Vodafone in £25m buy-back as faces $1bn bill for India license

Steve Dinneen
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VODAFONE yesterday continued its consolidation drive as it bought back around £25m of its shares.

The world’s largest telecoms firm by revenue said it bought the shares through JP Morgan Cazenove at prices between 166.8p and 163.4p.

Since 16 September Vodafone has bought 458m shares at a cost, including fees, of £764.05m, which it says will be held in treasury. Vodafone is currently valued at £85.43bn.

The share buy-back scheme is part of a larger drive to consolidate its business. Earlier this month it announced a £3.1bn sale of its stake in Japanese carrier SoftBank.

This followed the £4.3bn sale of its interests in China Mobile last month. Vodafone says two-thirds of the proceeds from the China Mobile sale will be returned to investors through a share buy-back programme.

The buyback came as it emerged that Vodafone could be fined $1bn in order to keep its 2G spectrum license in India. It follows a report by India’s national auditor that found the telecoms ministry allotted spectrum to existing operators – Bharti Airtel, BSNL and Vodafone – beyond the contracted limit without imposing any upfront charges.