in third-quarter revenue growth that stemmed from weak performance in key European markets. Organic growth in service revenue dropped to 1.8% year-on-year during the three-month period to December 31 to €9.52 billion (€1 = $1.0883), down from an increase of 2.5% in the prior quarter. The company said the slip was linked to declines in customer levels in its biggest market Germany, where organic service revenue slumped by 1.8% compared to the previous year to €2.88B, as well as stiff price competition in Italy and Spain. But resilient demand and price hikes combined to help boost top-line service figures in the U.K. by 5.3% on an annualized basis to €1.8B. As a result, quarterly total organic group revenue growth edged down to 2.7% from 4.1% in the three months to September 31.
Interim Group Chief Executive Margherita Della Valle.
who replaced former head Nick Read at the beginning of January, said in a statement that the company is attempting to heed investor calls to become a “simpler business.” “Although we’re continuing to target our financial guidance for the year, the recent decline in revenue in Europe shows we can do better,” she said. “We need to do more for our customers by delivering quality connectivity in an easy way. We’ve already taken action, including simplifying our structure to give local markets full autonomy and accountability to make the best commercial decisions for their customers.” Shares in Vodafone fell in early European trading on Wednesday.