The New York telephone titan says the recent spinoff of its directory business and the sale of three Caribbean units has helped lower debt and raise cash. The company plans to use part of the proceeds to bump up its stock-repurchasing plan to $1.7 billion from $1.5 billion.
Verizon was able to saddle
, the carved out directory business, with $7 billion in debt. Verizon was able to retain $2 billion in cash in the process.
Verizon expects the separation of the yellow pages unit to hit 2006 earnings to the tune of 33 cents a share.
The company also says its sale of its phone businesses in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela totaled $3 billion in proceeds and should add about 22 cents a share to 2006 earnings.
Verizon shares were down 2 cents to $34.56 in early trading Wednesday.