Shentel's fiber lease revenue increases 18%, offsets legacy voice declines

Shentel's fiber leasing business has been a saving grace in its wireline portfolio, rising 18.6 percent year-over-year to $8.4 million in the fourth quarter, a factor that helped the company offset ongoing losses in traditional voice service revenues.

For the year 2014, the service provider's total fiber lease revenues were $32 million with $16.6 million in affiliate and non-affiliate revenue.

At the same time, external fiber lease contract revenues were $19.9 million, a figure that included $3 million in cable and $16.9 million in wireline revenue, respectively.

Christopher French, president and CEO of Shentel, said during the Q4 earnings call that the company's "growth in fiber revenue have more than offset the loss in regulated revenues."

Wireline operating income was $3.2 million, up from $2.9 million in the same period a year ago.

Per the industry trend, Shentel continued to shed access lines. It ended the year with a total of 21,612 total access lines, down from 22,106 total access lines during the same period a year ago. However, the company said that "access line loss continues below 3 percent per year."

Adjusted OIBDA for the wireline segment for Q4 2014 increased 7.5 percent to $6.3 million, as compared to $5.9 million in Q4 2013, primarily as a result of the higher fiber revenue.

From an overall financial perspective, the telco reported fourth-quarter profit of $8.6 million, up year-over-year from $6.7 million. On a per-share basis, Shentel reported net income of 35 cents per share, beating Wall Street analyst expectations of 32 cents per share.

For the year, Shentel's net income was $33.9 million or $1.39 per diluted share, compared to $29.6 million or $1.23 per diluted share in 2013, due primarily to what it said was "continued growth in the Wireless segment."

Shares of Shentel were trading at $29.22, up 13 cents 0.45 percent in Monday morning trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange.  

For more:
- see the earnings release
- and the earnings transcript
- Yahoo Finance has this article

Special report: Wireline telecom earnings in the fourth quarter of 2014

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