Iowa Telecom posts revenue boost, sees more deals

Iowa Telecom, a small telco that was in the news last year for acquiring two other small telcos in the Midwest, reported fourth-quarter earnings Friday that were helped by the first of those deals, the purchase of Minnesota's Bishop Communications. From the deal, Iowa Telecom got a boost that helped it post a 6 percent increase in revenue. It earned $61.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2007, compared to $65 million for the most recent quarter.

It also gained about 1,400 access lines when comparing the final quarter of 2008 to that of 2007. However, the company lost 3,700 access lines between the third quarter of 2008 and the following quarter.

Net income was down slightly from about $6 million in the fourth quarter of 2007 to about $5.2 million in the same quarter of 2008.

Also, while expected rural telco consolidation was kept to a minimum by market conditions, Iowa Telecom said it does not plan to hesitate in doing more deals in a region rich in rural telco assets. Its second buy of last year, announced in the fourth quarter, was Sherburne Tele Systems, also in Minnesota. There are about 150 independent telcos in Iowa, and another 70 in Minnesota.

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Iowa Telecom announced the Sherburne deal in November
Iowa Telecom announced the Bishop deal in early 2008