Level 3 Stock Takes a Beating on Earnings News

By Craig Galbraith Comments
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**Editor's Note: Click here  for a look back to see how some of the biggest names in communications fared in Q3 2012.**

In its quarterly earnings statement released Tuesday, Level 3 Communications reported revenue of $1.61 billion in Q4 2012, up from $1.59 billion in the third quarter and $1.58 billion in the fourth quarter a year ago.

For all of 2012, Level 3's revenue was nearly $6.38 billion, up from approximately $6.32 billion in 2011.

Also good news for the Colorado-based, multinational communications company and ISP — losses shrank from $163 million in Q4 2011 to just $56 million last quarter.

Not good news, however, was that the numbers missed some Wall Street analysts' expectations. The company's stock took a beating Tuesday morning, down more than 10 percent as of 11:41 a.m. ET.

"Level 3 continued to grow revenue in the fourth quarter, and we see the opportunity to improve revenue growth in 2013," said James Crowe, company CEO. "We made good progress with integration throughout 2012, invested in the business for future growth, and firmed up our balance sheet with over $4.5 billion of capital markets transactions last year, positioning us well for 2013."

Core Network Services revenue saw modest growth, up 1.8 percent from the previous quarter – to a little more than $1.42 billion – and up 4.7 percent year over year.

As of Dec. 31, 2012, the company had cash of approximately $979 million.

Investors continue to keep an eye on Level 3's integration of Global Crossing, which the company says is progressing well.

"In 2012, we took a deliberate and careful approach in bringing Global Crossing and Level 3 together to ensure we maintained the excellent customer service capabilities we've worked hard to build over the last several years," said Jeff Storey, president and COO of Level 3. "We completed several milestones in support of a unified customer experience in 2012, and our customer satisfaction scores improved over the course of last year. With the progress we made throughout the year and the additional milestones we reached in the fourth quarter, we felt comfortable taking additional cost reduction actions in the fourth quarter, reducing our workforce by approximately 4 percent and beginning the process to exit office locations. At the same time, we made investments for growth by increasing our sales force, putting additional customer buildings on-net throughout our global footprint, and launching additional capabilities to our managed services, managed security and professional services product offerings."

Level 3 says it remains focused on revenue growth in all regions in 2013, and plans to continue finding ways to save money.

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