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Vodafone to chop hundreds in Britain

VODAFONE Group Plc, the world's largest mobile-phone company, plans to cut hundreds of jobs in Britain to reduce costs and protect earnings amid the economic slowdown, said two people with direct knowledge of the confidential plan.

The company will announce the measures today, said the people who spoke on condition of anonymity, Bloomberg News reported.

Vodafone Chief Executive Vittorio Colao, the former McKinsey & Co partner who took over in July, is pushing managers to eke out more profit from existing operations.

Earlier this month he agreed to merge the Australian business with Hutchison Telecommunications Ltd's "3" operation there, where growth prospects are slim.

Colao also said that Vodafone was making progress on its plan to reduce costs by 1 billion pounds (US$1.45 billion) by March 2011 to protect earnings.

At the time he said that the measures will have "some impact on headcount," declining to disclose figures.

Vodafone shares rose 2 pence, or 1.6 percent, to 127.45 pence in early-morning London trading. The shares have lost 22 percent in the past year.

Vodafone on November 11 cut its full-year sales forecast for the second time in four months but maintained its profit forecast.



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