Vodafone delivers a second consecutive quarter of growth which it attributes to strong demand in emerging markets. Hayley Platt reports on the group's plans and talks of a possible merger.
Sales growth is accelerating at the world's second-largest mobile operator. Vodafone beat forecasts to deliver a rise in quarterly service revenues of 0.8 percent, ahead of the 0.1 per cent growth in the previous three months. The news lifted shares by 2.5 percent. Vodafone's Chief Exec Vittorio Colao. SOUNDBITE: Vittoria Colao, Chief Executive, Vodafone, saying (English) "I am pleased to say that we are now growing in most of our markets. We continue to see strong in our emerging markets driven by continued customer growth and by data adoption." Business was less brisk in Germany where Vodafone is up against Deutsche Telekom. Sales there were down 1.2 percent, although less than the 3.5 percent fall in the fourth quarter of last year. Still Vodafone's British market returned to growth while Italy also showed signs of stabilising. London Capital Group's Brenda Kelly. SOUNDBITE: Brenda Kelly, London Capital Group , Head analyst, saying (English): "It was a decent result, it was better than analysts' expectations and it has sent Vodafone up to the top ten in the FTSE today. So not so bad obviously there's a lot of merger talk at the moment and there has been over the last six to 12 months so we could see some sort of bid for Vodafone." The company has been investing heavily in its network - more than two-thirds of its European market has 4G services. Analysts and investors will now be watching and waiting to see if a merger with Europe's largest cable operator Liberty Gold could be on the horizon.