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Press Release -- May 8th, 2013
Source: CenturyLink
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CenturyLink Reports First Quarter 2013 Earnings

Achieved first quarter operating revenues of $4.51 billion; at top end of guidance

Realized strong growth of 66,700 high-speed Internet subscribers during first quarter 2013

Added 13,400[1] Prism™ TV subscribers during first quarter

Achieved Adjusted Diluted EPS[2] of $0.76 compared to $0.68 in first quarter 2012

Generated Free Cash Flow[2] of $1.0 billion, excluding special items and integration-related capital expenditures

Repurchased 19.2 million shares for $682 million through May 7, 2013

May 8, 2013

MONROE, La., May 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE:CTL, news, filings) today reported strong operating revenues, operating cash flow and free cash flow for first quarter 2013.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090602/DA26511LOGO)

"CenturyLink reported strong financial results and achieved solid broadband and PrismTM TV customer growth in the first quarter, while continuing to see good demand from businesses for high-bandwidth network and data hosting services. Through the ongoing investment in our key strategic initiatives, we are creating and capitalizing on organic growth opportunities across each of our business segments. Our solid sales momentum over the past several quarters continues to contribute toward our goal of top-line revenue stabilization in 2014," said Glen F. Post III, chief executive officer and president.

"We have implemented the organizational realignment announced in early January focused primarily on strengthening our go-to-market strategy and service delivery process for business customers and are beginning to see benefits from this realignment. We achieved an annualized operating expense synergy run rate of $550 million from the Qwest integration as of the end of the quarter, and we remain on plan to reach a $600 million annual run rate by the end of this year.

"Our sequential data hosting revenue growth was negatively impacted by several factors including soft third quarter 2012 new sales, foreign currency exchange impact and price compression driven by declining compute and storage costs. However, we generated strong new sales in data hosting in the last two quarters, while maintaining a growing sales funnel. We also have increased our focus on leveraging data hosting cross-sell opportunities to our business customers resulting in a strengthened cross-sales funnel that we believe will help further drive data hosting revenues over time.

"From the mid-February announcement of our $2 billion stock repurchase program through May 7, 2013, we have purchased a total of 19.2 million shares of our outstanding common stock for $682 million. We expect to continue to opportunistically repurchase stock through the remainder of the authorized program.

"We believe our extensive asset portfolio, continued investment in our key strategic initiatives and focus on serving our customers position us well to drive profitable growth over the long term," Post concluded.

First Quarter Highlights

  • Generated free cash flow of $1.0 billion, excluding special items and integration-related capital expenditures.
  • Added 66,700 high-speed Internet subscribers during first quarter, ending the quarter with more than 5.9 million broadband customers.
  • Ended the quarter with 120,000 CenturyLink® PrismTM TV subscribers in service, adding 13,400 subscribers in first quarter 2013.
  • Achieved strong growth in strategic revenue from high-bandwidth data services.
  • Generated solid data hosting new sales in first quarter 2013, continuing momentum from fourth quarter 2012.
  • Purchased and retired 11.1 million shares for $386 million during first quarter 2013.

Consolidated First Quarter Financial Results

Operating revenues for first quarter 2013 were $4.51 billion compared to $4.61 billion in first quarter 2012. This decrease was driven by lower legacy services revenues primarily due to the impact of access line losses and lower access revenues, partially offset by increases in strategic revenues resulting primarily from business customer demand for high-bandwidth data services, colocation and managed hosting services and growth in high-speed Internet and CenturyLink® PrismTM TV subscribers.

Operating expenses, excluding special items, decreased to $3.70 billion from $3.87 billion in first quarter 2012. The year-over-year decrease was primarily due to lower personnel-related costs, bad debt and depreciation and amortization expenses, which were partially offset by higher colocation, managed hosting and network expenses.

Operating cash flow (as defined in our attached supplemental schedules), excluding special items, decreased to $1.93 billion from $1.94 billion in first quarter 2012. This decrease was primarily the result of lower legacy revenues being partially offset by higher strategic revenues and lower personnel-related costs. For first quarter 2013, CenturyLink achieved an operating cash flow margin, excluding special items, of 42.8% versus 42.2% in first quarter 2012.

Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted Diluted Earnings Per Share (Adjusted Diluted EPS)

Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted Diluted EPS exclude the after-tax impact of special items, the non-cash after-tax impact of the amortization of intangibles, and the non-cash after-tax impact to interest expense of the assignment of fair value to the outstanding debt assumed by us in connection with our Embarq, Qwest and Savvis acquisitions.

Excluding the items outlined above, CenturyLink's Adjusted Net Income for first quarter 2013 was $475 million compared to Adjusted Net Income of $423 million in first quarter 2012. First quarter 2013 Adjusted Diluted EPS was $0.76 compared to Adjusted Diluted EPS of $0.68 in the year-ago period. See the attached schedules for additional information.

GAAP Results – First Quarter

Under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), net income for first quarter 2013 was $298 million compared to $200 million for first quarter 2012, and diluted earnings per share for first quarter 2013 was $0.48 compared to $0.32 for first quarter 2012. First quarter 2013 net income and diluted earnings per share reflect the after-tax impact of severance costs associated with staff reductions, an accounting adjustment related to life insurance policies and integration, severance, and retention costs associated with the Qwest and Savvis acquisitions, partially offset by non-operating gains on the sale of a non-operating investment and settlements of other non-operating issues, which amounted to a $5 million charge ($0.01 per share) on a net basis. First quarter 2012 net income and diluted earnings per share included a net $43 million charge ($0.07 per share), reflecting the after-tax impact of severance costs associated with expense reduction initiatives and integration, severance, and retention costs associated with the Qwest and Savvis acquisitions, partially offset by non-operating gains on the early retirement of debt and sale of investment securities.

Segment Results / Highlights

As previously announced, beginning first quarter 2013, CenturyLink realigned its operating groups into the following four reporting segments:

  • Consumer. Consists primarily of providing products and services to residential consumers across our 37-state footprint.
  • Business. Consists primarily of providing products and services to government, small to medium-sized business and enterprise customers across the U.S. and select international locations.
  • Wholesale. Consists primarily of providing products and services to other domestic and international communications providers.
  • Data Hosting. Consists primarily of providing colocation, managed hosting, cloud services and hosting-related network services to businesses of all sizes.

Consumer

The Consumer segment realized continued strategic revenue growth driven by increased high-speed Internet and CenturyLink® PrismTM TV subscribers.

  • Strategic revenues were $620 million in the quarter, a 5.4% increase over first quarter 2012.
  • Generated $1.51 billion in total revenues, a decrease of 3.4% from first quarter 2012, reflecting the continued decline in legacy services tempered by the impact of Access Recovery Charges implemented effective July 1, 2012, in accordance with the CAF Order3.
  • Added 13,400 CenturyLink® PrismTM TV subscribers during first quarter 2013. Including recently soft launched markets, penetration of Prism-enabled homes is nearly 10%.
  • Soft launched CenturyLink® PrismTM TV in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in first quarter with plans to soft launch in Omaha, Nebraska, in second quarter.

Business

The Business segment achieved strong growth of high-bandwidth data services and continues to experience solid sales momentum from enterprise and government customers.

  • Strategic revenues were $615 million in the quarter, a 6.4 % increase over first quarter 2012, driven by strength in high-bandwidth offerings such as MPLS4 and Ethernet services. Excluding the impact of private line services, the adjusted growth rate was nearly 12%.
  • Generated $1.50 billion in total revenues, flat from first quarter 2012, reflecting growth in high-bandwidth offerings offset by lower legacy services and data integration revenues.
  • Achieved solid monthly recurring sales in first quarter 2013 with a growing sales funnel.

Wholesale

The Wholesale segment continues to complete fiber builds to towers within our footprint, ending the quarter with more than 15,500 fiber-connected towers.

  • Strategic revenues of $573 million in the quarter decreased 1.5% compared to first quarter 2012, as declines in copper-based revenue were partially offset by increases in wireless carrier bandwidth demand and Ethernet sales.
  • Generated $907 million in total revenues, a decrease of 5.7% from first quarter 2012, reflecting the continued decline in legacy revenues, primarily driven by the implementation of access rate reductions effective July 1, 2012, in accordance with the CAF Order3 and lower long distance and switched access minutes of use.
  • Completed more than 800 fiber builds in first quarter 2013 and expect to complete 4,000 to 5,000 fiber builds in full year 2013.

Data Hosting

The Data Hosting segment grew managed hosting (including cloud) and colocation services revenue driven by growth in core managed hosting products and in the financial and consumer brands verticals.

  • Operating revenues were $334 million in the quarter, a 7.7% increase from first quarter 2012.
  • Colocation revenues were $144 million, a 4.3% increase from first quarter 2012, and managed hosting revenues were $125 million, representing a 20% increase over the same period a year ago. Managed hosting revenues include $15 million of revenues contributed by the Ciber global IT outsourcing, or ITO, assets acquired October 15, 2012.
  • Launch of savvisdirect® in December 2012 positions the product portfolio to better address the needs of customers of all sizes.

Integration Update

During first quarter 2013, CenturyLink incurred pre-tax integration, severance and retention costs of $10 million ($6 million after-tax) related to the Qwest and Savvis acquisitions.

CenturyLink ended first quarter 2013 with an annualized operating expense synergy run rate of approximately $550 million from the Qwest acquisition and we currently expect to exit 2013 with approximately $600 million in annual run-rate synergies. We continue to anticipate achieving the previously stated $650 million annual run-rate operating expense synergies upon full integration of the Qwest acquisition.

Guidance – Second Quarter 2013 and Full-Year 2013

The Company expects second quarter 2013 operating cash flow and Adjusted Diluted EPS to decrease compared to first quarter 2013 primarily due to higher seasonal expenses, costs related to our continued investment in key initiatives, higher costs related to increased data integration and certain one-time expense reductions experienced during first quarter 2013.

Second Quarter 2013
Operating Revenues $4.49 to $4.54 billion
Operating Cash Flow (excl. special items) $1.82 to $1.86 billion
Adjusted Diluted EPS (excl. special items) $0.63 to $0.68
Full-Year 2013 Previous Guidance Current Guidance
Operating Revenues $18.1 to $18.3 billion No revision
Annual percent change in Operating Revenues -0.5% to -1.5% No revision
Operating Cash Flow (excl. special items) $7.3 to $7.5 billion $7.35 to $7.55 billion
Adjusted Diluted EPS (excl. special items) $2.50 to $2.70 $2.60 to $2.75
Capital Expenditures5 $2.8 to $3.0 billion No revision
Free Cash Flow (excl. special items) $3.0 to $3.2 billion No revision

All 2013 guidance figures and 2013 outlook statements included in this release (i) speak as of May 8, 2013 only, (ii) include the impact of the Ciber ITO assets acquired on October 15, 2012, (iii) exclude the impact of any share repurchases made after March 31, 2013 and (iv) exclude the effects of special items, future changes in regulation or accounting rules, integration expenses associated with the Qwest and Savvis acquisitions, any changes in operating or capital plans, the impact of litigation expenses or other unforeseen events or circumstances that impact our financial performance, and any future mergers, acquisitions, divestitures or other similar business transactions. See "Forward Looking Statements" below. For additional information on how we define certain of the terms used above, see the attached schedules.

Investor Call

As previously announced, CenturyLink's management will host a conference call at 4:00 p.m. Central Time today, May 8, 2013. Interested parties can access the call by dialing 866-259-6033. The call will be accessible for replay through May 15, 2013, by calling 888-266-2081 and entering the access code 1609976. Investors can also listen to CenturyLink's earnings conference call and replay by accessing the Investor Relations portion of the Company's Web site at www.centurylink.com through May 29, 2013.

Reconciliation to GAAP

This release includes certain non-GAAP financial measures, including but not limited to operating cash flow, free cash flow, adjustments to GAAP measures to exclude the effect of special items and certain pro forma combined operating results. In addition to providing key metrics for management to evaluate the Company's performance, we believe these measurements assist investors in their understanding of period-to-period operating performance and in identifying historical and prospective trends. Reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures to the most comparable GAAP measures are included in the attached financial schedules. Reconciliation of additional non-GAAP financial measures that may be discussed during the earnings call described below will be available in the Investor Relations portion of the Company's Web site at www.centurylink.com. Investors are urged to consider these non-GAAP measures in addition to, and not in substitution for, measures prepared in accordance with GAAP.

About CenturyLink

CenturyLink is the third largest telecommunications company in the United States and is recognized as a leader in the network services market by technology industry analyst firms. The Company is a global leader in cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions for enterprise customers. CenturyLink provides data, voice and managed services in local, national and select international markets through its high-quality advanced fiber optic network and multiple data centers for businesses and consumers. The company also offers advanced entertainment services under the CenturyLink® PrismTM TV and DIRECTV brands. Headquartered in Monroe, La., CenturyLink is an S&P 500 company and is included among the Fortune 500 list of America's largest corporations. For more information, visit www.centurylink.com.

Forward Looking Statements

Certain non-historical statements made in this release and future oral or written statements or press releases by us or our management are intended to be forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations only, and are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions, many of which are beyond our control. Actual events and results may differ materially from those anticipated, estimated or projected if one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if underlying assumptions prove incorrect. Factors that could affect actual results include but are not limited to: the timing, success and overall effects of competition from a wide variety of competitive providers; the risks inherent in rapid technological change; the effects of ongoing changes in the regulation of the communications industry (including recent reforms and changes by the Federal Communications Commission regarding intercarrier compensation and the Universal Service Fund, among other things); our ability to successfully negotiate collective bargaining agreements on reasonable terms without work stoppages; our ability to effectively adjust to changes in the communications industry and changes in the composition of our markets and product mix caused by our recent acquisitions; our ability to successfully integrate recently acquired operations into our incumbent operations, including the possibility that the anticipated benefits from our recent acquisitions cannot be fully realized in a timely manner or at all, or that integrating the acquired operations will be more difficult, disruptive or costly than anticipated; our ability to use the net operating loss carryovers of Qwest in projected amounts; our ability to effectively manage our expansion opportunities, including retaining and hiring key personnel; possible changes in the demand for, or pricing of, our products and services; our ability to successfully introduce new product or service offerings on a timely and cost-effective basis; our continued access to credit markets on favorable terms; our ability to collect our receivables from financially troubled companies; any adverse developments in legal or regulatory proceedings involving us; our ability to pay common share dividends in amounts previously indicated, which may be affected by changes in our cash requirements, capital spending plans, cash flows or financial position; unanticipated increases or other changes in our future cash requirements, whether caused by unanticipated increases in capital expenditures, increases in pension funding requirements or otherwise; the effects of adverse weather; other risks referenced from time to time in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"); and the effects of more general factors such as changes in interest rates, in tax rates, in accounting policies or practices, in operating, medical, pension or administrative costs, in general market, labor or economic conditions, or in legislation, regulation or public policy. These and other uncertainties related to our business and our recent acquisitions are described in greater detail in Item 1A to our Form 10- K for the year ended December 31, 2012, as updated and supplemented by our subsequent SEC reports. You should be aware that new factors may emerge from time to time and it is not possible for us to identify all such factors nor can we predict the impact of each such factor on the business or the extent to which any one or more factors may cause actual results to differ from those reflected in any forward-looking statements. You are further cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this release. We undertake no obligation to update any of our forward-looking statements for any reason.

1 Our historical PrismTM TV subscribers reflected single and multi-dwelling unit subscribers as individual counts. Effective 1Q13 and prospectively thereafter, multi-dwelling units are reflected on an average revenue equivalent unit basis.

2 See attachments for non-GAAP reconciliations.

3 Federal Communications Commission's Connect America and Intercarrier Compensation Reform Order (the CAF Order) adopted on October 27, 2011

4 Multiprotocol Label Switching

5 Excludes approximately $70 million of integration-related capital expenditures

 

 CenturyLink, Inc. 

 

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME

 

THREE MONTHS ENDED MARCH 31, 2013 AND 2012

 

(UNAUDITED)

 

 (Dollars in millions, except per share amounts; shares in thousands) 

 Three months ended March 31, 2013  Three months ended March 31, 2012
As adjusted As adjusted Increase
 excluding excluding (decrease)
 Less special Less special Increase  excluding
 As  special items As special items (decrease) special
reported items (Non-GAAP) reported items (Non-GAAP) as reported items
 OPERATING REVENUES
 Strategic $ 2,142 2,142 2,058 2,058 4.1% 4.1%
 Legacy 1,974 1,974 2,141 2,141 (7.8%) (7.8%)
 Data integration 140 140 145 145 (3.4%) (3.4%)
 Other 257 257 266 266 (3.4%) (3.4%)
4,513 - 4,513 4,610 - 4,610 (2.1%) (2.1%)
 OPERATING EXPENSES
 Cost of services and products 1,796 2 (1) 1,794 1,877 12 (4) 1,865 (4.3%) (3.8%)
 Selling, general and administrative 818 32 (1) 786 871 70 (4) 801 (6.1%) (1.9%)
 Depreciation and amortization 1,117 1,117 1,208 1,208 (7.5%) (7.5%)
3,731 34 3,697 3,956 82 3,874 (5.7%) (4.6%)
 OPERATING INCOME 782 (34) 816 654 (82) 736 19.6% 10.9%
 OTHER INCOME (EXPENSE)
 Interest expense (316)

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