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What price loyalty at Vodafone?

Vodafone has lost the plot, says Alex Brummer in the Daily Mail. How else to explain the mobile phone company’s extraordinary decision to float its mast business, Vantage Towers, in Frankfurt rather than London? As the s15bn listing is likely to be the largest in Europe next year, the decision represents “a major snub to the City”. The rationale, apparently, is that a large part of the enterprise will be based on the Continent. But that ignores the fact that 21,000 of Vodafone’s mast and antenna sites are in the UK and that the company was, “from its earliest days, a British creation”. Indeed, it was the City’s “global debt market capacity” that enabled Vodafone to “conquer the world”. The board should have looked at the precedents. After all, “Unilever received a bloody nose” when it sought to switch its domicile from London to Rotterdam. The plumbing group Ferguson and the medical devices champion Smith & Nephew have also both “reversed course on switching domicile to the US”. If Vodafone’s CEO Nick Read wants to avoid a “bitter struggle” with its “reputation and share price”, he should think again.

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