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Level 3 Loss Widens

But at 29 cents a share, it's narrower than expected.
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Level 3's


third-quarter loss widened from a year ago, reflecting lower sales in its communications segment.

The network company lost $204 million, or 29 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $171 million, or 25 cents a share, last year. Revenue fell 5% from a year ago to $799 million, reflecting a 14% decline in communications revenue to $364 million and a 6% rise in information services revenue to $415 million.

Analysts were forecasting a loss of 31 cents a share on total revenue of $778.6 million in the latest quarter.

Sequentially, the loss widened 8% and revenue slipped 12%.

Level 3 said its adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization was $95 million in the just completed quarter, the high end of its previous projection. The company turned in OIBDA of $115 million in the second quarter.

For the fourth quarter, the company expects to report communications revenue of $340 million to $360 million and adjusted OIBDA of $85 million to $105 million. The revenue forecast reflects expectations for a decrease in DSL aggregation, managed modem and low-speed IP managed services, partially offset by growth in transport, IP and VoiP services.

"Given improvements in both market demand and pricing that we believe are becoming apparent, we have increased funding for capital expenditures by approximately $45 million vs. beginning-of-the-year projections," the company said. "The resulting network upgrades are expected to lead to substantial improvements in unit capital cost and operating efficiencies. Additionally, we are increasing capacity on our network to support expected growth from signed contracts and anticipated contracts."