UK telecoms giant Vodafone unveiled some disappointing results on Wednesday as the economic woes across Europe bit into its revenue target.
Group service revenue declined by -2.6% in the last quarter of 2012, with the steepest declines still being felt in southern Europe. Italy and Spain were particularly badly hit, reporting declines of -13.8% and -11.3% respectively.
Emerging markets territories performed better, with Turkey and India seeing growth of 18.4% and 9% respectively, but sales fell in South Africa and Australia.
Chief executive Vittorio Colao said plans were in place to drive cost efficiency, and to continue to invest in areas of growth potential.
"Vodafone Red, our new strategic pricing approach in Europe, has been launched in five markets with positive early take-up, and to drive growth in enterprise we have created a new enterprise business unit and accelerated our integration plans for Cable & Wireless Worldwide," he added.
Vodafone's smartphones were performing better; data revenues were up, as a third of its European customers are now using smartphones.
And in the US, Verizon Wireless, in which Vodafone has a 45% stake, saw its service revenues grow by 8.7%, thanks to the strong addition of new customers.
"Vodafone's woes in southern Europe have been well trailed after it slashed the value of its investments there last year. But losing momentum in emerging markets is an unpleasant shock, even if these territories are still contributing some top line growth," Nick Hood, business analyst at Company Watch, told the Huffington Post UK.
"This highlights the potential problems for multinationals like Vodafone, which has a staggering £50 billion - or almost three quarters of its entire net worth - tied up in intangible assets created by its legacy of high value acquisitions around the world. Management will need to keep their fingers crossed that economic conditions don't deteriorate any further in its major markets."
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