Qwest Q4 profit beats Wall Street estimates

This morning, Qwest released its fourth-quarter 2008 and yearly financial numbers. The company saw a 3 percent drop in operating revenue in the fourth quarter on a year-to-year basis and a 2 percent drop in yearly revenues from 2007 to 2008. However, Qwest came up with 11 cents per share in profits in Q4, beating Wall Street estimates by a penny.

Breaking down the numbers, the company had net income of $185 million in Q408, as compared to $366 million in Q407 - not so good. Results include severance charges (Job cuts of 1,700 people) of $19 million.  Income before taxes was up 17 percent when compared to Q407. Revenue in the quarter was $3.3 billion as compared to $3.4 billion in Q407. 

For the full year, net income was $681 million, compared to $2.9 billion in 2007. Full year 2008 operating revenues were $13.5 billion with annual adjusted free cash flow of $1.44 billion.

Qwest attributes its relative success to an improved revenue mix and stronger cost controls that have bolstered margins across all business segments. Enterprise revenue continued to grow, with a 9 percent year-over-year growth in data and IP. Further, data, Internet and video revenue make up 25 percent of the company's mass market revenues.

For the fourth quarter, Qwest added 54,000 net broadband customers, building upon its fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) network. It also moved more than 180,000 MVNO service (Sprint) customers over to Verizon Wireless.

Voice revenues were - as one might expect - impacted due to declines in residential landlines. Qwest's Mass Markets segment reported landline losses of 10.5 percent year-over-year. 

In 2009, Qwest anticipates it will have an adjusted EBITDA of $4.2 to $4.4 billion and adjusted free cash flow of $1.4 to $1.5 billion.  It also expects to make $1.8 billion in capital investment that will be "closely aligned with business decisions."

For more:
- Qwest rolls out its announcement. Release

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