VHA shareholders approve turnaround plan

4 Dec 2012

Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) has been given the go-ahead by shareholders for a multi-billion dollar strategy aimed at turning the cellco’s fortunes around, The Australian reports. A strategic plan put forward by VHA CEO Bill Morrow, coupled with a request for funding, has been approved by both of the operator’s 50/50 owners, UK-based Vodafone Group and Hong Kong’s Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL). It has been suggested that the pair will provide for investment of as much as AUD2 billion (USD2.1 billion) to refinance VHA, though the report cites an unnamed spokeswoman for the cellco as saying that that figure was simply speculation. Any cash injection is expected to be used by VHA to pay down the AUD1.3 billion in external bank debt it has, which is due for refinancing by the middle of next year, while a portion is expected to be directed towards network upgrades, including the planned rollout of commercial 4G services.

Commenting on the development, the VHA spokeswoman noted: ‘Nothing speaks louder than the shareholders’ financial support to demonstrate their commitment to Vodafone Australia … There are many ways of financing the plan, but what’s important is the shareholders are behind us, they support the plan.’