Funds earmarked for £1.5bn share buy-back nearly depleted
Shares in British mobile operator, Vodafone, continued their steady decline on the London Stock Exchange today [31st December 2012], despite the company’s aggressive buy back of stock which has seen it purchase 84 million at a cost of £1.33 billion this month alone.
With the market open for just half a day’s trading, Vodafone’s share price slipped to around 154 pence, about half a per cent down and less than the 155.6 pence it paid to buy back nine million of its shares just a trading day earlier. The shares closed also less than new North and Central European CEO, Philipp Humm, paid a week previously.
Fears of America’s fiscal cliff generally dragged on the market, but Vodafone’s massive buy-back of shares has angered some investors who would have preferred to see the money poured into better dividends.
There is already concern that Vodafone might, like its Dutch counterpart KPN, be forced into slashing future dividends to pay for new spectrum.
Vodafone’s £1.5 billion share buy-back ends in February 2013, with the bulk of the funds earmarked now thought to be have been spent during December.
Meanwhile it has been announced that Andy Halford, Vodafone’s chief financial officer, is to join the board of UK retailer Marks & Spencer as non-executive director, in a role that commences on New Year’s Day.
This year alone, Halford disposed of some three million Vodafone shares, netting him £6.5 million, closely followed by CEO Vittorio Colao who made £5.8 million from selling company stock in the summer.
Vodafone is among carriers expressing an interest in new Linux-based operating system Tizen, according to reports from Japan, which say that electronics giant Samsung will be the first to sell a smartphone using it in 2013.
Tizen (see here), developed by Samsung with Intel, has emerged from the death of Nokia’s MeeGo and is seen as more open than Google’s Android.
It is also being designed to run across multiple platforms, from smart phones and tablets to TVs, computers and geographical positioning devices.