Vodafone’s revenue for the final three months of 2011 came in lower than expected. It blamed increasingly difficult conditions in southern European countries like Spain and Italy where austerity-hit consumers and businesses have reduced spending.
The world’s largest mobile phone operator did enjoy solid performances in emerging markets such as India and Turkey, as well as in northern Europe with the exception of Britain.
Vodafone reported quarterly group revenue of £11.62 billion (13.87 billion euros). That was 2.3 percent down on the same period a year earlier.
Europe — which produces around 70 percent of Vodafone’s revenues — saw a decline of 3.1 percent.
Italy’s service revenues fell 5.4 percent and in Spain they were down 9.3 percent.
The company did not give a specific trading figure for Greece, but it has also been hit hard by the pressures on consumer spending.
Service revenue in Britain was up 1.1 percent, slipping from the 2.5 percent growth in the second quarter, while Germany improved to be up 0.7 percent.
The British-based group is the latest in a procession of companies to warn that austerity-hit consumers and businesses in southern Europe were cutting back spending.
Spirits group Diageo highlighted weakness in parts of Europe on Thursday, while car brand Audi said it was relying on the United States and China for growth as Europe grapples with a sovereign debt crisis.