Mobile restructure pending appeal

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Mobile phone reseller Mobile Innovations has restructured its senior financial team pending the results of an appeal by Vodafone to the NSW Supreme Court.

Mobile phone reseller Mobile Innovations has restructured its senior financial team pending the results of an appeal by Vodafone to the NSW Supreme Court.

Ilkka Tales, CEO at Frenchs Forest-based Mobile Innovations, said Ralph Stonell is to step down from the roles of CFO and company secretary on 19 September, pending the results of a case due to be heard in the NSW Supreme Court of Appeals on 20 October.

Financial controller Paul Jeronimo will take over the role until after the appeal, he said.

'We have taken out a layer of management. The financial controller will assume responsibility for the CFO and company secretary roles,' Tales said.

No further action in the restructure would be taken, which was necessary to control costs while the appeal was heard, he said.

'In terms of growing the customer business, we are unable to do this because Vodafone is not funding growth [at this stage] because the litigation is still ongoing,' Tales said.

Mobile Innovations previously successfully sued Vodafone in the NSW Supreme Court for $14 million plus costs and damages to March this year, for contract breaches relating to customer acquisition targets, according to Tales.

'We're back in court on 20 October and that will hopefully finalise the issue,' he said.

Further claims on Vodafone could yet be made, Tales suggested.

Vodafone was found guilty in April of breaching its 10-year contract with Mobile Innovations, allegedly by reducing its partner's customer acquisition targets to zero.

The Court of Appeal had granted Vodafone's application for a stay over the judgment that related to $13,286,100 of the claim until after the appeal. However, Vodafone has no stay over part of the judgment relating to a V.Mobile claim and a Website dispute, worth about $933,000, the company said.

Mobile Innovations has also lodged an appeal against that it did not have the rights to exclusive direct marketing related to its Vodafone deal.

Tales said there was one higher court to which Vodafone could appeal after the hearing in the NSW Supreme Court of Appeals, but he understood that there was no automatic right to do so as the case had to be deemed in the public interest.

'I can't imagine that our case will come to that. We're fairly confident that we'll win the appeal,' he said.

Stonell will be retained as a consultant to Mobile Innovations, the company said in a statement to the ASX on Tuesday.

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