Page last updated at 06:59 GMT, Tuesday, 19 May 2009 07:59 UK

Vodafone speeds up cost cut plan

Vodafone call centre, Birmingham
Vodafone has cut its revenue forecast twice in recent months

Mobile phone operator Vodafone is to speed up its £1bn cost-cutting plan - as economic pressures weigh heavily on its European operations.

The Newbury-based firm wants to save about £650m by March 2010 - up from the £500m it had earlier suggested.

Vodafone was forced to write-off £5.9bn in the 12 months to the end of March - mostly related to its Spanish business.

That was largely responsible for pre-tax profits falling 53.5% to £4.2bn ($6.5bn) from £9bn a year earlier.

Sales rose by 15.6% to £41bn, helped by the weakening pound against the euro and growth in emerging markets, it said.

Like its rivals, Vodafone is concerned about a fall in consumer spending hitting sales.

Vodafone, which has cut its sales forecasts twice in the last year, did not give an exact sales forecast for the 12 months to March 2010.

The firm has been targeting emerging markets to compensate for slower growth in Europe - making acquisitions in countries such as Turkey, India and Ghana.

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