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Press Release -- January 5th, 2010
Source: Level 3 Communications
Tags: Content Delivery, Exchange

Level 3 Releases Statement

BROOMFIELD, Colo., January 05, 2010

Level 3 Communications, Inc. (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings) today announced that the following statement can be attributed to the company in connection with the proposed private offering by its subsidiary, Level 3 Financing, Inc., of senior notes to "qualified institutional buyers," as defined in Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and non-U.S. persons outside the United States under Regulation S under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

"The company is confirming its previously issued expectation of Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $900 million to $950 million for the full year 2009. The company also expects to be approximately Free Cash Flow neutral for 2009 in the aggregate. In addition, for the fourth quarter 2009, the company continues to expect improvement in the sequential performance of Core Network Services revenue. Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA is expected to increase in the fourth quarter compared to the company’s results in the third quarter."

About Level 3 Communications
Level 3 Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: LVLT) is a leading international provider of fiber-based communications services. Enterprise, content, wholesale and government customers rely on Level 3 to deliver services with an industry-leading combination of scalability and value over an end-to-end fiber network. Level 3 offers a portfolio of metro and long-haul services, including transport, data, Internet, content delivery and voice. For more information, visit www.Level3.com.

© Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Level 3, Level 3 Communications and the Level 3 Communications Logo are either registered service marks or service marks of Level 3 Communications, LLC and/or one of its Affiliates in the United States and/or other countries. Level 3 services are provided by wholly owned subsidiaries of Level 3 Communications, Inc. Any other service names, product names, company names or logos included herein are the trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

Forward-Looking Statement
Some of the statements made in this press release are forward looking in nature. These statements are based on management's current expectations or beliefs. These forward looking statements are not a guarantee of performance and are subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside Level 3's control, which could cause actual events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the statements. The most important factors that could prevent Level 3 from achieving its stated goals include, but are not limited to, the current uncertainty in the global financial markets and the global economy; disruptions in the financial markets that could affect Level 3's ability to obtain additional financing; as well as the company's ability to: successfully integrate acquisitions; increase the volume of traffic on the network; defend intellectual property and proprietary rights; develop effective business support systems; manage system and network failures or disruptions; develop new services that meet customer demands and generate acceptable margins; attract and retain qualified management and other personnel; and meet all of the terms and conditions of debt obligations. Additional information concerning these and other important factors can be found within Level 3's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Statements in this press release should be evaluated in light of these important factors. Level 3 is under no obligation to, and expressly disclaims any such obligation to, update or alter its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

(1) Non-GAAP Metrics

Pursuant to Regulation G, the company is hereby providing a reconciliation of non-GAAP financial metrics to the most directly comparable GAAP measure.

The following describes and reconciles those financial measures as reported under accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (GAAP) with those financial measures as adjusted by the items detailed below and presented in the accompanying news release. These calculations are not prepared in accordance with GAAP and should not be viewed as alternatives to GAAP. In keeping with its historical financial reporting practices, the company believes that the supplemental presentation of these calculations provides meaningful non-GAAP financial measures to help investors understand and compare business trends among different reporting periods on a consistent basis, independently of regularly reported non-cash charges and infrequent or unusual events.

Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net income (loss) from the Consolidated Statements of Operations before income taxes, total other income (expense), non-cash impairment charges, depreciation and amortization and non-cash stock compensation expense.

Consolidated Free Cash Flow is defined as net cash provided by (used in) operating activities less capital expenditures as disclosed in the Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows. Management believes that Consolidated Free Cash Flow is a relevant metric to provide to investors, as it is an indicator of the company’s ability to generate cash to service its debt. Consolidated Free Cash Flow excludes cash used for acquisitions and principal repayments.

There are material limitations to using Consolidated Free Cash Flow to measure the company against some of its competitors as Level 3 does not currently pay a significant amount of income taxes due to net operating losses, and therefore, generates higher cash flow than a comparable business that does pay income taxes. Additionally, this financial measure is subject to variability quarter over quarter as a result of the timing of payments related to accounts receivable and accounts payable and capital expenditures. This financial measure should not be used as a substitute for net change in cash and cash equivalents on the Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows.

Management believes that Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin are relevant and useful metrics to provide to investors, as they are an important part of the company’s internal reporting and are key measures used by Management to evaluate profitability and operating performance of the company and to make resource allocation decisions.  Management believes such measures are especially important in a capital-intensive industry such as telecommunications.  Management also uses Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin to compare the company’s performance to that of its competitors and to eliminate certain non-cash and non-operating items in order to consistently measure from period to period its ability to fund capital expenditures, fund growth, service debt and determine bonuses.  Adjusted EBITDA excludes non-cash impairment charges and non-cash stock compensation expense because of the non-cash nature of these items.  Adjusted EBITDA also excludes interest income, interest expense and income taxes because these items are associated with the company’s capitalization and tax structures. Adjusted EBITDA also excludes depreciation and amortization expense because these non-cash expenses reflect the impact of capital investments which management believes should be evaluated through consolidated free cash flow.  Adjusted EBITDA excludes the gain on extinguishment of debt and other, net because these items are not related to the primary operations of the company.

There are limitations to using non-GAAP financial measures, including the difficulty associated with comparing companies that use similar performance measures whose calculations may differ from the company’s calculations.  Additionally, this financial measure does not include certain significant items such as interest income, interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization, non-cash impairment charges, non-cash stock compensation expense, the gain on extinguishment of debt and net other income (expense).  Adjusted EBITDA should not be considered a substitute for other measures of financial performance reported in accordance with GAAP.

Projected Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA

The company has provided projections that include non-GAAP metrics that the company deems relevant to management and investors including a reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial metrics to GAAP that includes forward-looking statements with respect to the information identified as a projection. Level 3 has made a number of assumptions in preparing our projections, including assumptions as to the components of financial metrics. These assumptions, including dollar amounts of the various components that comprise a financial metric, may or may not prove to be correct. We caution you that these forward-looking statements are only projections, which are subject to risks and uncertainties including technological uncertainty, financial variations, changes in the regulatory environment, industry growth and trend predictions. Please see the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, in particular the company’s 2008 Form 10-K, for a description of these risks and uncertainties.

In order to provide projections with respect to non-GAAP metrics, we are required to indicate a range for GAAP measures that are components of the reconciliation of the non-GAAP metric. The provision of these ranges is in no way meant to indicate that the company is explicitly or implicitly providing projections on those GAAP components of the reconciliation. In order to reconcile the non-GAAP financial metric to GAAP, the company has to use ranges for the GAAP components that arithmetically add up to the non-GAAP financial metric. While the company feels reasonably comfortable about the projections for its non-GAAP financial metrics, it fully expects that the ranges used for the GAAP components will vary from actual results. We will consider our projections of non-GAAP financial metrics to be accurate if the specific non-GAAP metric is met or exceeded, even if the GAAP components of the reconciliation are different from those provided in an earlier reconciliation.

Projected Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA
Year Ended December 31, 2009
($ in millions)
Consolidated
Range
Low
High
Net Income (Loss)
$             (640)
$             (570)
Total Income Tax and Other (Income) Expense
580
560
Depreciation and Amortization
915
905
Non-cash Stock Compensation
45
55
Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA
$               900
$               950


Contact Information
Media: Investors:
Vince Hancock Valerie Finberg
720-888-2146 720-888-2501

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