LONDON (CNNfn) - U.K-based cellular operator Vodafone posted a 44 percent surge in full-year profit Tuesday, and said it still had the firepower for more acquisitions after it closes the deal to buy AirTouch.
Pretax profit in the 12 months ended March 31 reached 935.2 million pounds ($1.5 billion), while analysts had forecast profit to be in the 872 million to 916 million pound range.
Vodafone said it expected to complete the $62 billion merger with AirTouch by the end of July. That will mean selling its stake in German cellular network operator E-plus in accordance with the wishes of regulators.
Vodafone said it had $2 billion in available debt facilities to carry out further acquisitions, Reuters reported.
Vodafone shares shrugged off the bumper earnings however. Shortly after the numbers were released the stock traded at 1,293 pence, up 1 percent, but off its highs for the session.
Vodafone sales jumped 36 percent to 20.61 billion pounds in the period, and earnings per share soared 51 percent to 20.61 pence.
-- from staff and wire reports