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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 July 2006, 20:08 GMT 21:08 UK
Vodafone AGM backs Sarin in vote
Vodafone chief executive Arun Sarin
Mr Sarin has faced criticism about his management of Vodafone
Vodafone chief executive Arun Sarin has won a vote of support at the company's annual general meeting (AGM).

Shareholders voted 86% in favour of Mr Sarin, with 9.5% voting against, and 4.5% abstaining.

The result was in line with predictions that about 10% would vote against Mr Sarin in protest at recent weak earnings at the phone company.

Mr Sarin had earlier vowed to fight any calls for his resignation as the firm said earning growth remained "robust".

New customers

Vodafone added 4.5 million new customers over the three months to 30 June.

Man walking past a Vodafone shop

During the quarter, revenue growth in Europe was 1.3%, Vodafone said.

Yet such figures were not enough for those shareholders who had led the calls for Mr Sarin to stand down, such as Standard Life and Morley Fund Management.

Concerns about Vodafone's management have surfaced at a time when the company is facing stiff competition in the mobile phone market, falling call tariffs and a recent European Commission decision to cap roaming charges.

Critics have complained about a lack of leadership, as well as the firm's heavy spending on 3G technology and services.

They are also unhappy about the way Vodafone has communicated its strategy to the market and the poor performance of the phone firm's shares.

For his part, Mr Sarin had played down any threats to his leadership, saying there was a "silent" majority that backed his plans.

"I have sufficient levels of support from shareholders and the board to continue running the company," he said before the AGM.

He added that Vodafone's latest performance figures showed "a robust operating performance in testing markets".

"Whilst many markets in Europe remain highly competitive, we are on track with our revenue and cost initiatives in this region," Mr Sarin said.

Vodafone's shares closed 5 pence, or 0.4%, higher at 115.75p on Tuesday.

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