

Environment

Consumer Protection and Product Safety

Anti-Trust and Tax Practices

GERMANY: Germany's Top Banker Faces Retrial

Associated Press December 21st, 2005

"A federal court ordered a retrial for Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann and five others on Wednesday over large payments to executives during Vodafone PLC's 2000 takeover of rival mobile phone company Mannesmann AG.

Deutsche Bank's supervisory board expressed its unrestricted trust in Ackermann even as Germany's biggest bank faces the disruption of its top manager in court again. The company said it regrets the ruling.

In July 2004, the Duesseldorf court found the six defendants not guilty of charges that they illegally engineered payments to executives at Mannesmann after its takeover by Vodafone. The 180 billion euro deal was the largest corporate merger ever at the time." [14]


"COUGHLIN STOIA GELLER RUDMAN & ROBBINS LLP FILES CLASS ACTION SUIT AGAINST VODAFONE GROUP PUBLIC LIMITED COMPANY" November 15, 2007

"Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP (“Coughlin Stoia”) today announced that a class action has been commenced on behalf of an institutional investor in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of purchasers of Vodafone Group Public Limited Company (“Vodafone”) (NYSE:VOD) publicly traded securities, including common/ordinary stock and American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”), during the period between June 10, 2004 and February 24, 2006 (the “Class Period”).

The complaint alleges that defendants’ statements regarding Vodafone’s business and prospects issued during the Class Period were false and misleading in failing to disclose the following true facts: (a) throughout the Class Period, Vodafone’s financial statements and reports were materially falsified and overstated, including the overstatement of its assets and operating earnings due to the over-valuation of its German, Italian and Japanese operations; (b) Vodafone’s German operations had not been successfully integrated into Vodafone’s overall operations and were suffering from significant operational problems, inefficiencies and a lack of growth and profitability adequate to permit Vodafone to recover its investment in its German operations; (c) Vodafone’s Japanese operations were materially overvalued on Vodafone’s financial statements due to the failure to hold or gain sufficient market share so as to permit Vodafone to recover its investment in its Japanese operations; (d) Vodafone’s “One Vodafone” cost savings and operational efficiency initiative was not succeeding or achieving any significant cost savings; and (e) due to the foregoing adverse factors which were negatively impacting Vodafone’s operations and financial performance, defendants knew that the levels of financial performance being forecast for Vodafone for fiscal 2006 and 2007 would not and could not be achieved."[15]

Social Responsibility Initiatives

The Vodafone Group Foundation

"The Vodafone Group Foundation received recognition as registered charity number 1089625 from the Charity Commission for England and Wales on 4 December 2001.

The VGF is at the centre of a network of global and local social investment programmes. Globally, the Foundations makes social investments by funding projects which support disaster relief and preparedness or fund sport and music projects which benefit some of the most disadvantaged young people and their communities. Locally, social investment is delivered by a unique footprint of 24 Vodafone Foundations and social investment programmes that take on the pragmatic needs of each particular community in its own right.

According to Vodafone statements, the foundation makes social investments that help the people of the world to lead fuller lives by:

  • Sharing the benefits of developments in mobile communications technology as widely as possible;
  • Supporting the local communities in which Vodafone operates;
  • Helping to alleviate suffering in disaster areas;
  • Supporting sport and music projects to benefit young people and their communities;
  • Promoting the health and well-being of young people; and
  • Protecting the natural environment.

The Vodafone Group Foundation is guided by the Vodafone Group Social Investment Policy.[16]

Business Scope

Products and Services

Vodafone specializes in the provision of mobile telecommunications services, it supplies customers with mobile voice, paging and mobile data and Internet services. For more information, and a schematical overview of products offered, please see [17]


Financial Information (as of DATE)

Geographical analysis of shareholders

At 31 July 2008, approximately 49.67% of the Company's shares were held in the UK, 31.77% in North America, 11.56% in Europe (excluding the UK) and 2.90% in the Rest of the World.

Major shareholders

The Bank of New York, as custodian of the Company's ADR programme, held approximately 12.6% of the Company's ordinary shares of $0.11 3/7 each at 31 August 2008 as nominee. The total number of ADRs outstanding at 31 August 2008 was 662,305,618. At this date, 1,193 holders of record of ordinary shares had registered addresses in the United States and in total held approximately 0.006% of the ordinary shares of the Company. As at 31 July 2008, the following percentage interests in the ordinary share capital of the Company, disclosable under the Disclosure and Transparency Rules, (DTR 5), have been notified to the directors:

The rights attaching to the ordinary shares of the Company held by this shareholder are identical in all respects to the rights attaching to all the ordinary shares of the Company. The directors are not aware, as at 31 July 2008, of any other interest of 3% or more in the ordinary share capital of the Company. The Company is not directly or indirectly owned or controlled by any foreign government or any other legal entity. There are no arrangements known to the Company that could result in a change of control of the Company.[18]

Board

Accessed September 2012: [19]

Governance (2006

Sir John Bond - Chairman, since 25 July 2006.

Vittorio Colao - Chief Executive

Board Members

Chief executives of Vodafone's subsidiary operations worldwide:

CEO Albania: Haris Broumidis

CEO Australia: Russell Hewitt

CEO Czech Republic: Muriel Anton

CEO Egypt Richard Daly

CEO Germany Fritz Joussen

CEO Greece Nikolaos Sophocleous

CEO Hungary György Beck, dr

CEO India Asim Ghosh

CEO Ireland Charles Butterworth

CEO Italy Paolo Bertoluzzo

CEO Malta Inaki Berroeta

CEO Netherlands Guy Laurence

CEO New Zealand Russell Stanners

CEO Portugal Antonio Carrapatoso

CEO Qatar Grahame Maher

CEO Romania Liliana Solomon

CEO Spain Francisco (Paco) Raman

CEO Turkey Ian Gray (Interim)

CEO UK Nick Read

Contact Information

All general enquiries about Vodafone should be made through the central switchboard:

Tel: +44 (0) 1635 33251

Vodafone's registered office address:

Vodafone Group Plc Vodafone House The Connection Newbury Berkshire RG14 2FN England

Articles and Resources

Books on the Company

Related SourceWatch Articles

Sources

  1. "Vodafone Group basic facts"
  2. "Map of Vodafone Group basic facts"
  3. "Vodafone Group History"
  4. "Vodafone Fact Sheet"
  5. "Annual Review and Summary Financial Statement 2007"
  6. "Map of Vodafone Group's worldwide presence"
  7. "Vodafone's Code of Ethical Purchasing"
  8. "Vodafone commitment to Human Rights"
  9. "National Strike Vodafone Italia"
  10. "Documentary on illicit working conditions in Vodafone South Africa"
  11. "Major breakthrough in workers' rights in South Africa"
  12. "Corporate Coalition to Respond to Government Censorship and Threats to Privacy"
  13. "voluntary code of conduct for doing business in China and other countries that censor the Internet"
  14. "Vodafone in the middle of Deutsche Bank's CEO trial "
  15. "Vodafone in a class action suit for falsified financial reports"
  16. "Vodafone Group Social Investment Policy"
  17. "Overview of Vodafone products and services"
  18. "Vodafone Investor relation and Shareholder Structure"
  19. Vodafone Board, organizational web page, accessed September 23, 2012.

External Resources

Vodafone Group Plc Homepage: http://www.vodafone.com/hub_page.html

Wikipedia article on Vodafone: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vodafone

Communication Workers' Union: http://www.cwu.org/default.asp

CONNECT IN VODFONE, trade union for Vodafone workers: http://connectinvodafone.blogspot.com/2007/10/national-strike-in-vodafone-italia.html

Business & Human Rights Resource Center: http://www.business-humanrights.org/Home

Corporate Watch: http://www.corpwatch.org/

External Articles