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Vodafone holds off deploying Huawei in core network due to security row

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The Vodafone logo is seen at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

 

LONDON: 25 January 2019: Vodafone, the world’s second largest mobile operator, said it was “pausing” the deployment of Huawei equipment in its core networks until Western governments give the Chinese firm full security clearance.

The United States and some allies, including Australia and New Zealand, have banned Huawei from 5G networks because of alleged ties to the Chinese government, while the firm has denied that its technology could be used by Beijing for spying.

Vodafone’s Chief Executive Nick Read said on Friday after reporting third-quarter results that the debate was playing out at a “too simplistic level”, adding that Huawei was an important player in an equipment market which it dominates along with Ericsson Sweden’s Ericsson and Nokia.

“We have decided to pause further Huawei in our core whilst we engage with the various agencies and governments and Huawei just to finalise the situation, of which I feel Huawei is really open and working hard,” Read said.

Poland is set to exclude Huawei from 5G after it arrested a Huawei executive earlier this month on spying allegations. Huawei fired the man, who has denied wrongdoing.

Europe’s mobile industry would face higher costs and delays to faster networks if authorities imposed a blanket ban on Huawei equipment, particularly the radio technology deployed on mobile towers, Vodafone’s Read said.

Operators in Europe such as BT and Orange, have already removed Huawei’s equipment or taken steps to limit its future use.

Read said Huawei’s equipment was used in Vodafone’s core – which he described as the intelligent part of the network – in Spain and some other smaller markets.

European governments and security agencies had not pressurised Vodafone into taking the step, but the “noise level” had increased, and the debate now needed more facts, Read said, adding that governments in Africa and the Middle East, where Vodafone also uses Huawei, had not raised concerns.

A spokesman for Huawei, which become the world’s biggest telecoms equipment maker earlier this decade despite being shut out of the U.S. market, said it had been a long-term strategic partner to Vodafone since 2007.

“Huawei is focused on supporting Vodafone’s 5G network rollouts, of which the core is a small proportion. We are grateful to Vodafone for its support of Huawei and we will endeavour to live up to the trust placed in us,” he said.

However, Read said that Vodafone had already agreed terms with a range of 5G suppliers, so moving away from Huawei in parts of the roll-out would not incur additional costs.

TOUGH END TO YEAR

Shares in Vodafone fell after it reported a deterioration in its key revenue measure in the third quarter, down 40 basis points quarter-on-quarter to 0.1 percent, reflecting price competition in Spain and Italy and a slowdown in South Africa.

Analysts had expected growth of 0.3 percent and the stock fell to its lowest level since July 2010 after the update, trading down 2.9 percent at 140 pence at 1245 GMT.

Vodafone said, however, that competition in the Spanish and Italian markets had moderated through the quarter and it improved its level of churn, or the number of customers leaving, by two percentage points year-on-year.

The company’s Chief Financial Officer Margherita Della Valle said the performance improvements would start to show in the top line after the current quarter.

“We expect as we enter into the next fiscal year to start seeing the benefits in terms of revenue growth,” she said.

Analysts at UBS said Vodafone performed well in net adds and churn across Europe, but they expected fourth quarter service revenue to drop to –0.5 percent, driven by weakness in Spain and tougher comparatives in Britain.

“This is disappointing relative to prior comments that service revenues would be similar to the +0.5 percent seen in Q2,” they said.

Vodafone’s reiterated its guidance for this year of around 3 percent growth in underlying adjusted core earnings, with free cash flow before spectrum costs of about 5.4 billion euros.

Reuters 

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Digital publisher Quartz taps African Development Bank Vice President Dr. Jennifer Blanke as a “Quartz Pro” Contributor

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Quartz Pros are featured in Quartz’s recently launched app aimed at civil discussion by smart people about the news

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, February 19, 2019/ — Quartz (www.QZ.com), the digital journalism platform focusing on the global economy, has selected African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) Vice President Dr. Jennifer Blanke as a “Quartz Pro” contributor. Quartz Pros are featured in Quartz’s recently launched app aimed at civil discussion by smart people about the news.

Blanke, an economist responsible for the Bank’s Agriculture, Human and Social Development portfolio, joins a group of recognized global leaders commenting at Quartz, including: entrepreneur Richard Branson; Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellman, CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Dr. Dambisa Moyo, global economist and author; World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva; Roxanne Taylor, former chief marketing and communications officer at Accenture; and David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee.

“Quartz Pros are achievers, thought leaders, and executives, who offer valuable insight into the biggest news of the day, by commenting on stories in the Quartz App. Given Dr. Blanke’s extensive experience in global economics as well as her expertise in development in Africa, Jennifer was a natural choice to expand the depth and breadth of our Quartz Pro voices,” said Ian Myers, General Manager of Platform at Quartz.

The Quartz Pros are a community of hand-picked, high-profile commenters whose contributions are highlighted in the app. Quartz coverage of the global economy is organized around core topics and questions of importance to business professionals.

“I’m thrilled to be part of the global conversation about news and events via the Quartz app,” said Vice President Blanke. “Quartz journalists are covering stories and reporting on solutions to Africa’s development challenges, often in areas where other digital platforms don’t have a presence. I look forward to further engagement with Quartz readers.”

Quartz platforms reach over 100 million people worldwide, with its websites attracting 22 million visits per month. Quartz users are C-suite executives, up-and-coming business leaders, and the next wave of mobile-native strategists and innovators. Seventy-two percent of Quartz’s audience access content via mobile phone.

Follow Dr. Jennifer Blanke on Quartz (http://bit.ly/2SLuJ84), by downloading the app: https://qz.com/app/

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

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Nestle Nigeria changes water logo

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From left: Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Nestle Nigeria Plc., Victoria Uwadoka, Marketing Manager, Nestle Nigeria Plc., Gloria Nwabuike; Factory Manager, Nestle Nigeria Plc., Ayeokere Ayodele; Chief Executive Officer, RMS Ventures Ltd., Renke Ajlara; Executive Officer, Assuab Ventures Ltd., Kefh Usman; and the Branch Manager North, Nestle Nigeria Plc., Isaac Ipinmoroti, during the re-launch of Nestle Pure Life Water in Abuja on Tuesday (30/1/19).NAN

Nestle Nigeria Plc has re-branded the logo of Nestle Pure Life, its water brand, as it strives towards ensuring quality of its water and a healthy environment for Nigerians.

The re-branding which took place on Wednesday at the company’s factory in Abaji, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), had Nestle Nigeria distributors and other Nigerians in attendance.

Victoria Uwadoka, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Nestle Nigeria Plc, said the unveiling was an expression of their commitment to their consumers.

“Today we are unveiling the new brand identity for Nestle Pure Life, a water brand of Nestle Nigeria which comes in two types – the Nestle Pure Life and the Nestle Pure Life-Protect which is fortified with zinc.

“The quality remains the same; we have not compromised on quality or changed the quality in any way.

“What we have changed is the brand identity and that is why it’s coming with our brand purpose which is championing pure water for healthier generations.

“You will also notice that the new label has a new transparent planet logo, and that demonstrates our commitment to the environment and quality of water.

“It also shows how transparent we are with our quality. Our product goes through about 13 quality control processes, so, we are committed to ensuring that it is pure water indeed,’’ Uwadoka said.

According to Uwadoka, the new logo represents the expression of the company’s commitment to its consumers that it is committed to the planet, maintaining quality, and staying transparent as well as opening doors of communications to the public.

These, she said, were part of Nestle global commitment to have healthier environment by 2030.

“We also focus on the environment and when you look at our bottles, you see that they are lighter than others we have in the market and we try as much as possible to reduce the quantity of plastic we use.

“We make sure that every waste product of the post-packaging are collected and transformed into other uses.

“What we are doing today is unveiling that new identity which is not just in the packaging but in our new commitment and new purpose for the environment.

Mrs Gloria Nwabuike, Marketing Manager Nestle Waters said the new logo represented purity of Nestle Nigeria Pure Life waters.

Nwabuike said the re-branding of the logo was not necessitated by any act of counterfeiting in the market, but to champion pure quality water for healthier generation.

“If you look at the new logo that we have, you see that it’s a blue planet which shows our commitment to the environment as regards plastic, and we want to be in the forefront of promoting that.

“So, our purpose today is to promote healthy hydration for the young ones and for families to guarantee a healthier future for our children and the environment.’’

She, however, said the company would not overlook the activities of imitators who may want to fake its products.

(NAN)

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Shoprite’s profit flag creates ‘perfect storm’

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Shoprite’s shares yesterday tumbled to their worst in nearly 20 years on the JSE, dragging food retail stocks and the All Share Index down. Photo: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

DURBAN – Shoprite’s shares yesterday tumbled to their worst in nearly 20 years on the JSE, dragging food retail stocks and the All Share Index down after Africa’s biggest grocer flagged that its profits during the six months to end December could fall by as much as 26 percent.

The news, which came after the JSE stopped trading late on Tuesday,  sent the market into a tailspin yesterday. Ron Klipin, a senior analyst at Cratos Capital, said the weak trading update took the market by surprise and the statement became a perfect storm encompassing factors such as food deflation affecting 10 719 items in basic foods.

Shoprite fell 15 percent, the worst since July 1999 as the group blamed low food inflation and a drop in currency earnings for the subdued outlook. It also said lower gross margins, stock shortages and weak trading conditions hammered its performance, driving its stock to R151.53 a share in morning trade. It closed 14.21 percent lower at R153.13.

The rout extended to Pick n Pay, which fell 3.07 percent to R68.50, Woolworths, which slid 3.35 percent to R49.27 and the Spar Group, which eased 2.82 percent to R195.11. The all share ended down 0.47percent, while the retailers general index shed 2.63 percent.

Jordan Weir, a trader at Citadel, said the negative sentiment was directly related to Tuesday’s notice to shareholders that the company faced headwinds during the period.

“According to the SENS announcement, the main reasons for the sharp decline in the company’s profits included the use of new financial reporting standards, which may have had a negative impact on the final presentation of its underlying numbers,” Weir said. The firm also fell on cost and depreciation increases, as well as weak turnover numbers and lost sales resulting from the implementation of a new IT system, which had negatively impacted the flow of supply, he said.

“All in all, the decline in the group’s profits demonstrates again that the South African consumer has remained under extreme financial pressure in a challenging economy, and that the consumer is thinking twice before spending unnecessary money is becoming the norm,” Weir said.

Klipin said food deflation had hurt trading margins as the group had a large share in the lower LSM markets, while currency fluctuations in the continent and hyper-inflation in Angola weighed on the results.  “These factors were beyond the control of the group, which is a large player in the African food market, and is not necessarily a recurring item.

“The other side of the coin was factors such as strikes, IT challenges and the new logistics operation in Gauteng,” Klipin said. However, he said the year ahead should result in many of the problems facing Shoprite, with its strong brand, being overcome. “The likelihood of food inflation later this year should also help turn their fortunes around,” Klipin said.

BUSINESS REPORT

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