Windstream Income Up 39 Percent in 4th Quarter

Continued strong broadband subscriber growth helped Windstream Corp. of Little Rock to a 39 percent gain in fourth-quarter net income.
Windstream said profits rose to $117.7 million or 25 cents a share, compared to $84.5 million or 21 cents a share, in the same quarter a year earlier. Analysts were looking for earnings of 24 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial.
Shares of Windstream (NYSE: WIN) were trading at $14.85 on Thursday after closing at $14.63 on Wednesday.
Windstream was formed last July through the spinoff of Alltel Corp.'s wireline telecommunications business and the merger of that wireline business with Valor Communications Group Inc.
"Windstream delivered a solid performance in our first full quarter as a public company," said Jeff Gardner, president and CEO, in a news release. "For the year, we added a record 206,000 broadband customers, while expanding broadband availability and offering faster speeds. Driving broadband and digital TV sales will continue to be our primary focus in 2007, while aggressively managing operating and capital expenditures in order to better and more efficiently serve our customers."
Other fourth-quarter highlights:
  • Revenue was $827.6 million, an 11 percent increase from $745.4 million a year ago.
  • Operating income was $286 million, a 70 percent increase year-over-year.
  • Average revenue per customer was $79.72, an increase of 6 percent from a year ago.
    Windstream added 53,000 broadband customers during the quarter, bringing its total broadband customer base to more than 656,000 - a 46 percent increase from a year ago.
    Also during the quarter, Windstream agreed to sale its directory publishing business, Windstream Yellow Pages, to affiliates of Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, a private equity investment firm, for $525 million.
    The company declared a regular quarterly dividend of 25 cents payable April 16 to stockholders of record as of March 30.