Vodafone says owners approve strategy

Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) looks set to remain on the local scene for a while yet after shareholders approved chief executive Bill Morrow's 2013 business plan for boosting the telco's network performance.

A spokeswoman for VHA said on Tuesday its two shareholders, Hutchison Telecommunications Australia and Vodafone plc, had backed Mr Morrow's 2013 strategic plan and agreed to provide the necessary funding for the struggling telco.

"Our plan has been approved and obviously along with that is financial support from our shareholders in order to deliver our plans," the spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

"Nothing speaks louder than the financial backing of our shareholders regarding their commitment to Vodafone Australia."

The spokeswoman would not confirm an Australian Financial Review newspaper report on Tuesday which said the two owners had given the green light to a $2 billion funding program designed to pay down debt and continue with network upgrades.

VHA's accounts for the first half of calendar 2012 showed the company had 6.8 million customers at June 30, 2012, compared with 7.6 million at December 31, 2010, as customers left in droves due to network problems at the telco.

The exodus of customers and financial losses had prompted some to suggest Vodafone would exit the market in Australia.

"Our focus is on our network, we have made some good progress but a lot more work needs to be done so our network experience for customers is consistent," the spokeswoman said.

ASX-listed Hutchison Telecommunications closed steady at three cents.

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