CenturyLinks Profit Dips as Company Nears Wrap of Qwest Acquisition

CenturyLink Inc. on Tuesday reported that its profit fell slightly in the fourth quarter as the company gets closer to completing its acquisition of Qwest Communications.

The Monroe, La.-based telecommunications provider reported net income of $225.2 million, down from a profit of $230.2 million the fourth quarter of 2009. Excluding nonrecurring items, CenturyLink posted lower operating revenues ($1.72 billion) than the year-ago quarter ($1.84 billion).

The company continues to lose access lines, reflecting a trend that has impacted U.S. telecom providers for the last several years as more Americans ditch traditional telephone service in favor of alternative offerings such as wireless and Internet-based voice services.

CenturyLinks annual operating revenues rose 41.6 percent to $7.04 billion from $4.97 billion in 2009, the same year the company acquired Embarq Corp. in a transaction valued at $11.6 billion.

In its earnings announcement, CenturyLink revealed that it expects to close its acquisition of Qwest Communications on April 1, approximately one year after the companies announced the multibillion-dollar merger.   

But the timing of the acquisition is contingent on regulatory approval in three states as well as Federal Communications Commission approval.  

The combined company will provide services across 37 states. As of Sept. 30, 2010, CenturyLink and Qwest served a combined 15.7 million access lines and 5.3 million broadband customers.

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