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Press Release -- March 31st, 2011
Source: FairPoint Communications
Tags: Earnings, Equipment, Ethernet, Exchange, Expansion, MPLS, Video

FAIRPOINT COMMUNICATIONS REPORTS 2010 FOURTH QUARTER AND FULL YEAR RESULTS

CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Consolidated EBITDAR(1) increases over 22 percent to $84.0 million versus fourth quarter 2009
  • Operational improvements drive a $12.7 million one-time revenue benefit in the quarter
  • Loss from Operations for the quarter improves to $18.2 million from $31.2 million a year earlier
  • High-speed Internet subscribers increase annually for the first time since mid-2009
  • Company reiterates full year 2011 guidance

FairPoint Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: FRP) (FairPoint or the Company), a leading provider of communications services, today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2010.  The announcement marks the first earnings release by FairPoint since it emerged from Chapter 11 on January 24, 2011.

"We are pleased to have the restructuring process behind us and are devoting our full attention to driving revenue growth and operational improvements," said Paul H. Sunu, CEO of FairPoint.  "While we expect 2011 will be a transition year, we are excited about the organic growth opportunities we see in our northern New England markets," he added.

Broadband service is now available to more than 80 percent of the Company's northern New England customers and more than 90 percent of Telecom Group (legacy FairPoint) customers.  Company-wide, year-over-year voice access line loss slowed for the third consecutive quarter to 10.3 percent and was the lowest rate of annual loss since April 2008.  In addition, the Company made many operational improvements, which facilitated the reversal of certain service quality penalties in northern New England in the fourth quarter, resulting in a $12.7 million one-time revenue benefit.  This one-time benefit contributed to fourth quarter revenue of $268.0 million and full year revenue of $1,071.0 million.  Operational efficiencies and cost reduction initiatives contributed to fourth quarter Consolidated EBITDAR(1) (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and restructuring items as defined in the Company's new credit facility) of $84.0 million and full year Consolidated EBITDAR(1) of $276.3 million.

Operating and Regulatory Highlights

Improvements in service quality indicators such as faster call center answer times and shorter installation and repair intervals allowed FairPoint to reverse $12.7 million of accrued penalties related to the 2008 and 2009 service quality measurement periods in New Hampshire and Vermont.  The Company was able to reverse these accrued penalties in the fourth quarter of 2010 pursuant to state regulatory settlements in New Hampshire and Vermont and because of improved operating performance throughout 2010.

High-speed Internet subscribers increased 0.4 percent year-over-year, compared to a 2.3 percent decline in 2009.  The annual rate of loss in voice access lines slowed to 10.3 percent versus 11.8 percent a year earlier.

FairPoint's continued commitment to broadband expansion in northern New England, and in particular its satisfaction of all 2010 broadband availability milestones, has contributed to a better state regulatory environment.  FairPoint now offers broadband service to more than 83 percent of customers in Maine, more than 85 percent of customers in New Hampshire and more than 80 percent of customers in Vermont. The Company continues to invest in its network to expand broadband availability.  Broadband is also available to more than 90 percent of Telecom Group customers throughout the other 15 states in which FairPoint operates.

The telecommunications industry is becoming more data-centric, and FairPoint expects to capture the growth in broadband demand by leveraging its ubiquitous network in the northern New England service area.  The next-generation IP/MPLS network, branded as VantagePoint(sm), is ideally suited to meet the demand for broadband and Ethernet-based services from businesses and wireless carriers.  For example, FairPoint currently serves over 1,600 of the estimated 1,800 wireless communication towers in its northern New England service footprint with a combination of copper and fiber.  The Company views Ethernet-based wireless backhaul as a significant organic revenue growth opportunity.

Financial Highlights

Revenues were $268.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to $270.2 million in the same period of 2009.  Service quality penalties, which reduce revenue, decreased $19.5 million versus a year earlier, including the one-time benefit from the$12.7 million reversal described above.  Offsetting the favorable impact from the reduction in service quality penalties, total voice access lines declined by 10.3 percent versus a year earlier leading to decreases in local calling services revenue, long distance services revenue and access revenue.  The revenue decreases tied to voice access line declines were partially offset by an increase in data and Internet services revenue.

Operating expenses, excluding depreciation and amortization, were $211.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to$230.8 million in the same period of 2009.  This favorable variance of $19.2 million, or 8.3 percent, was primarily the result of a reduction in bad debt expense.  In addition, certain one-time non-cash charges related to project abandonment, inventory obsolescence and other non-recurring items in the fourth quarter of 2010 were offset by a reduction in pension expense versus a year earlier.  The fourth quarter of 2009 was unfavorably impacted by a large non-cash pension liability true-up.

Consolidated EBITDAR(1) was $84.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to $68.8 million in the same period of 2009.  After adjusting fourth quarter 2010 Consolidated EBITDAR(1) for the $12.7 million one-time revenue benefit related to the service quality penalties reversal and other one-time charges, the Company estimates that Consolidated EBITDAR(1)  would have been between $65.0 and $70.0 million.

Capital expenditures were $40.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to $48.6 million in the same period for 2009.  Full year 2010 capital expenditures were $197.8 million, compared to $178.8 million in 2009.  Major capital initiatives in 2010 included the expansion of the VantagePoint(sm) network, regulatory broadband commitments in northern New England, continued information technology improvements and enhancements, success-based capital projects for targeted revenue opportunities, and network and facilities maintenance.

2011 Guidance

Based on its current plans and outlook, the Company reiterates its full year 2011 guidance as follows:

Revenue: $1,060 million to $1,090 million
Consolidated EBITDAR(1): $260 million to $280 million
Capital expenditures: $180 million to $200 million

The Company originally furnished this guidance pursuant to an investor presentation contained in a Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on February 11, 2011.  The Company furnished such guidance in order to synthesize a variety of projected financial information which was provided in connection with the Company's Chapter 11 proceedings and to establish a baseline to assist investors in evaluating the Company.  While the Company does not intend to provide guidance in the ordinary course, management believes that level-setting is appropriate at this time given the length of the Chapter 11 process and its effects on the Company's operations, as well as the recent restatement of the Company's financial results for the first, second and third quarters of 2010.  However, management will continue to assess the Company's financial and operational trends, and accordingly actual results may vary from this guidance and the variations may be material.

The 2011 financial targets reiterated herein represent full year figures and the 2011 quarterly results may be subject to significant fluctuation.  For example, the majority of the Company's employees are entitled to their annual vacation allowance onJanuary 1st of each year.  Accordingly, the Company recognized approximately $13.5 million of vacation expense on January 1, 2011, which will be amortized over the balance of the year as vacation is used.

Fresh Start Accounting

As a result of its emergence from Chapter 11 on January 24, 2011, FairPoint adopted "Fresh Start Accounting" for generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) purposes whereby the Company's assets and liabilities are marked to their fair market values as of the emergence date.  Since FairPoint emerged from bankruptcy after December 31, 2010, results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2010 do not incorporate the effect of Fresh Start Accounting.  FairPoint's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010 includes a pro forma balance sheet as of December 31, 2010.  Management believes this pro forma balance sheet is a reasonable representation of the fair market value of its assets, liabilities and equity as of December 31, 2010 as if the adoption of Fresh Start Accounting had occurred on December 31, 2010; however, no assurances can be made regarding the impact of adopting Fresh Start Accounting until it is completed for the first quarter of 2011.  The impact of Fresh Start Accounting will be included in the Company's financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2011.

Conference Call Information

As previously announced, FairPoint will host a conference call and simultaneous webcast to discuss its 2010 fourth quarter and full year results at 2:00 p.m. (EDT) on Friday, April 1, 2011.

Participants should call (877) 556-5921 (US/Canada) or (617) 597-5474 (international) at 1:50 p.m. (EDT) and enter the passcode 36853706 when prompted.   The title of the call is the Q4 2010 FairPoint Communications, Inc. Earnings Conference Call.

A telephonic replay will be available for anyone unable to participate in the live call. To access the replay, call (888) 286-8010 (US/Canada) or (617) 801-6888 (international) and enter the passcode 19847662 when prompted.  The recording will be available from Friday, April 1, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. (EDT) through Friday, April 15, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).

A live broadcast of the earnings conference call will be available via the Internet at www.fairpoint.com/investors. An online replay will be available shortly thereafter.

The information in this press release should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements, footnotes and other information contained in FairPoint's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010 filed with the SEC on March 31, 2011.

Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Consolidated EBITDAR, or EBITDAR, is a non-GAAP financial measure. Management believes that EBITDAR may be useful in assessing the Company's operating performance and its ability to meet its debt service requirements, and the maintenance covenants contained in the Company's credit facility are based on EBITDAR.  EBITDAR, as used herein, however, is not necessarily comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies. Furthermore, EBITDAR has limitations as an analytical tool and should not be considered in isolation from, or as an alternative to, net income or loss, operating income, cash flow or other combined income or cash flow data prepared in accordance with GAAP. Because of these limitations, EBITDAR and related ratios should not be considered as measures of discretionary cash available to invest in business growth or reduce indebtedness. FairPoint compensates for these limitations by relying primarily on its GAAP results using EBITDAR only supplementally.  A reconciliation of Consolidated EBITDAR to Net Loss is contained in the attachments to this press release.

About FairPoint

FairPoint Communications, Inc., (NASDAQ: FRP) (www.FairPoint.com) is a leading communications provider of high-speed Internet access, local and long-distance phone, television and other broadband services to customers in communities across 18 states.    Through its fast, reliable data network, FairPoint delivers data and voice networking communications solutions to residential, business and wholesale customers. VantagePoint(sm), FairPoint’s resilient IP-based network in northern New England, provides business customers a fast, flexible, affordable Ethernet connection.  The VantagePoint(sm) network supports applications like video conferencing and e-learning. Additional information about FairPoint products and services is available at www.FairPoint.com.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements

Some statements herein are known as "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.  These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about the Company's plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other statements contained herein that are not historical facts. When used herein, the words "expects," "anticipates," "intends," "plans," "believes," "seeks," "estimates" and similar expressions are generally intended to identify forward looking statements. Because these forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual results, events or developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements, including the Company's plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other factors. You should not place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements, which are based on the information currently available to us and speak only as of the date hereof. FairPoint does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.  However, your attention is directed to any further disclosures made on related subjects in the Company's subsequent reports filed with the SEC.

Certain information contained herein may constitute guidance as to projected financial results and FairPoint's future performance that represents management's estimates as of the date hereof. This guidance, which consists of forward-looking statements, is prepared by the Company's management and is qualified by, and subject to, certain assumptions. Guidance is not prepared with a view toward compliance with published guidelines of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and neither FairPoint's independent registered public accounting firm nor any other independent expert or outside party compiles or examines the guidance and, accordingly, no such person expresses any opinion or any other form of assurance with respect thereto. Guidance is based upon a number of assumptions and estimates that, while presented with numerical specificity, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond the Company's control and are based upon specific assumptions with respect to future business decisions, some of which will change. Management generally states possible outcomes as high and low ranges which are intended to provide a sensitivity analysis as variables are changed but are not intended to represent actual results, which could fall outside of the suggested ranges. The principal reason that the Company releases this data is to provide a basis for management to discuss FairPoint's business outlook with analysts and investors. FairPoint does not accept any responsibility for any projections or reports published by any such outside analysts or investors. Guidance is necessarily speculative in nature, and it can be expected that some or all of the assumptions of the guidance furnished by us will not materialize or will vary significantly from actual results. Accordingly, the Company's guidance is only an estimate of what management believes is realizable as of the date hereof. Actual results will vary from the guidance and the variations may be material. Investors should also recognize that the reliability of any forecasted financial data diminishes the farther in the future that the data is forecast. In light of the foregoing, investors are urged to put the guidance in context and not to place undue reliance on it.

(1) Consolidated EBITDAR means earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and restructuring items as defined in the Company’s new credit facility.  Consolidated EBITDAR is a non-GAAP financial measure.  A reconciliation of Consolidated EBITDAR to Net Loss is contained in the attachments to this press release.

FAIRPOINT COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
(Debtors-In-Possession)
Consolidated Balance Sheets
December 31, 2010 and 2009
(in thousands, except share data)
2010 2009
Assets
Current assets:
Cash $ 105,497 $ 109,355
Restricted cash 2,420 2,558
Accounts receivable, net 125,170 154,095
Materials and supplies 22,193 18,884
Prepaid expenses 18,841 15,198
Other current assets 6,092 8,844
Deferred income tax, net 31,400 75,713
Total current assets 311,613 384,647
Property, plant and equipment, net 1,859,700 1,950,435
Goodwill 595,120 595,120
Intangibles assets, net 189,247 211,819
Prepaid pension asset 2,960 8,808
Debt issue costs, net 119 680
Restricted cash 1,678 1,478
Other assets 13,357 19,135
Total assets $ 2,973,794 $ 3,172,122
Liabilities and Stockholders' Deficit
Liabilities not subject to compromise:
Current portion of capital lease obligations $ 1,321 $
Accounts payable 66,557 61,681
Accrued interest payable 3 36
Other accrued liabilities 63,279 44,004
Total current liabilities 131,160 105,721
Capital lease obligations 3,943
Accrued pension obligation 92,246 51,438
Employee benefit obligations 344,463 261,420
Deferred income taxes 67,381 115,742
Unamortized investment tax credits 4,310 4,788
Other long-term liabilities 12,398 15,100
Total long-term liabilities 524,741 448,488
Total liabilities not subject to compromise 655,901 554,209
Liabilities subject to compromise 2,905,311 2,836,340
Total liabilities 3,561,212 3,390,549
Stockholders' deficit:
Common stock, $0.01 par value, 200,000,000 shares
authorized, issued and outstanding 89,440,334 and 90,002,026
shares at December 31, 2010 and 2009, respectively 894 900
Additional paid-in capital 725,786 725,312
Retained deficit (1,101,294) (819,715)
Accumulated other comprehensive loss (212,804) (124,924)
Total stockholders' deficit (587,418) (218,427)
Total liabilities and stockholders' deficit $ 2,973,794 $ 3,172,122
See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements in FairPoint's Annual Report
on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010 as filed with the SEC on March 31, 2011.
FAIRPOINT COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
(Debtors-In-Possession)
Consolidated Statements of Operations
Years ended December 31, 2010 and 2009
(in thousands, except per share data)
2010 2009
Revenues $ 1,070,986 $ 1,119,090
Operating expenses:
Cost of services and sales, excluding depreciation and amortization 525,728 515,394
Selling, general and administrative expense, excluding depreciation
and amortization 365,373 417,512
Depreciation and amortization 289,824 275,334
Total operating expenses 1,180,925 1,208,240
Income (loss) from operations (109,939) (89,150)
Other income (expense):
Interest expense (140,896) (204,919)
Gain (loss) on derivative instruments 12,320
Gain on early retirement of debt 12,357
Other income, net 2,715 2,000
Total other expense (138,181) (178,242)
Loss before reorganization items and income taxes (248,120) (267,392)
Reorganization items (41,120) (53,018)
Loss before income taxes (289,240) (320,410)
Income tax benefit 7,661 79,014
Net loss $ (281,579) $ (241,396)
Weighted average shares outstanding:
Basic 89,424 89,271
Diluted 89,424 89,271
Loss per share:
Basic $ (3.15) $ (2.70)
Diluted (3.15) (2.70)
See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements in FairPoint's Annual Report
on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010 as filed with the SEC on March 31, 2011.
FAIRPOINT COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
(Debtors-In-Possession)
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
Years ended December 31, 2010 and 2009
(in thousands)
2010 2009
Cash flows from operating activities:
Net loss $ (281,579) $ (241,396)
Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by
operating activities excluding impact of acquisitions:
Deferred income taxes (7,915) (78,722)
Provision for uncollectible revenue 20,525 48,402
Depreciation and amortization 289,824 275,334
Non-cash interest expense 31,137
Post-retirement expenses 33,216 34,151
Pension expenses 10,017 24,274
(Gain) loss on derivative instruments (12,320)
Gain on early retirement of debt, excluding cash fees (12,477)
Loss on abandoned projects 15,132
Non-cash reorganization items (20,004) 43,964
Other non cash items 4,045 4,468
Changes in assets and liabilities arising from operations:
Accounts receivable 12,706 (24,799)
Prepaid and other assets (6,834) 19,063
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities (10,802) (12,435)
Accrued interest payable 137,111 61,312
Other assets and liabilities, net (3,816) (9,633)
Other
Total adjustments 473,205 391,719
Net cash provided by operating activities 191,626 150,323
Cash flows from investing activities:
Acquired cash balance, net
Net capital additions (197,795) (178,752)
Net proceeds from sales of investments and other assets 527 1,361
Net cash used in investing activities (197,268) (177,391)
Cash flows from financing activities:
Loan origination costs (1,475) (3,046)
Proceeds from issuance of long-term debt 5,513 50,000
Repayments of long-term debt (20,848)
Contributions from Verizon
Restricted cash (62) 65,114
Repayment of capital lease obligations (2,192) (2,126)
Dividends paid to stockholders (22,996)
Net cash provided by financing activities 1,784 66,098
Net increase (decrease) in cash (3,858) 39,030
Cash, beginning of period 109,355 70,325
Cash, end of period $ 105,497 $ 109,355
Supplemental disclosure of cash flow information:
Interest paid, net of capitalized interest $ 1,005 $ 106,861
Income taxes paid, net of refunds 361 (563)
Non-cash equity consideration
Non-cash issuance of senior notes 18,911
Capital additions included in accounts payable or liabilities
subject to compromise at period-end 1,961 31,621
Reorganization costs paid 41,699 1,182
See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements in FairPoint's Annual Report
on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010 as filed with the SEC on March 31, 2011.
Click to view table full screen
FAIRPOINT COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
(Debtors-In-Possession)
Supplemental Financial Information
(Unaudited)
($ in thousands, except per unit)
Quarter ended
4Q10
as Reported
3Q10
Restated
2Q10
Restated
1Q10
Restated
4Q09
Recast
Summary Income Statement:
Revenue:
Voice services $            136,664 $            125,598 $            134,943 $            134,418 $            133,502
Access 92,128 95,923 96,182 96,856 98,893
Data and Internet services 27,504 26,691 28,961 27,067 26,073
Other services 11,696 12,418 11,477 12,460 11,722
Total revenue 267,992 260,630 271,563 270,801 270,190
Operating expenses:
Operating expenses, excluding depreciation

and amortization

211,598 218,177 230,273 231,053 230,792
Depreciation and amortization 74,606 72,364 71,472 71,382 70,594
Total operating expenses 286,204 290,541 301,745 302,435 301,386
Loss from operations (18,212) (29,911) (30,182) (31,634) (31,196)
Other income (expense):
Interest expense (35,187) (35,358) (35,721) (34,630) (39,757)
Other income (expense), net 377 2,207 105 26 (708)
Total other income (expense) (34,810) (33,151) (35,616) (34,604) (40,465)
Loss before reorganization items and income taxes (53,022) (63,062) (65,798) (66,238) (71,661)
Reorganization items (15,552) (10,352) 1,375 (16,591) (53,018)
Loss before income taxes (68,574) (73,414) (64,423) (82,829) (124,679)
Income tax benefit (expense) (6,413) 7,330 10,245 (3,501) 8,953
Net loss $             (74,987) $             (66,084) $             (54,178) $             (86,330) $           (115,726)
Consolidated EBITDAR Reconciliation:
Net loss $             (74,987) $             (66,084) $             (54,178) $             (86,330) $           (115,726)
Income tax (benefit) expense 6,413 (7,330) (10,245) 3,501 (8,953)
Interest expense 35,187 35,358 35,721 34,630 39,757
Depreciation and amortization 74,606 72,364 71,472 71,382 70,594
Non-cash pension and OPEB expense (1) 10,992 12,036 9,979 10,240 25,172
Other non-cash items, net (2) 16,096 1,066 (8,509) 1,327 45,466
Restructuring costs (3) 14,948 11,395 18,788 14,739 12,111
Restatement impact, net (4) - 1,397 8,307 10,436 -
All other allowed adjustments, net (5) 732 (999) 959 859 401
Consolidated EBITDAR $              83,987 $              59,203 $              72,294 $              60,784 $              68,822
Consolidated EBITDAR margin 31.3% 22.7% 26.6% 22.4% 25.5%
Select Operating and Financial Metrics:
Residential access lines 712,591 734,260 758,005 776,254 802,668
Business access lines 327,812 335,334 340,988 349,179 357,605
Wholesale access lines (6) 87,142 89,035 91,138 93,827 97,161
Total switched access lines 1,127,545 1,158,629 1,190,131 1,219,260 1,257,434
% change y-o-y -10.3% -11.0% -11.6% -12.4% -11.8%
High-speed data subscribers (7) 289,745 288,891 289,609 283,806 288,542
% change y-o-y 0.4% -1.7% -1.9% -5.5% -2.3%
Access line equivalents 1,417,290 1,447,520 1,479,740 1,503,066 1,545,976
% change y-o-y -8.3% -9.3% -9.9% -11.2% -10.2%
Capital expenditures $              40,868 $              53,705 $              62,815 $              40,407 $              48,630
(1) For purposes of calculating Consolidated EBITDAR, FairPoint's new credit facility allows it to add back the aggregate pension and other post-employment benefits expense (OPEB), net of pension contributions and OPEB cash payments in the period.
(2) For purposes of calculating Consolidated EBITDAR, FairPoint's new credit facility allows it to add back other non-cash charges except to the extent they will require a cash payment in a future period.  4Q10 included a one-time, non-cash charge related to a prior period.
(3) For purposes of calculating Consolidated EBITDAR, FairPoint's new credit facility allows it to add back costs, including professional fees for advisors and consultants, related to the restructuring.  These items are included in Reorganization items on the Income Statement in 2010.
(4) For purposes of calculating Consolidated EBITDAR, FairPoint's new credit facility allows it to adjust for the impact from any restatement of financial statements for the periods ending on or prior to January 24, 2011.
(5) For purposes of calculating Consolidated EBITDAR, FairPoint's new credit facility allows it to adjust for other items including success bonuses, severance, non-cash gains and losses, non-operating dividend and interest income and other extraordinary gains or losses.
(6) Wholesale access lines include Resale and UNE-P, but excludes UNE-L and special access circuits.
(7) High-speed data subscribers include DSL, fiber-to-the-home, cable modem and fixed wireless broadband.

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