Business Broadband Helps Boost CenturyLink Profit by Nearly 50%

By Craig Galbraith Comments
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**Editor's Note: Click here for our look back at how some of the biggest names in telecommunications performed financially in Q4 2012.**

Communications giant CenturyLink has reasons to pat itself on the back today.

For starters, the Monroe, La.-based company reported a profit jump of 49 percent, to $298 million (48 cents per share) in the first quarter, up from $200 million (32 cents) in the year-ago quarter. Declines in CenturyLink's legacy business drove revenues down by a little more than 2 percent, to $4.51 billion, but that was only slightly lower than analysts' estimates.

Another quarter of increases in high-speed Internet subscribers gave CenturyLink the boost it needed. The provider added about 67,000 Internet customers, bringing its total to 5.9 million. CenturyLink also signed up more subscribers for its PrismTV service.

"CenturyLink reported strong financial results and achieved solid broadband and Prism TV customer growth in the first quarter, while continuing to see good demand from businesses for high-bandwidth network and data hosting services. Through the ongoing investment in our key strategic initiatives, we are creating and capitalizing on organic growth opportunities across each of our business segments. Our solid sales momentum over the past several quarters continues to contribute toward our goal of top-line revenue stabilization in 2014," said Glen F. Post III, chief executive officer and president.

Post also pointed to the success of CenturyLink's organizational realignment, announced in January, that he says has strengthened the company's "go-to-market strategy and service-delivery process for business customers." CenturyLink's 2011 acquisitions of Qwest and Savvis are also reaping financial benefits, he added.

In the business segment, strategic revenues were $615 million in Q1, a 6.4 percent increase over Q1 2012, driven by high-bandwidth offerings such as MPLS4 and Ethernet services. Total business revenues were $1.5 billion, about the same as a year ago, which was good, the company said, considering the drop in legacy services and data-integration revenues.

The earnings report, delivered after Wall Street's closing bell on Wednesday, helped drive CenturyLink's stock price up about 2 percent. It was up another 2 percent as of 11:16 a.m. ET on Thursday.

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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