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Network-Services Sales Keep Level 3 in the Black

Communications giant and channel stalwart Level 3 continued a fairly nice run of earnings reports in the third quarter.

Total revenue was a little more than $2.06 billion, up from almost $2.04 billion in the year-ago quarter. That almost exactly matched revenue from 2015’s second quarter.

Net income was slightly more than break-even, at $1 million – but excluding a one-time charge associated with deconsolidating operations in Venezuela, profit was $172 million. It was a similar story in the second quarter, when the company lost $13 million, but excluding a large debt payment, turned a $150 million profit.

Revenue from core network services was up 6 percent year over year. Enterprise core network services – many of which are sold by channel partners – were up 8 percent in terms of sales.

“As we approach the one year mark of the tw telecom acquisition, we are pleased with the progress we have made as a combined company to strengthen Level 3’s competitive position,” said Jeff Storey, president and CEO of Level 3. “The continued transition in technology creates an ongoing opportunity for Level 3. We are continuing to invest in the business to position the company for the future.”

The company had already started its upswing in the months before the tw telecom deal was finalized. It was only two years ago that the company’s stock price was taking a beating as it struggled with huge debt payments. Its revenue for all of 2012 was $6.38 billion, a number it’s now achieving in just three quarters’ time.

The company’s stock saw a nice surge on Wednesday after the numbers were released. It closed at $51.89 per share, up more than 9 percent. In the last 30 days, Level 3’s stock price has jumped almost 25 percent.

“We are confident in our full-year financial performance, despite the change in the accounting for our Venezuelan operations and continued currency headwinds,” said Sunit Patel, executive vice president and CFO of Level 3. “We now expect 2015 Adjusted EBITDA growth of 15 to 17 percent, compared to our previous outlook of 14 to 17 percent. We continue to expect to generate $600 to $650 million of free cash flow for the full year 2015.”

Follow senior online managing editor Craig Galbraith on Twitter.


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