Vodafone Group HQ could leave UK due to Brexit vote, but Newbury office is safe

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The news follows Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao admitted vote to leave EU would make things “more difficult” for the operator

Vodafone could move its Group headquarters in Paddington, London outside of the UK following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (EU).

The operator released a statement today (June 29) outlining its intentions. Its Newbury office will not be affected, but Vodafone declined to reveal the number of staff in Paddington that could be affected. The Group HQ had originally moved from Newbury in 2009, with 200 staff being affected at the time.

Over 52 per cent of the UK last week (June 24) voted to leave the EU. Vodafone currently has 462 customers and 108,000 employees worldwide. Of this, the UK consists of 19.5 million customers and 13,000 employees.

Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao
Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao

The news follows the Vodafone’s backing, alongside the three other UK operators, to remain in the EU, claiming the exit could damage the UK and put jobs at risk. CEO Vittorio Colao claimed the company could still operate with Britain’s decision to leave, but life would be “more difficult.”

A Vodafone spokesperson said in the statement that the UK’s membership in the EU played an important part in its growth. They said: “Freedom of movement of people, capital and goods are integral to the operation of any pan-European business as are single legal frameworks spanning all Member States.

“Access to the emerging European digital single market should represent a significant opportunity for the UK, one of the world’s leading digital economies.

“It remains unclear at this point how many of those positive attributes will remain in place once the process of the UK’s exit from the European Union has been completed”

The operator had made no definite decision to move its HQ. It is currently evaluating “the situation and will take whatever decisions are appropriate in the interests of our customers, shareholders and employees.”

“It is therefore not yet possible to draw any firm conclusions regarding the long-term location for the headquarters of the Group,” the spokesperson added.

Vodafone claims that its European business excluding the UK accounted for 55 per cent of its EBITDA in its last financial year. UK operating profit accounted for 11 per cent of these earnings. Group revenues for the year ending March 31 2016 totalled £40.9 billion.

Mobile News is awaiting further comment from Vodafone.

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