beat analysts' profit estimate with its fourth-quarter results Tuesday, although strong performance in its data, Internet and video businesses was offset by weakness in voice and wireless.
The Denver phone and
provider said it had a third-quarter profit of $185 million, or 11 cents a share, down 49% from $366 million and 20 cents a year ago, but just above analysts' estimate of 10 cents.
Qwest partly attributed the year-over-year decline to a fourth-quarter severance charge of $19 million and said that its earnings were impacted by higher pre-tax income compared to the year-ago quarter. The firm's income before taxes increased 17% year over year, it said.
The company, which cut 1,700 jobs, or 11% of its workforce, during the fourth quarter, is doing all the right things to cope with a tough economy, according to Edward A. Mueller, Qwest's chairman and CEO.
"Our improved profitability in the fourth quarter reflects an intense focus by the entire team," he said, in a statement released Wednesday. "Under challenging market conditions, we delivered strong performance across each of our business units."
The firm's Business Markets division grew its revenue 4.4% year over year to $1.1 billion, although its Mass Markets business declined 7% to $1.4 billion. Wholesale Markets sales were also down 7% year-over-year to $789 million.
Qwest's fourth-quarter revenue slipped 3% from a year earlier to $3.3 billion, although this was in line with analysts' estimate of $3.31 billion.
In the fourth quarter, Qwest's revenues from its data, Internet and video businesses grew 8% year over year, although this was offset by a decline of 9% in voice revenue and a 33% slump in wireless revenue.
Last year, Qwest supplanted
as its wireless-services vendor and switched to Verizon Wireless, the joint venture between
For the full year, Qwest posted revenue of$13.5 billion, down 2% from $13.8 billion in the prior year and just above analysts' estimate of $13.47 billion.
Qwest, which posted a 93% year-over-year drop in its third-quarter
thanks to a tax valuation allowance, had offered a
for its fourth quarter.
For fiscal 2009, Qwest said that it is maintaining a cautious view on guidance.
The company expects adjusted cash flow of between $1.4 billion and $1.5 billion and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of between $4.2 billion and $4.4 billion.
"Capital investment is forecasted to be about $1.8 billion and will be closely aligned with business conditions," Qwest said.