During the fourth quarter, Level 3 posted earnings of $14 million, or 6 cents a share. In the year-earlier quarter, the company posted a loss of $56 million, or 26 cents a share. Revenue fell 0.7% to $1.6 billion in the latest fourth quarter.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected Level 3 to report earnings of 2 cents a share and revenue of $1.59 billion.
In a statement, Level 3 President and CEO Jeff Storey said, "We had a strong finish to 2013 as our fourth-quarter revenue benefited from both underlying growth and seasonal strength."
TheStreet Ratings team rates LEVEL 3 COMMUNICATIONS INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about its recommendation:
"We rate LEVEL 3 COMMUNICATIONS INC (LVLT) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed -- some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company has favored debt over equity in the management of its balance sheet."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- Powered by its strong earnings growth of 88.15% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 36.06% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, our hold rating indicates that we do not recommend additional investment in this stock despite its gains in the past year.
- LEVEL 3 COMMUNICATIONS INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, LEVEL 3 COMMUNICATIONS INC continued to lose money by earning -$1.97 versus -$6.40 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$0.55 versus -$1.97).
- The gross profit margin for LEVEL 3 COMMUNICATIONS INC is rather high; currently it is at 61.25%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of -1.33% is in-line with the industry average.
- The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry and the overall market, LEVEL 3 COMMUNICATIONS INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
- The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 7.46 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Along with the unfavorable debt-to-equity ratio, LVLT maintains a poor quick ratio of 0.88, which illustrates the inability to avoid short-term cash problems.
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: LVLT Ratings Report