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Qwest Communications International's CEO Discusses Q4 2010 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

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To supplement the reporting of our financial information on our call today, we will be discussing certain non-GAAP financial measures, including adjusted EBITDA, adjusted free cash flow and net debt. A full reconciliation of these measures is available on our website.

Now, we'll move on to Slide 4 to touch on EPS and some special items that impacted our earnings per share in the quarter. Our reported loss per share for the quarter was $0.09, and that compares to an earnings per share of $0.06 in the fourth quarter of 2009. The current quarter includes a $0.15 charge related to the conversion option on the convertible notes, which we redeemed in the fourth quarter. The remaining one-time charges in the quarter total $0.06 per share and include accelerated stock-based compensation, legal merger and severance expenses. Excluding special items, earnings per share were $0.12 in the fourth quarter. That's a 15% improvement compared to $0.08 in the year-ago quarter.

For the full year, earnings per share, excluding the special items, were $0.44 per share compared to $0.38 in 2009. That's a 16% improvement. The earnings improvement in both the fourth quarter and the full year principally reflects stable EBITDA, lower depreciation and pension expense and reduced interest cost. Before any merger-related accounting impacts, depreciation expense is expected to decline again in 2011. With the significant reduction in debt over the past 12 months, we will also have a meaningfully lower interest expense in the coming year again.

So with that, I'm going to turn it over to Ed.

Edward Mueller

Thanks, Kurt. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. I want to begin by saying I'm very pleased with our performance for both the quarter and the full year. In light of challenging conditions, we achieved a number of milestones during the year, including record high margins and record low debt levels, and we made significant progress on key initiatives to drive shareholder value.

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