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Level 3


said its first quarter is going better than expected due to strength in its communications segment.

The telecommunications company expects to generate adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization of $140 million to $150 million in the current period, up from its old estimate of $105 million to $125 million.

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For the current year, Level 3 sees adjusted OIBDA of $600 million to $650 million, up from its old view of $550 million to $600 million. It also raised its forecast of its net cash interest expense to $520 million from $505 million.

"The improvements to our OIBDA projections are a result of better-than-expected performance in our communications business," Level 3 said. "Our higher margin core communications services results are stronger than anticipated. Additionally, the progress we've made integrating WilTel Communications has also led to our improved forecast."

The stock rose 18 cents, or 4%, to $4.65 early Tuesday.