CenturyLink forecasts Q1 revenue decrease but sees broadband, video subs jump in Q4

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) reported that despite a strong uptick in both broadband and video services, fourth-quarter 2013 revenues declined 0.4 percent to $4.1 billion.

The telco added about 49,000 high-speed Internet subscribers during the fourth quarter, ending the period with about 6 million subscribers. It saw similar gains in its IPTV base, ending the quarter with a total of 175,000 CenturyLink Prism TV subscribers, up nearly 26,000.

Strategic consumer revenues rose 7.7 percent year-over-year to $683 million. It generated about $1.50 billion in total revenues, down 1.7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012, a factor it attributes to the continued decline in legacy services tempered by growth in strategic services.

CenturyLink also reported strong gains in the business segment as sales of strategic services of Ethernet and IP MPLS rose 7.5 percent year-over-year to $643 million.

The telco said the business services segment generated $1.56 billion in total revenues, an increase of 1.0 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012, "as growth in high-bandwidth offerings offset lower legacy services revenues."

In the wholesale segment, the story was centered around its fiber to the tower (FTTT) drive. It ended the year with more than 18,800 fiber-connected towers, up 30 percent from the end of 2012.

Wholesale strategic revenues were $581 million in the quarter, up 1.6 percent over the fourth quarter of 2012. CenturyLink said that increases in wireless carrier bandwidth demand and Ethernet sales, along with delays in copper-based wireless disconnects, offset declines in copper-based revenue.

"CenturyLink achieved strong financial and operating results for the fourth quarter with operating revenues at the top end of our guidance range for the quarter, record Prism TV subscriber growth, higher than anticipated high-speed Internet subscriber additions and continued demand from business customers for our high-bandwidth data and hosting services," said Glen F. Post III, CEO and president, in the earnings release.

Looking towards the first quarter of 2014, CenturyLink forecast revenue will be impacted by legacy and data integration revenues along with approximately $60 million in favorable year-end expense adjustments. It expects to report operating revenues of $4.46 billion to $4.51 billion.

Shares of CenturyLink were listed at $30.75, up 56 cents or 1.85 percent, in late Thursday morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

For more:
- see the earnings release

Earnings summary: Wireline telecom earnings in the fourth quarter of 2013

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