If you are a company which has just posted a loss of $40.7 billion in one year, how do you stop your shares from going into a freefall? Bribe your shareholders. What Vodafone did isn’t quite that bad, but it isn’t that far off. At the same time that Vodafone announced that mammoth loss, they announced that they would return an additional $5.6 billion to shareholders. That’s on top of the $10.7 billion that the company had already pledged to return to shareholders after they sold Vodafone Japan to Softbank in April.
The losses for the fiscal year were due to a $43.7 billion write-down of assets which were acquired in 1999 and 2000 when the company was rapidly acquiring companies. Despite that, revenues were up 10 percent to $54.6 billion, and the return to investors was likely an attempt to reinforce the financial health of the company.
The financial news will not ease the pressure the company is facing to sell off their minority stake in Verizon Wireless to focus on European and Asian markets.