tw telecom Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2012 Results

Tools

 

For 2012 grew revenue 7.6%, Net Income 32.8% and Modified EBITDA1 8.6% compared to 2011 and achieved 36.8% Modified EBITDA margin1 for the year

Delivers Ongoing Industry-Leading Innovation Through New Products and Capabilities

LITTLETON, Colo., Feb. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- tw telecom inc. (NASDAQ: TWTC), a leading national provider of managed services, including Business Ethernet, converged and IP VPN solutions to enterprises across the U.S. and to their global locations, today announced its fourth quarter 2012 financial results, including $377.9 million of revenue, $17.3 million of net income, $138.3 million of Modified EBITDA ("M-EBITDA"), $143.9 million of net cash provided by operating activities and $17.5 million of levered free cash flow3.  For the year, the Company reported $1.47 billion in revenue, $76.9 million of net income, $540.6 million of M-EBITDA, $463.7 million of net cash provided by operating activities and $129.7 million of levered free cash flow.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20080626/LATH527LOGO)

"In 2012, we achieved strong comprehensive financial results while rapidly deploying industry-leading Intelligent Network and advanced Ethernet capabilities," said Larissa Herda, tw telecom's Chairman, CEO and President. "In 2013, we're further advancing our long-term strategic vision which includes providing customers with unprecedented control and visibility of their network that we believe will accelerate the momentum in our business.  We're implementing several growth initiatives including investing in new technologies to drive ongoing innovative capabilities, expanding our sales resources for greater distribution and further automating network functionality for more dynamic customer connectivity.  These initiatives are all focused on further driving our revenue growth."

Highlights for the Year – 2012 compared to 2011

·         Grew total revenue 7.6% year over year compared to 7.4% for 2011

·         Grew enterprise revenue 10.5% year over year compared to 9.4% for 2011

·         Grew data and Internet revenue 15.4% year over year compared to 18.2% for 2011, driven primarily by a 22.4% increase in strategic Ethernet and VPN-based product revenue

·         Grew Net Income 32.8% to $76.9 million in 2012 vs. $57.9 million in 2011, and grew basic earnings per share to $0.51 in 2012 from $0.39 in 2011

·         Grew M-EBITDA 8.6% to $540.6 million representing a 36.8% M-EBITDA margin for 2012 compared to 36.4% in 2011

·         Delivered $129.7 million of levered free cash flow, or 8.8% of revenue in 2012 compared to 6.7% in 2011

Business Trends

"In 2012, we achieved substantial expansion of our cash flow and net income, and strong revenue and M-EBITDA growth coupled with efficient capital investment," said Mark Peters, tw telecom's Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.  "Our bookings7, or sales, for the quarter grew over both the prior quarter and the same period last year.  Sales also grew for the full year over the prior year, although at a lower pace than our 2012 total revenue growth rate.  Our focus going into 2013 is to make investments designed to increase our sales growth rate over time," said Peters.  

"Consistent with our comments last quarter, we began increasing the number of sales employees in the quarter to capture growing market demand and greater share.  A component of our growth initiatives in 2013 is to further expand our direct and indirect sales force and support resources, which naturally will dampen our M-EBITDA in the near-term as we position ourselves for these growing opportunities."

Product Innovation and Differentiation

"Our plans for 2013 include further differentiation of our product portfolio," said John Blount, tw telecom's Chief Operating Officer.  "After successfully launching two phases of our Intelligent Network in 2012, we started 2013 with the launch of a unique new Intelligent Network feature.  This feature provides proactive notification of network information based on parameters set by customers, which enables greater flexibility and unprecedented visibility to manage their networks.  For 2013 we expect to add additional industry-leading capabilities that will allow us to continue to better serve customers and help win market share."

Operational Metrics

Revenue churn4 was 0.9% for the current quarter, up from 0.8% in both the prior quarter and the same period last year.  Full year 2012 revenue churn was 0.9%, consistent with 2011.  As a component of revenue churn, revenue lost from customers fully disconnecting service remained low at 0.2% for the current quarter, which is consistent with both the prior quarter and the same quarter last year and indicative of a loyal customer base, strong customer experience strategy and competitive product portfolio.

The Company had nearly 28,000 customers as of December 31, 2012.  Customer churnwas 0.9% for both the current quarter and prior quarter, down from 1.0% in the same quarter last year.  The Company ended the year with approximately 29,000 fiber route miles (of which over 22,000 were metro miles).  

The Company also ended the year with 17,948 buildings directly served by its fiber network, reflecting an increase of 497 from ongoing success-based investments as well as an increase of 532 previously connected buildings that were identified during an alignment of key operating systems in 2012.

Capital Investments

Capital investments were $99.6 million for the quarter as compared to the prior quarter of $83.9 million and for the same period last year of $86.6 million.  The increase in the fourth quarter over the other two periods primarily reflects timing of projects, including capacity-driven IP Backbone network upgrades to support data product demand, strategic fiber purchases to extend the Company's network reach and technology investments to enable future capabilities. 

For the year, the Company invested $343.4 million in 2012 compared to $342.7 million in 2011, or 23.4% and 25.1% of revenue for each period respectively, with success-based initiatives reflecting the majority of these investments.  The Company expects capital investments for 2013 to be approximately $360 to $370 million with the majority tied to new sales opportunities.

Trends and Other

The Company continues to expect business fluctuations to impact sequential trends in revenue, margins and cash flow.  This includes the timing, as well as any seasonality of sales and installations5, usage, rate changes, disputes, settlements, repricing for contract renewals and fluctuations in revenue churn, expenses, capital expenditures and taxes and fees. 

The Company expects low first quarter sequential revenue growth due to a $2.2 million fourth quarter customer revenue settlement that will not recur, the negative impact of a first quarter rate decrease for certain taxes and fees billed to customers, and the timing of installations, seasonality, and other items referenced above.  The Company also expects M-EBITDA margin to temporarily decline due to the anticipated lower revenue growth rate combined with the impact from its growth initiatives and seasonal cost increases, which includes an estimated $4.0 million sequential cost increase due primarily to the annual resetting of payroll taxes. 

Intercarrier compensation revenue represented 2% of total revenue in 2012.  Under a November 2011 FCC Order, intercarrier compensation rates are declining over a six-year period that began in July 2012, with the next rate step down to occur in the third quarter of 2013.

On October 2, 2012, the Company completed a private offering of $480 million of 5.375% Senior Notes due 2022, priced at par.  The Company may use the net proceeds to settle any Convertible Debentures obligation or for general corporate purposes.

Year over Year Results – Fourth Quarter 2012 compared to Fourth Quarter 2011

Revenue for the quarter was $377.9 million compared to $351.5 million for the fourth quarter last year, representing a year over year increase of $26.4 million or 7.5%.  Revenue grew primarily due to ongoing enterprise revenue growth.  Key changes in revenue included:

·         $28.4 million increase in revenue from enterprise customers, or 10.4% year over year, driven primarily by data and Internet services

·         $1.3 million decrease in revenue from carriers, primarily due to churn and repricing for contract renewals, partially offset by growth in Ethernet services

By product line, the percentage change in revenue year over year was as follows:

·         15.2% increase for data and Internet services, primarily driven by an increase in strategic Ethernet and VPN-based products and other services, partially offset by churn and repricing.  Data and Internet revenue represents 52% of total revenue for the quarter compared to 49% a year ago

·         6.1% increase in voice services, primarily reflecting sales of converged and other voice solutions, and an increase in certain taxes and fees, partially offset by churn

·         5.2% decrease in network services, primarily reflecting churn and repricing for contract renewals largely in transport services which outpaced growth in colocation services

Operating Costs

Operating costs for the quarter increased year over year, primarily as a result of revenue growth, which included increases in network access costs and certain taxes and fees, as well as higher employee-related costs.  Operating costs as a percentage of revenue were 42.1% for the quarter compared to 41.6% for the same period last year.  Modified gross marginas a percentage of revenue was 58.0% in the current quarter compared to 58.5% in the same period last year due to an increase in operating costs discussed above as well as the dilutive impact of growth in certain taxes and fees.

The Company utilizes a fully burdened modified gross margin, including network costs, and personnel costs for customer care, provisioning, network maintenance, technical field and network operations, excluding non-cash, stock-based compensation expense, net of costs capitalized for labor and overhead on capital projects.

Selling, General and Administrative Costs ("SG&A")

SG&A costs increased year over year, primarily as a result of an increase in employee-related and regulatory costs, somewhat offset by a reduction in bad debt expense.  SG&A costs as a percentage of revenue decreased to 23.1% for the quarter from 23.9% for the same period last year.  This primarily reflects lower employee costs and bad debt expense, which declined as a percentage of revenue year over year.

Net Income

Net income was $17.3 million for the quarter compared to $16.4 million from the same period last year, reflecting M-EBITDA growth, offset by an increase in interest expense related to the October financing, and higher depreciation expense.  The Company delivered basic earnings per share of $0.11 for both the current quarter and the same period last year.

M-EBITDA and Margins 

M-EBITDA grew to $138.3 million for the quarter, an increase of 8.0% from the same period last year primarily as a result of revenue growth.  M-EBITDA margin for the quarter was 36.6% as compared to 36.4% for the same period last year, as employee costs and bad debt expense as a percentage of revenue declined year over year somewhat offset by the dilutive impact of the growth in certain taxes and fees.

Sequential Results – Fourth Quarter 2012 compared to Third Quarter 2012

Revenue for the quarter was $377.9 million, as compared to $368.9 million for the third quarter of 2012, an increase of $9.0 million, or 2.4%, representing the 33rd consecutive quarter of sequential growth.   Revenue grew due to ongoing enterprise growth.  Key changes in revenue included:

·         $9.0 million increase in enterprise revenue, representing 3.1% sequential growth driven primarily by data and Internet services, a $2.2 million customer settlement and an increase in certain taxes and fees

·         $0.4 million increase in revenue from carrier customers, primarily reflecting growth in Ethernet services, offset by churn and repricing for contract renewals

By product line, the percentage change in revenue sequentially was as follows:

·         4.6% increase for data and Internet services, primarily driven by an increase in strategic Ethernet and VPN-based product sales and other services, a $2.2 million customer settlement, partially offset by churn and repricing

·         1.1% increase in voice services, primarily reflecting an increase in sales of converged solutions and an increase in certain taxes and fees, offset by churn and a reduction in usage

·         Network services were largely unchanged, primarily reflecting churn and repricing for contract renewals mostly in transport services, which outpaced growth in colocation services and an increase in settlements

Operating Costs

Operating costs increased primarily as a result of revenue growth and included higher network access costs and an increase in certain taxes and fees as well as increased employee-related costs, somewhat offset by seasonally lower utility costs.  Operating costs were 42.1% of revenue for the quarter and 42.3% for the prior quarter.  Modified gross margin for the quarter as a percentage of revenue was 58.0% compared to 57.8% in the prior quarter.

Selling, General and Administrative Costs

SG&A costs increased primarily reflecting an increase in employee-related costs, including commissions and benefits expense, partially offset by a decrease in bad debt expense.  SG&A was 23.1% of revenue for the quarter and 22.6% for the prior quarter.  

Net Income

Net income was $17.3 million for the quarter, down from $21.0 million in the prior quarter, primarily reflecting an increase in interest expense related to the October financing, and higher depreciation expense primarily resulting from new asset additions, partially offset by a decrease in income tax expense and M-EBITDA growth.  The Company delivered basic earnings per share of $0.11 for the quarter compared to $0.14 in the prior quarter.

M-EBITDA and Margins 

M-EBITDA was $138.3 million for the quarter, an increase of 1.3% from the prior quarter primarily as a result of revenue growth.   M-EBITDA margin was 36.6% for the quarter compared to 37.0% for the prior quarter, reflecting an increase primarily in commissions and other benefits expense as well as the dilutive impact of certain taxes and fees.

tw telecom plans to conduct a webcast conference call to discuss its earnings results on February 12, 2013 at  9:00 a.m. MST (11:00 a.m. EST).  To access the webcast and the financial and other information to be discussed in the webcast, visit www.twtelecom.com under "Investor Relations."

(1) Modified EBITDA (or "M-EBITDA") is defined as net income or loss before depreciation, amortization, accretion, impairment charges and other income and losses, interest expense, debt extinguishment costs, interest income, income tax expense or benefit, cumulative effect of change in accounting principle, and non-cash stock-based compensation expense.  The Company defines Modified EBITDA margin as M-EBITDA divided by total revenue.

(2) Unlevered free cash flow is defined as Modified EBITDA less capital expenditures, which is reconciled to Net Cash provided by (used in) operating activities in the supplemental information posted on the Company's website.

(3) Levered free cash flow is defined as Modified EBITDA less capital expenditures and net interest expense from operations (excluding debt extinguishment costs, non-cash interest expense and deferred debt costs), which is reconciled to Net Cash provided by (used in) operating activities in the supplemental information posted on the Company's website.  

 (4) Revenue churn is defined as the average lost recurring monthly billing for the period from a customer's partial or complete disconnection of services (excluding repricing impacts and usage) compared to reported revenue for the period.  Customer churn is defined as the average monthly customer turnover for the period compared to the average monthly customer count for the period.

(5) Installations reflect services from signed customer sales that are installed and recognized as revenue from the date of installation

(6) The Company defines modified gross margin as total revenue less operating costs excluding non-cash stock-based compensation expense.  

(7) Bookings are defined as signed customer contracts.  The timing of when these sales are installed and recognized into revenue varies based on the underlying contract.

Financial Measures
The Company provides financial measures using U.S. generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP") as well as adjustments to GAAP measures to describe its business trends, including Modified EBITDA.  Management believes that its definition of Modified EBITDA (see above) is a standard measure of operating performance and liquidity that is commonly reported and widely used by analysts, investors, and other interested parties in the telecommunications industry because it eliminates many differences in financial, capitalization, and tax structures, as well as non-cash and non-operating income or charges to earnings.  Modified EBITDA is not intended to replace operating income (loss), net income (loss), cash flow, and other measures of financial performance and liquidity reported in accordance with GAAP.  Management uses Modified EBITDA internally to assess on-going operations and it is the basis for various financial covenants contained in the Company's debt agreements and for operating performance and liquidity.  Modified EBITDA is reconciled to Net Income (Loss), the most comparable GAAP measure for operating performance within the Consolidated Operations Highlights and in the supplemental information posted on the Company's website.  Modified EBITDA, as a measure of liquidity, is also reconciled to Net Cash provided by operating activities on the Company's website.

In addition, management uses unlevered and levered free cash flow, which measure the ability of M-EBITDA to cover capital expenditures.  The Company uses these cash flow definitions to eliminate certain non-cash costs.  Levered and unlevered free cash flow are reconciled to Net Cash provided by operating activities and also to Modified EBITDA in the supplemental information posted on the Company's website.  The Company also provides an adjustment to the measure gross margin by eliminating the impact of non-cash stock-based compensation expense.  Management uses modified gross margin internally to assess on-going operations.  Modified gross margin is reconciled to gross margin in the financial tables.

Forward Looking Statements
The statements in this press release and related conference call concerning the outlook for 2013 and beyond, including statements regarding product and platform plans, growth prospects, market opportunities, sales growth, cash flow, growth initiatives, sales force, customer opportunities, network capabilities, sales and installations timing, demand, revenue growth, margins, the impact of regulatory changes, churn, business trends and fluctuations, taxes and expected capital expenditures are forward-looking statements that reflect management's views with respect to future events and financial performance.  These statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties.  Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward looking statements include the risks disclosed in the Company's SEC filings, especially the section entitled "Risk Factors" in its 2011 Annual Report on Form 10-K and in its subsequent 2012 Annual Report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q.  tw telecom undertakes no obligations to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

About tw telecom
tw telecom, headquartered in Littleton, Colo., is a leading national provider of managed services, including Business Ethernet, converged and IP VPN solutions for enterprises throughout the U.S. and globally. tw telecom also delivers secure, scalable private connections for transport data networking, Internet access, voice, VPN, VoIP and security to large organizations and communications services companies. Employing a resilient fiber network infrastructure, robust product portfolio and its own Intelligent Network capabilities, tw telecom delivers customers overall economic value, an industry-leading quality service experience, and improved business productivity. Please visit www.twtelecom.com for more information.