Vodafone has cut its dividend payment to shareholders as it gears up to launch 5G services across Europe and acquire a host of Eastern European assets from Liberty Global
Vodafone Group issued its full year financial report on Tuesday, with revenues falling by 6.2 per cent to €43.66 billion, leading to an operating loss for the year of €951 million.
In the build up to the publication of the figures, many analysts speculated that Vodafone would be forced to cut its dividend pay-out. Sure enough, on Tuesday morning Vodafone announced that it would be cutting its dividend from 15.08 cents per share to 9 cents per share.
“We had weaker revenue growth progression as we went through the year and spectrum costs came out more expensive than anticipated and so the board took the decision – a decision that was not taken lightly – to rebase the dividend to 9 Euro cents per share. That was in order to rebuild our headroom and also support the transformation that we are going through as a group at this time. We are really at the pivotal moment as we move in to a 5G world, as we are about to take on the Liberty Global assets and drive convergence,” Vodafone Group CEO told Total Telecom at a media briefing in London on Tuesday.
“What we are also doing is accelerating deleveraging into the lower range – we are at 2 and a half to three times and we want to reach the lower end of that range as quickly as possible.
“Importantly, in rebasing that dividend, we want to ensure that we have a secure, progressive dividend moving forward, in what is increasingly an uncertain world with regard to the trade wars we are seeing at the moment and [the impact of] Brexit. We felt that having a secure dividend and deleveraging quickly, was the prudent and appropriate thing to do,” he added.
Cue shares diving 16% for Santa Clara-based contact centre tech outfit
Troubled call centre and telecoms provider Avaya has confirmed it is up for sale following a rollercoaster couple of years and a poor set of results for its latest quarter, Q2 ’19.
Avaya’s chief executive Jim Chirico said:
“Following the receipt of expressions of interest, the company has engaged J.P. Morgan to assist in exploring strategic alternatives intended to maximize shareholder value. The board has not set a timetable for the process nor has it made any decisions related to any strategic alternatives at this time.”
He warned investors there is no certainty of any particular outcome to the talks and said the company would not be providing further updates.
Avaya reported revenues of $709m for its second quarter ended 31 March 2019, compared to $738m in the first quarter and $672m in the second quarter of 2018.
Operating income was $38m compared to $50m in the first quarter and an operating loss of $89m for the second quarter of fiscal 2018.
Avaya blamed media reports of a possible buyout or merger for creating channel and customer uncertainty leading to its poor performance.
Reports last month suggested Mitel was lining up to buy the firm; private equity investors were also said to be interested.
In February Avaya appointed a new CFO Kieran McGrath.
Local authorities have been urged to audit their assets as potential infrastructure and use ‘connectivity considerations’ in local planning to encourage the development of 5G networks.
The call has come from trade association for network operators Mobile UK in a report, Councils and Connectivity, that says authorities are not yet doing enough to support the roll out of a crucial element of national digital infrastructure.
The report comes with two main recommendations. One is for councils to place a greater emphasis on the importance of mobile connectivity to their local economies. They can pursue this through the audit of assets for siting network nodes, along with learning lessons from the roll out of broadband and exploring different models of collaboration with the private sector.
The other is to publish a clear statement of approach to building a mobile infrastructure. This would come with ensuring that any plans for new developments such as housing estates and road upgrades would include considerations of the potential for mobile connectivity.
It would also involve embedding mobile connectivity in plans for local economies and the appointment of digital champions – possibly in a council cabinet post – to provide a single point of contact and align competing interests.
Use of public cloud continues to grow. In fact, 84% of businesses had placed additional workloads into the public cloud in 2018, according to a recent report by Dimension Research. Almost a quarter of those (21%) reported that their increase in public cloud workloads was significant.
However, while respondents were almost unanimous (99%) in their belief that cloud visibility is vital to operational control, only 20% of respondents said they were able to access the data they need to monitor public clouds accurately.
“If there’s any part of your business – including your network – which you can’t see, then you can’t determine how it’s performing or if it is exposing your business to risks such as poor user experience or security compromise,” points out Scott Register, vice president, product management at Ixia, the commissioner of the report.
This sounds like a major issue and yet surprisingly, it’s nothing new. Tony Lock, distinguished analyst and director of engagement at Freeform Dynamics, has been reporting on visibility issues for over five years, and not just regarding public cloud.
It took four years for Andrew Hunter and Doug Monro to win the contract to replace the government’s job search platform. For the co-founders of Adzuna, the wait was worthwhile.
Two months later the search engine for UK jobs raised £8 million in a Series C from Smedvig Capital bringing to £12 million the total of its funding raised since its launch in 2011.
But it turns out that Adzuna, as an SME, is very much an exception to the rule for having won a share of the government’s estimated £7 billion technology spend.
Buying into the future, a report by Public into how the government allocates public spending shows that less than £1 in every £10 spent by the government on technology goes to startups or SMEs.
Even more shocking, says the report by Public which helps startups solve public problems and runs the annual GovTech Summit in Paris, is that the vast majority of opportunities listed by the government as “suitable for SMEs” actually goes to international technology suppliers.
The trade association for mobile operators, Mobile UK, has warned that many councils currently adopt an “inconsistent” approach to improving mobile connectivity and fixed line broadband is often given a higher priority. Instead the group wants local authorities to take the future roll-out of ultrafast 5G networks more seriously.
At present O2, Three UK, EE and Vodafoneare all expected to tentatively start the commercial roll-out of their future 5G mobile networks during the latter half of 2019, although their primary national deployments may have to wait until 2020, which is when Ofcom hope to release more of the necessary radio spectrum bands (assuming squabbling between operators doesn’t delay it).