Windstream reports first-quarter earnings results

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May 05, 2010

Windstream reports first-quarter earnings results

  • Generates $216 million in pro forma adjusted free cash flow and a dividend payout ratio of 51 percent
  • Produces $393 million in business services revenues, essentially the same year-over-year and representing 43 percent of total revenues
  • Adds approximately 36,000 new high-speed Internet customers and about 12,000 new digital  TV customers
  • Access lines decline 3.9 percent year-over-year resulting in the lowest percentage loss the company has reported


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Windstream Corp. (Nasdaq: WIN) today reported first-quarter earnings results highlighted by improving revenue and access line trends.

“I am very pleased with our results for the first quarter. Many of our key operating metrics continued to improve, and we delivered solid financial results with improving revenue trends, which is important to sustaining cash flows over the long term,” said Jeff Gardner president and chief executive officer. “Progress integrating our recent acquisitions remains on track and in-line with our expectations. We expect to close the acquisition of Iowa Telecom by the end of the second quarter pending FCC approval, which is the last remaining regulatory review needed.”

Windstream’s first-quarter results under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) include $14 million in after-tax merger and integration costs, which lowered earnings per share by roughly 3 cents:

First-quarter financial results:

Under GAAP:

  • Total revenues were $848 million, a 12 percent increase from a year ago.
  • Operating income was $247 million, a decrease of 2 percent year-over-year.
  • Net income was $74 million, a 16 percent decrease from a year ago, or 17 cents of diluted earnings per share.
  • Capital expenditures were $61 million, a 4 percent decrease year-over-year.

Under pro forma results:

  • Total revenues were $905 million, a 2.8 percent decrease from a year ago.
  • Business service revenues were $393 million, essentially flat year-over-year and representing approximately 43 percent of total revenues.
  • Operating income was $273 million, an increase of 1 percent year-over-year.
  • Operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) was $438 million, essentially the same year-over-year.
  • Adjusted OIBDA, which excludes non-cash pension expense, non-cash stock compensation expense and restructuring charges, was approximately $457 million, a 2 percent decline from a year ago, resulting in an adjusted OIBDA margin of approximately 50.5 percent.
  • Capital expenditures were $64 million, a 33 percent decrease from a year ago.
  • Adjusted free cash flow – defined as adjusted OIBDA minus cash interest, cash taxes and capital expenditures – was $216 million. The dividend payout ratio was 51 percent.

First-quarter operating results:

Windstream added approximately 36,000 new high-speed Internet customers during the first quarter, bringing its total broadband customer base to approximately 1.17 million customers, an increase of 10 percent year-over-year. Overall broadband penetration is now 40 percent of voice lines, and residential broadband penetration is approximately 57 percent of primary residential lines.

Windstream added more than 12,000 new digital TV customers in the quarter, bringing its total customer base to approximately 382,000, or 21 percent penetration of primary residential lines.

Total access lines declined by approximately 23,000. Total lines at the end of the quarter were 3.1 million, a decline of approximately 3.9 percent year-over-year resulting in the lowest percentage loss the company has reported.

In the business channel, advanced data and integrated solutions, which consists of voice and data connections, increased almost 2 percent, largely the result of the continued growth in the former NuVox markets.

Conference call

Windstream will hold a conference call at 4:30 p.m. CDT today to review the company’s first-quarter earnings results.

To access the call:

Interested parties can access the call by dialing 1-866-700-0133, conference ID 39320578, ten minutes prior to the start time.

To access the call replay:

A replay of the call will be available beginning at 7:30 p.m. CDT today and ending at midnight CDT on May 13. The replay can be accessed by dialing 1-888-286-8010, conference ID 77396439.

Webcast information:

The conference call also will be streamed live over the company's website at www.windstream.com/investors. Financial, statistical and other information related to the call will be posted on the site. A replay of the webcast will be available on the website beginning at 7:30 p.m. CDT today.

Additional Information and Where to Find It

In connection with the proposed merger of Windstream and Iowa Telecom, Windstream has filed a Registration Statement on Form S-4 with the SEC that contains a proxy statement/prospectus. Iowa Telecom investors and security holders are advised to read the proxy statement/prospectus and any other relevant documents filed with the SEC because these documents contain important information about Iowa Telecom, Windstream and the proposed merger. Investors and security holders may obtain a free copy of the proxy statement/prospectus available at the SEC's Web site at www.sec.gov. Free copies of the proxy statement/prospectus may also be obtained from Windstream upon written request to Windstream Investor Relations, 4001 Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock, AR 72212 or by calling (866) 320-7922, or from Iowa Telecom upon written request to Iowa Telecommunications Services, Inc., 403 W. Fourth Street North, Newton, IA 50208 or by calling 1-641-787-2089.

About Windstream

Windstream Corp. (Nasdaq: WIN), headquartered in Little Rock, Ark., is an S&P 500 company with communications operations in 21 states and about $3.7 billion in annual revenues. Windstream provides phone, high-speed Internet and high-definition digital TV services. The company also offers a wide range of IP-based voice and data services and advanced phone systems and equipment to businesses and government agencies. For more information about Windstream, visit www.windstream.com.

Pro forma results adjusts results of operations under GAAP to include the acquisitions of D&E Communications, Inc., Lexcom, Inc. and NuVox, Inc., and to exclude the results of the disposed out-of-territory product distribution operations and all merger and integration costs related to strategic transactions. A reconciliation of pro forma results to the comparable GAAP measures is available on the company’s Web site at www.windstream.com/investors.

Windstream claims the protection of the safe-harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Forward-looking statements are subject to uncertainties that could cause actual future events and results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on estimates, projections, beliefs, and assumptions that Windstream believes are reasonable but are not guarantees of future events and results. Actual future events and results of Windstream may differ materially from those expressed in these forward-looking statements as a result of a number of important factors.

Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in our forward-looking statements include, among others:

  • further adverse changes in economic conditions in the markets served by Windstream;
  • the extent, timing and overall effects of competition in the communications business;
  • continued access line loss;
  • the impact of new, emerging or competing technologies;
  • the adoption of intercarrier compensation and/or universal service reform proposals by the Federal Communications Commission or Congress that results in a significant loss of revenue to Windstream;
  • the risks associated with the integration of acquired businesses or the ability to realize anticipated synergies, cost savings and growth opportunities;
  • unexpected adverse results related to our data center migration;
  • adverse effects on the availability, quality of service and price of facilities and services provided by other incumbent local exchange carriers on which our competitive local exchange carrier services depend;
  • the availability and cost of financing in the corporate debt markets;
  • the potential for adverse changes in the ratings given to Windstream’s debt securities by nationally accredited ratings organizations;
  • the effects of federal and state legislation, and rules and regulations governing the communications industry;
  • material changes in the communications industry that could adversely affect vendor relationships with equipment and network suppliers and customer relationships with wholesale customers;
  • unexpected results of litigation;
  • unexpected rulings by state public service commissions in proceedings regarding universal service funds, intercarrier compensation or other matters that could reduce revenues or increase expenses;
  • the effects of work stoppages;
  • the impact of equipment failure, natural disasters or terrorist acts;
  • earnings on pension plan investments significantly below our expected long term rate of return for plan assets;
  • changes in federal, state and local tax laws and rates; and
  • those additional factors under the caption  “Risk Factors” in Windstream’s Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2009, and in subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

In addition to these factors, actual future performance, outcomes and results may differ materially because of more general factors including, among others, general industry and market conditions and growth rates, economic conditions, and governmental and public policy changes.  

Windstream undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. The foregoing review of factors that could cause Windstream’s actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in the forward-looking statements should be considered in connection with information regarding risks and uncertainties that may affect Windstream’s future results included in filings by Windstream with the Securities and Exchange Commission at www.sec.gov.

-end-
 

Media Relations Contact:
David Avery, 501-748-5876
david.avery@windstream.com

Investor Relations Contacts:
Mary Michaels, 501-748-7578
mary.michaels@windstream.com
 

 


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