At 69p, is the Vodafone share price the biggest bargain on the FTSE 100?

On paper, the Vodafone share price looks like an attractive investment opportunity. But is that really the case? This Fool explores.

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Image source: Vodafone Group plc

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I’ve been searching the FTSE 100 for my next buy and the Vodafone (LSE: VOD) share price has caught my attention.

Right now, the stock looks incredibly cheap at just 69p. At that price, could it be the biggest bargain on the Footsie?

A poor performance

I first want to look at what has got the stock to its current price. Let’s start by going back five years.

Back then, a share in the telecommunications stalwart would have set investors back 139p. That means Vodafone stock has lost 50.9% of its value during that time.

In the last 12 months, its share price has followed a similar trajectory. A year ago, a share cost just shy of 93p. That’s 26.7% more than it costs today.

That makes grim reading for Vodafone shareholders. It has posted a relatively better performance in 2024, essentially flatlining. However, it’s not great when you consider that the Footsie has climbed 8.6% and many UK-listed companies have excelled.

Where next?

But as an investor, I’m not one to dwell on the past. It can help me make more informed decisions. But I’m more conscious about how a stock can perform in the years to come. Therefore, Vodafone’s slashed share price may actually be an opportunity for me to snap up a bargain.

But do I think this is the case? In all honesty, no.

I can see why some investors view Vodafone as an attractive investment for under 70p. The business has started its turnaround under CEO Margherita Della Valle and she’s emphasised streamlining the firm’s operations. As part of this, Vodafone offloaded its Spanish business for €5bn.

It has also agreed terms to dispose of its Italian ops for €8bn. With the money it generates, the business plans to reduce its debt.

I’m steering clear

But even so, I see too many issues with Vodafone.

While it has plans to reduce its debt, the pile is still massive. As of September 2023, it stood at €36.2bn. With the UK base rate at 5.25%, this will only make it more difficult to reduce.

What’s more, while it currently offers a whopping 11.2% dividend yield, all is not as it seems on the surface. That’s because its dividend will be cut in half in 2025.

In all fairness, I think that’s a smart move. For years market spectators have been questioning how sustainable Vodafone’s yield is. Now with plans to reduce it, this will free up €1bn a year for the business going forward.

That means its new yield works out at around 5.6%. That’s still above the average Footsie payout (3.9%). But for me, Vodafone loses its appeal without its index-leading yield.

Better options out there

As such, I’ll be avoiding adding any of its shares to my portfolio. On paper, they may seem like a bargain. But I think there are better options for investors out there to consider.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Charlie Keough has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Vodafone Group Public. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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