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Vodafone revenues hit by Europe weakness

Vodafone, one of the world's biggest telecoms companies, suffered a 4.8 percent hit to organic service revenue in the last three months of 2013 after a poorer European performance.

The company, which recently sold its stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications, has become the focus of concerns about the slowdown in emerging markets recently, because of its exposure to countries in Africa and Asia.

Hugo Philpott | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Yet in the last three months of 2013, it looked as though Europe was the problem. Vodafone's India business had a 13.2 percent growth in organic service revenue, and Turkey had 3.9 percent growth. This may change as Turkey suffers from the plunging value of the lira, for example.

In Europe, pricing was hit by competition between operators, as consumers and businesses sought out cheaper phone tariffs.

As the internet mobile market evolved, the amount of Vodafone mobile internet users in India increased 38 percent to 45.7 million in the last three months of 2013.

Vittorio Colao, chief executive, said in a statement: "Our emerging market businesses are growing strongly, supported by consistent execution and accelerating demand for data. In Europe, conditions are still difficult, and we continue to mitigate these challenges through on-going improvements to our operating model and cost efficiency."

At the end of January, Vodafone said it was looking to cut around 600 jobs in Germany, roughly 5.7 percent of its workforce there, to combat competition and lower revenues.

There were also reports from Bloomberg that Vodafone was in talks to take over Spain's main cable operator Grupo Corporativo ONO. The same week, AT&T ruled out its own bid for Vodafone.

Vodafone sold its 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless to US telecoms group Verizon Communications in one of the biggest deals in corporate history last September. This means that it has cash to burn - but it is also viewed by some analysts as a more likely takeover target.

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