Notes to the consolidated
financial statements

21. Capital and financial risk management

Capital management

The following table summarises the capital of the Group:

Cash and cash equivalents (4,423) (4,878)
Borrowings 39,795 41,373
Other financial instruments (2,056) (2,272)
Net debt 33,316 34,223
Equity 90,810 84,777
Capital 124,126 119,000

The Group’s policy is to borrow centrally using a mixture of long-term and short-term capital market issues and borrowing facilities to meet anticipated funding requirements. These borrowings, together with cash generated from operations, are loaned internally or contributed as equity to certain subsidiaries. The Board has approved three internal debt protection ratios being: net interest to operating cash flow (plus dividends from associates); retained cash flow (operating cash flow plus dividends from associates less interest, tax, dividends to minorities and equity dividends) to net debt; and operating cash flow (plus dividends from associates) to net debt. These internal ratios establish levels of debt that the Group should not exceed other than for relatively short periods of time and are shared with the Group’s debt rating agencies being Moody’s, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s. The Group complied with these ratios throughout the financial year.

Financial risk management

The Group’s treasury function provides a centralised service to the Group for funding, foreign exchange, interest rate management and counterparty risk management.

Treasury operations are conducted within a framework of policies and guidelines authorised and reviewed annually by the Board, most recently on 28 July 2009. A treasury risk committee comprising of the Group’s Chief Financial Officer, Group General Counsel and Company Secretary, Corporate Finance Director and Director of Financial Reporting meets at least annually to review treasury activities and its members receive management information relating to treasury activities on a quarterly basis. The Group accounting function, which does not report to the Group Corporate Finance Director, provides regular update reports of treasury activity to the Board. The Group’s internal auditors review the internal control environment regularly.

The Group uses a number of derivative instruments for currency and interest rate risk management purposes only that are transacted by specialist treasury personnel. In light of the ongoing financial conditions within the banking sector the Group has reviewed the types of financial risk it faces and continues to monitor these on an ongoing basis. The Group considers that credit risk in the banking sector remains high and has mitigated this risk by the adoption of collateral support agreements for the majority of its bank counterparties.

Credit risk

The Group considers its exposure to credit risk at 31 March to be as follows:

Cash at bank and in hand 745 811
Cash held in restricted deposits 274 182
Government bonds 388
Repurchase agreements 648
Money market fund investments 3,678 3,419
Derivative financial instruments 2,128 2,707
Other investments – debt and bonds 2,366 2,114
Trade receivables 4,067 3,807
13,646 13,688

The Group has invested in index linked government bonds for the first time this year on the basis that they generate a swap return in excess of £ LIBOR.

Money market investments are in accordance with established internal treasury policies which dictate that an investment’s long-term credit rating is no lower than single A. Additionally, the Group invests in AAA unsecured money market mutual funds where the investment is limited to 10% of each fund.

The Group invests in repurchase agreements which are fully collateralised investments. The collateral is sovereign and supranational debt of major EU countries denominated in euros and US dollars and can be readily converted to cash. In the event of any default, ownership of the collateral would revert to the Group. At 31 March 2010 the Group had no outstanding repurchase agreements (2009: £648 million). The value of the collateral held by the Group at 31 March 2009 is shown below:

Sovereign 544
Supranational 104

In respect of financial instruments used by the Group’s treasury function, the aggregate credit risk the Group may have with one counterparty is limited by firstly, reference to the long-term credit ratings assigned for that counterparty by Moody’s, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s and secondly, as a consequence of collateral support agreements introduced from the fourth quarter of 2008. Under collateral support agreements the Group’s exposure to a counterparty with whom a collateral support agreement is in place is reduced to the extent that the counterparty must post cash collateral when there is value due to the Group under outstanding derivative contracts that exceeds a contractually agreed threshold amount. When value is due to the counterparty the Group is required to post collateral on identical terms. Such cash collateral is adjusted daily as necessary.

In the event of any default, ownership of the cash collateral would revert to the respective holder at that point. Detailed below is the value of the cash collateral, which is reported within short-term borrowings, held by the Group at 31 March 2010:

Cash collateral 604 691

The majority of the Group’s trade receivables are due for maturity within 90 days and largely comprise amounts receivable from consumers and business customers. At 31 March 2010 £2,111 million (2009: £1,987 million) of trade receivables were not yet due for payment. Total trade receivables consisted of £2,506 million (2009: £2,798 million) relating to the Europe region, £997 million (2009: £561 million) relating to the Africa and Central Europe region and £564 million (2009: £448 million) relating to the Asia Pacific and Middle East region. Accounts are monitored by management and provisions for bad and doubtful debts raised where it is deemed appropriate.

The following table presents ageing of receivables that are past due and are presented net of provisions for doubtful receivables that have been established.

30 days or less 1,499 1,430
Between 31 – 60 days 119 131
Between 61 – 180 days 155 121
Greater than 180 days 183 138
1,956 1,820

Concentrations of credit risk with respect to trade receivables are limited given that the Group’s customer base is large and unrelated. Due to this management believes there is no further credit risk provision required in excess of the normal provision for bad and doubtful receivables. Amounts charged to administrative expenses during the year ended 31 March 2010 were £465 million (2009: £423 million, 2008: £293 million) (see note 17).

The Group has other investments in preferred equity and a subordinated loan received as part of the disposal of Vodafone Japan to SoftBank in the 2007 financial year. The carrying value of those investments at 31 March 2010 was £2,288 million (2009: £2,073 million). As discussed in notes 15 and 29 the Group has covenanted to provide security in favour of the Trustee of the Vodafone Group UK Pension Scheme in respect of the funding deficit in the scheme. The initial security takes the form of a Japanese law share pledge over 400,000 class 1 preferred shares of ¥200,000 in BB Mobile Corp, a subsidiary of SoftBank.

Liquidity risk

At 31 March 2010 the Group had US$9.1 billion committed undrawn bank facilities and US$15 billion and £5 billion commercial paper programmes, supported by the US$9.1 billion committed bank facilities, available to manage its liquidity. The Group uses commercial paper and bank facilities to manage short-term liquidity and manages long-term liquidity by raising funds on capital markets.

US$4.1 billion of the committed facility has a maturity date of 28 July 2011 and the remaining US$5 billion has a maturity of 22 June 2012. Both facilities have remained undrawn throughout the financial year and since year end and provide liquidity support.

The Group manages liquidity risk on long-term borrowings by maintaining a varied maturity profile with a cap on the level of debt maturing in any one calendar year, therefore minimising refinancing risk. Long-term borrowings mature between one and 27 years.

Liquidity is reviewed daily on at least a 12 month rolling basis and stress tested on the assumption that all commercial paper outstanding matures and is not reissued. The Group maintains substantial cash and cash equivalents which at 31 March 2010 amounted to £4,423 million (2009: £4,878 million).

Market risk
Interest rate management

Under the Group’s interest rate management policy, interest rates on monetary assets and liabilities denominated in euros, US dollars and sterling are maintained on a floating rate basis except for periods up to four years when at least 20% of net debt is fixed. Where assets and liabilities are denominated in other currencies interest rates may also be fixed. In addition, fixing is undertaken for longer periods when interest rates are statistically low.

At 31 March 2010 36% (2009: 43%) of the Group’s gross borrowings were fixed for a period of at least one year. For each one hundred basis point fall or rise in market interest rates for all currencies in which the Group had borrowings at 31 March 2010 there would be a reduction or increase in profit before tax by approximately £165 million (2009: increase or reduce by £175 million) including mark-to-market revaluations of interest rate and other derivatives and the potential interest on outstanding tax issues. There would be no material impact on equity.

Foreign exchange management

As Vodafone’s primary listing is on the London Stock Exchange its share price is quoted in sterling. Since the sterling share price represents the value of its future multi-currency cash flows, principally in euro, US dollars and sterling, the Group maintains the currency of debt and interest charges in proportion to its expected future principal multi-currency cash flows and has a policy to hedge external foreign exchange risks on transactions denominated in other currencies above certain de minimis levels. As the Group’s future cash flows are increasingly likely to be derived from emerging markets it is likely that more debt in emerging market currencies will be drawn.

As such, at 31 March 2010 120% of net debt was denominated in currencies other than sterling (49% euro, 46% US dollar and 25% other) while 20% of net debt had been purchased forward in sterling in anticipation of sterling denominated shareholder returns via dividends. This allows euro, US dollar and other debt to be serviced in proportion to expected future cash flows and therefore provides a partial hedge against income statement translation exposure, as interest costs will be denominated in foreign currencies. Yen debt is used as a hedge against the value of yen assets as the Group has minimal yen cash flows. A relative strengthening in the value of sterling against certain currencies in which the Group maintains cash and cash equivalents has resulted in a reduction in cash and cash equivalents of £257 million from currency translation differences in the year ended 31 March 2010 (2009: £371 million increase).

Under the Group’s foreign exchange management policy foreign exchange transaction exposure in Group companies is generally maintained at the lower of €5 million per currency per month or €15 million per currency over a six month period. The Group is exposed to profit and loss account volatility on the retranslation of certain investments received upon the disposal of Vodafone Japan to SoftBank which are yen denominated financial instruments but are owned by legal entities with either a sterling or euro functional currency. In addition, a US dollar denominated financial liability arising from the put rights granted over the Essar Group’s interests in Vodafone Essar in the 2008 financial year and discussed here, were granted by a legal entity with a euro functional currency. A 19%, 8% or 12% (2009: 23%, 10% or 15%) change in the ¥/£, ¥/€ or US$/€ exchange rates would have a £146 million, £122 million or £393 million (2009: £164 million, £136 million and £496 million) impact on profit or loss in relation to these financial instruments.

The Group recognises foreign exchange movements in equity for the translation of net investment hedging instruments and balances treated as investments in foreign operations. However there is no net impact on equity for exchange rate movements as there would be an offset in the currency translation of the foreign operation.

The following table details the Group’s sensitivity of the Group’s operating profit to a strengthening of the Group’s major currencies in which it transacts. The percentage movement applied to each currency is based on the average movements in the previous three annual reporting periods. Amounts are calculated by retranslating the operating profit of each entity whose functional currency is either euro or US dollar.

Euro 12% change – Operating profit 804
US dollar 15% change – Operating profit 617

At 31 March 2009 sensitivity of the Group’s operating profit was analysed for euro 12% change and US dollar 17% change, representing £347 million and £632 million respectively.

Equity risk

The Group has equity investments, primarily in China Mobile Limited and Bharti Infotel Private Limited, which are subject to equity risk. See note 15 to the consolidated financial statements for further details on the carrying value of these investments.

Fair value of financial instruments

The table below sets out the valuation basis of financial instruments held at fair value by the Group at 31 March 2010.

  Level 1(1)
£ m
Level 2(2)
£ m
£ m
Financial assets:      
Derivative financial instruments:      
Interest rate swaps 1,996 1,996
Foreign exchange contracts 132 132
Interest rate futures 20 20
2,148 2,148
Financial investments available-for-sale:      
Listed equity securities(3) 4,072 4,072
Unlisted equity securities(3) 623 623
  4,072 623 4,695
4,072 2,771 6,843
Financial liabilities:
Derivative financial instruments:      
Interest rate swaps 365 365
Foreign exchange contracts 95 95
460 460
Level 1 classification is used where fair value is determined by unadjusted quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities.
Level 2 classification is used where valuation inputs are observable directly or indirectly from quoted prices. Fair values for unlisted equity securities are derived from observable quoted market prices for similar items.
Details of listed and unlisted equity securities are included in note 15 "Other Investments".

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