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Business, broadband revenue up for Windstream

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was published February 19, 2013 at 6:34 a.m.

— Windstream says growth in total business and consumer broadband revenue helped it make a profit in the fourth quarter.

The Little Rock-based telecommunications company said net income was $10 million in the fourth quarter, rebounding from a $35 million loss in the same period a year earlier. The company had total revenue and sales of $1.54 billion in the quarter, up more than 27 percent from 1.21 billion a year earlier.

Operating income, meanwhile, jumped from $96 million in 2011 to $172 million in 2012, a 79 percent increase.

Under "pro forma" results, total revenue and sales were down 2 percent in the fourth quarter and 1 percent for the year. The company said pro forma results include its acquisition of PAETEC Holding Corp. and "exclude all merger and integration costs related to strategic transactions."

The company said total business and consumer broadband revenue grew in the quarter such that they now represent 70 percent of total revenue.

“Windstream continues to produce substantial free cash flow that enables us to invest in our business and reduce our debt while continuing to pay our $1 annual dividend,” Jeff Gardner, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Our management team and the board of directors unanimously support continuing the dividend at its current rate because we believe it is the best way to create value for our shareholders.

Windstream's goals for 2013 include "investing in the business channel to increase revenue and profitability, completing the fiber-to-the-tower and broadband stimulus initiatives and further deleveraging the balance sheet" to support the dividend.

“We plan to make targeted investments in the business channel this year to drive sales, profitability and improve the customer experience,” Gardner said in the statement. “We expect to substantially complete our capital investments related to our fiber-to-the-tower projects and broadband stimulus initiatives. We also expect to further improve our balance sheet by directing excess free cash flow — after our dividend — to debt repayment.”

A conference call is set for 7:30 a.m. Interested parties may listen by dialing (877) 374-3977 about 10 minutes before the start time and entering the conference ID 86395871.

A replay of the call will be available from 10:30 a.m. Tuesday until midnight March 5.

The replay can be accessed by dialing (855) 859-2056 and using the ID number 86395871.

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