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EarthLink Tops Estimates, Guides Down for First Quarter

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EarthLink

(ELNK)

posted narrower-than-expected fourth-quarter losses, which the company said reflected strong growth in its broadband access segment.

The Atlanta-based Internet service provider recorded a fourth-quarter loss of $52.2 million, or 40 cents a share, excluding acquisition and merger-related costs, compared with a loss of $25.6 million, or 22 cents a share, a year earlier. Eight analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

called for a loss of 51 cents a share.

Revenue for the quarter was $286.8 million, up from $199.1 million last year. Earthlink, which recently struck a deal to offer

high-speed Internet access through

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AOL Time Warner's

(AOL)

cable systems, said its broadband revenue rose 21.4% to $22.9 million from the same period last year. The company said today that it expects to begin providing broadband Internet services over AOL Time Warner's cable systems in the second half of 2001.

Shares of EarthLink recently gained 38 cents, or 4.4%, to $8.91 in

Nasdaq

trading.

For 2001, EarthLink said it expects revenue of $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion, compared with $987.1 million in 2000. Analysts are expecting 2001 revenue of $1.37 billion. The company also expects a loss, before costs, of $110 million to $135 million, or a loss of 85 cents to $1.05 a share. Analysts on average expect a full-year loss of 88 cents a share.

EarthLink also projected a loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, of $35 million to $60 million for 2001.

For the first quarter of 2001, the company expects to post a loss of 37 cents to 41 cents a share, compared with a loss of 43 cents a share a year ago. The consensus estimate is a loss of 35 cents a share.