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Vodafone abandons buying frenzy for profits

Pre-tax profits rise 30 per cent

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Vodafone Group today said it would abandon its acquisition frenzy to concentrate on profits and Net phones.

The British company hit reduced forecasts for the year ended 31 March 2001, with pre-tax profits up 28 per cent to £7 billion.

Continental Europe was the biggest earner, accounting for £3.5 billion, while the US and UK brought in £1.6 billion and £1 billion respectively. Asia Pacific and the Middle East and Africa recorded profits of £587 million and £287 million.

Sales grew 29 per cent to £21.4 billion.

The company claimed it had 83 million users (it recently confessed that 12 per cent of its customers were "inactive"), up from 53.3 last year. This included 12.3 million customers in the UK (a rise of 40 per cent).

"Following the recent introduction of changes to our commercial policies the focus in this financial year, as we transition to new data services, will be on continued margin improvement and cash flow growth, rather than customer growth and market share," said Vodafone CEO Chris Gent.

Vodafone, which has expanded into Spain, Ireland, Switzerland, Mexico, China and Japan in the past year, is expected to launch its next generation Net-enabled GPRS phones to consumers later this week, the FT reports. ®

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