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Vodafone's annual profit leaps with sale of stake in Verizon

LONDON--Vodafone's annual net profit rocketed to 59.25 billion pounds, boosted by the enormous sale of its stake in U.S. joint-venture Verizon Wireless, the British mobile phone giant said on Tuesday.

Earnings after taxation surged to the equivalent of US$100 billion or 73 billion euros in the year to March 31.

That compared with 413 million pounds in 2012/2013, when the group was hit by special charges.

Revenues dipped 1.9 percent to 43.6 billion pounds, Vodafone added in a results statement.

The London-listed group agreed to sell its 45-percent holding in joint venture Verizon Wireless in 2013 to partner Verizon for US$130 billion in a move to strengthen its strategy, boost infrastructure investment and slash debt.

The deal generated a huge capital gain, and the company has used part of the proceeds to return US$85 billion to shareholders, and made strategic acquisitions including the purchase of Spanish cable firm Ono and Kabel Deutschland (KDG), the largest cable operator in Germany.

“It has been a year of substantial strategic progress,” said chief executive Vittorio Colao in the statement.

“The sale of our Verizon Wireless stake has rewarded shareholders for their support, and enabled the acceleration of our strategy through the acquisition of KDG, the pending acquisition of Ono and our Project Spring investment program.”

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