Vodafone Group boss Vittorio Colao said the company has been scanning potential buyer interest in non-core assets and that it “would consider” selling its Australian operations.
Last month UBS said the telco should sell Vodafone Australia to focus on European and Asian operations, estimating the deal could be worth $2.73 billion.
Speaking at a conference in Barcelona, The Australian Financial Review reports Colao was asked if he’d consider selling its operations in Australia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
“We constantly check with possible parties interested in some of our less core assets,” Colao reportedly said.
“We would consider sales but we are not distressed sellers so therefore we must sell at full value.
“Otherwise we keep them and manage the cash.”
Vodafone Group has since issued a statement saying Colao was talking generally about the company’s operating principles.
However, if it did emerge this is more than general chit-chat, an Australian sale could come at a crucial time for Vodafone Hutchison, the 50-50 joint venture between Vodafone Group and Hutchison Whampoa.
The Australian operations have been struggling to mend and grow after significant network outages got it stuck with the nickname “Vodafail”. The disaster cost the company dearly, in two years it has lost more than 2 million users and it’s still trying to recover.
The provider also sits in third place behind Telstra and Sing-Tel Optus in Australia’s mobile market and while there are high saturation levels, being in third with a damaged rep, in a country with a small population and a structure which means both owners get equal say isn’t an enviable position.
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