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EDITIONS
Monday, 29 July, 2002, 09:54 GMT 10:54 UK
Vodafone sees 'positive' trading
Vodafone shop and mobile phone
Vodafone customer numbers are continuing to grow
Mobile phone operator Vodafone has unveiled an increase in subscriber numbers and reported that customers in the UK and Germany are spending more money.

The company said it had signed up another 2.7 million customers during the three months to June, bringing its total subscriber base to 103.9 million.

Vodafone added that average revenues per user climbed to 278 (439 euros) in the UK during the year to June, up from 276 in the year to April.

In Germany, revenues per user rose four euros to 302 euros, but were unchanged at 354 euros in Italy.

The company attributed the higher revenues to a rise in the proportion of contract customers, who tend to spend more than pre-paid handset owners.

Vodafone chief executive Sir Christopher Gent said the figures showed that the company had made a "positive start" to its financial year.

Record losses

City investors were less sure, marking Vodafone shares half a penny lower at 94 pence in early trade.

The sell-off reflected concerns that widespread mobile phone ownership in Europe will make it more difficult for the company to achieve further expansion of its subscriber base in the coming months.

Although Vodafone's mobile phone business is profitable, investors are also worried about the company's debts, swelled by an aggressive acquisition spree during the late 1990s.

A slump in the market value of those acquisitions forced Vodafone to write off about 6bn in May, pushing it to a full-year loss of 13.5bn, the biggest in British corporate history.

The company's shares, which peaked at about 400p in March 2000, have lost about half of their value this year alone.

The decline in Vodafone's share price has led some investors to criticise hefty bonus packages paid to Sir Christopher, with renewed sparring expected at the firm's annual general meeting on Wednesday.

See also:

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