Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) Reports 16 Percent Rise In Q3 Profit

Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) Reports 16 Percent Rise In Q3 Profit
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Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) today reported a 3rd consecutive quarter of double-digit percentage growth in year-over-year earnings, as Verizon Wireless generated a second consecutive quarter of record-high margins and Verizon’s Wireline segment posted accelerated growth in consumer revenues.

Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) Reports 16 Percent Rise In Q3 Profit

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) reported 56 cents in EPS in third-quarter 2012, an increase of 14.3 percent compared with third-quarter 2011 earnings of 49 cents per share.

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Adjusted third-quarter 2012 earnings (non-GAAP) of 64 cents per share exclude 8 cents per share for charges related to patent litigation settlements.  Comparable adjusted third-quarter 2011 earnings of 56 cents per share excluded 7 cents per share for a non-operational charge related to an actuarial valuation of pension plans.

However, Wells Fargo analysts’ third quarter estimates for consolidated revenue and EPS were $29.04B and $0.64 vs. Street of $29.00B and $0.64, respectively.

Excluding exceptional items, Verizon’s earnings of 64 cents per share, is in line with analysts’ expectations.

Analysts Estimates on Wireless and Wireline

Wireless: Analysts from Wells Fargo equity research expected Verizon to lead the wireless industry on almost every metric in Q3. They estimated wireless revenue and EBITDA margin of $19.05B and 48.5%. Their 1.2MM postpay net adds estimate for Q3 (vs. Street at ~ 900K) was driven by the wide acceptance of the new shared data plans (in late June) and the popularity of the iPhone 5 (on 9/21). Analysts’ postpay churn estimate was 0.95% and they expected ARPU of $56.98.

Analysts from Wells Fargo recalled that this quarter will be significant in that it will be introducing the ARPA (avg. revenue per account) metric as a focus for investors. VZ disclosed proformas for this metric for the last 10 quarters. They continued to model this metric on a going forward basis and expected the annual growth rate to be in the high single digits.

Wireline: Analysts’  Q3 revenue and EBITDA margin estimates were $9.95B and 22.3%, respectively. Their global enterprise revenue remains flat on a sequential basis at $3.8B (down 2.3% y/y), with wholesale revenue down 9% y/y. Analysts  estimated a 425K net access line loss in Q3. Analysts from the research firm were hopeful that Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) will quantify the cost savings related to its recent labor contract. They believed this settlement should translate into significant cost savings on the wireline side of VZ’s business.

On Wednesday afternoon, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) announced an agreement to settle $7.5B of its $30B pension obligation by purchasing an annuity contract from Prudential. The transfer covers the pensions of 41,000 current management retirees (excluding those retiring after 1/1/10) who will receive the same benefits as before, with checks coming from Prudential instead of Verizon. The agreement does not affect existing management employees or any current/retired union employees. The agreement is expected to close in December 2012.

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