Shenandoah Telecommunications' CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Shenandoah Telecommunications Company (SHEN)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

March 2, 2012 10:00 AM ET


Adele Skolits – CFO; VP, Finance; and Treasurer

Christopher French – President and CEO

Earle MacKenzie – EVP and COO


Ric Prentiss – Raymond James

Barry Sine – Drexel Hamilton

Greg Burns – Sidoti & Company



Good morning everyone, and welcome to the Shenandoah Telecommunications’ Fourth Quarter of 2011 Earnings Conference Call. Today’s conference is being recorded. At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Ms. Adele Skolits, CFO. Please go ahead, ma’am.

Adele Skolits

Good morning and thank you for joining us. The purpose of today’s call is to review Shentel’s results for the quarter ended December 31, 2011. Our results were announced in a press release distributed last night and the presentation we’ll be reviewing is included on our website at Please note that a replay of the call will be made available later today. The details were set forth in the press release announcing this call.

With us on the call today are Christopher French, our President and Chief Executive Officer; and Earle MacKenzie, our Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. After our prepared remarks, we’ll conduct a question-and-answer session.

I’ll begin with slide two of the presentation. While we don’t provide guidance with respect to specific future financial results, we caution that this call may contain forward-looking statements, which involve a number of known and unknown risks and uncertainties. These may cause our actual results to differ materially from these statements.

Shentel provides a detailed discussion of various risk factors in our SEC filings, which you’re strongly encouraged to review. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement.

Also, in an effort to provide useful information to investors, we note on slide three that our comments today include non-GAAP financial measures. Details on these measures, including why we use them and reconciliations to the most comparable GAAP measures are included in our SEC filings.

I’ll turn the call over to Chris now.

Christopher French

Thank you, Adele. We appreciate everyone joining us this morning. In recent years, we’ve been focused on two strategic initiatives, enhancing and expanding our wireless services and diversifying our business by significantly expanding the size of our cable segment. Our diversification efforts do not provide immediate financial returns, but we are reaching significant milestones denoting our progress on these strategic objectives.

On slide five, we list some of the highlights in these areas. As of the end of the year, we had nearly 356,000 wireless customers and over a 137,000 cable revenue generating units. In our wireless segment, we have more than a 107,000 Boost and Virgin Mobile customers as of December 31, 2011. We again had positive net additions in postpaid subscribers, something we’ve accomplished in every quarter since first becoming a Sprint Nextel affiliate in 1999.

Cable RGUs are at 7% higher than year-end 2010, an increase of almost 9,000. We have now upgraded 51% of the JetBroadband cable markets acquired in July 2010. Revenue for 2011 reached a quarter of a billion dollars. In the fourth quarter of 2011, revenues were 15% higher than they were in the fourth quarter of 2010 and 6% higher than third quarter 2011.

In December, the Board of Directors declared a cash dividend of $0.33 per share. This is the same amount as previous year but a much higher payout as a percent of earnings. This dividend represents the 52nd consecutive year of annual dividends which began when Shenandoah Telephone Company paid its first dividend in 1960.

Wireless segment highlights are shown on slide six. Prepaid customers grew by 40,144 in 2011 to just over 107,000. Postpaid customers are up by 13,811 or nearly 6% from a year ago. Continued postpaid growth was helped by churn of just 1.8% for 2011 relative to 1.9% for 2010. Annual operating income in the wireless segment is up by 13% over 2010.

Highlights of the accomplishment in our cable segment are shown on slide seven. As of December 31, 2011 we had upgraded 51% of the Jet markets acquired in 2010 and the remainder of our systems will be completed this year. The RGUs in our cable segment grew by 7% to 137,238 as of year-end. Upon completion of the upgrades, we intent to relaunch our Shentel brand and improve customer awareness to take advantage of our enhanced competitive position. Earle will go into greater detail about our operational results at the end of this presentation.

Financial results on a consolidated basis are shown on slide eight. The initial acquisition of the prepaid customers and the cable systems in 2010 along with ongoing upgrades in our cable networks resulted in a $9.1 million of increased depreciation and amortization costs in 2011. Since these acquisitions, the cost of adding customers put further strain on operating results in 2011.

As a result, we are reporting a net income of $13 million for 2011 compared to $18.1 million for 2010. After adding back the loss from our discontinued converged services operation, net income from continuing operations was $13.5 million for 2011, as compared to $18.8 million in the prior year. You will recall that 2010 results included a $4 million pre-tax gain on the sale of our telephone directory.

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