Updated to provide further detail from the company's third-quarter earnings report.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (
) -- Shares of
, a local telephone company and high-speed Internet provider, slipped 2% Monday during a session that saw the broader equities markets otherwise surge, after the company posted results that appeared to disappoint.
The company reported net income of $80 million, or 18 cents a share, but this included a series of charges -- from pension expenses, severance payouts, the amortization of wire-line franchise rights, and integration costs from an acquisition -- that amounted to 6 cents a share.
3 Stocks I Saw on TV
var config = new Array(); config<BRACKET>"videoId"</BRACKET> = 49396993001; config<BRACKET>"playerTag"</BRACKET> = "TSCM Embedded Video Player"; config<BRACKET>"autoStart"</BRACKET> = false; config<BRACKET>"preloadBackColor"</BRACKET> = "#FFFFFF"; config<BRACKET>"useOverlayMenu"</BRACKET> = "false"; config<BRACKET>"width"</BRACKET> = 265; config<BRACKET>"height"</BRACKET> = 255; config<BRACKET>"playerId"</BRACKET> = 1243645856; createExperience(config, 8);
According to Windstream spokesman Rob Clancy, however, the investment community ought to have baked into their estimates the $15 million in pension expenses and the $5 million in amortization. On an EPS basis, then, the company's profit, for the purposes of comparing to Wall Street projections, would come to just below 20 cents.
A poll of analysts by Thompson Reuters pegged Windstream's EPS at 21 cents.
Revenue also fell shy of the Wall Street consensus target. Windstream's third-quarter top line came to $734 million, while analysts were expecting $747 million.
In afternoon trading Monday, the company's shares declined 27 cents, or 2.6%, to $10.01, on volume of 6.5 million shares. Average daily turnover in the name is about 4.7 million shares.
Windstream results declined from a year ago, as well. Operating income before depreciation and amortization was $360 million, down 10% from the same period of 2008. Revenue, meanwhile, fell 8%.
But, said Windstream's Clancy, to make the year-over-year comparison "apples-to-apples," the pension and severance costs should be stripped out. If so, the company's OIBDA was $391 million, down 2.5% from a year ago.
The company also said it was able to sign up 26,000 new high-speed Internet customers during the quarter. It now has about 1.05 million customers, up 9% from a year ago.
Further, Windstream, which provides its phone services in 16 states, was apparently able to staunch somewhat the flight of customers from traditional land lines to cell-phone-only use, a trend that has plagued phone companies industrywide.
It said it lost about 27,000 of those access-line customers during the third period, its lowest quarterly attrition since Windstream was formed in 2006 by combining the local phone division of Alltel (since acquired by
) with Valor Telecom.
In a research note, an analyst with Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (a firm that also serves as an investment-banking adviser to Windstream) attributed the weaker-than-expected results to promotional deals doled out by Windstream to keep customers as well as attract new ones. Still, the analyst wrote that Windstream looks to be the "strongest fundamental story" in the local-phone sector.
-- Written by Scott Eden in New York
Follow TheStreet.com on
and become a fan on
Scott Eden has covered business -- both large and small -- for more than a decade. Prior to joining TheStreet.com, he worked as a features reporter for Dealmaker and Trader Monthly magazines. Before that, he wrote for the Chicago Reader, that city's weekly paper. Early in his career, he was a staff reporter at the Dow Jones News Service. His reporting has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Men's Journal, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, and the Believer magazine, among other publications. He's also the author of Touchdown Jesus (Simon & Schuster, 2005), a nonfiction book about Notre Dame football fans and the business and politics of big-time college sports. He has degrees from Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis.