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February 19, 2004 Thursday 9:30 AM
Washington (CBS.MW) — Qwest Communications on Thursday posted a loss in the fourth quarter as the company lost more phone lines and saw a 5.6 percent drop in revenue.
The Denver-based phone local and long-distance phone company reported a loss of $307 million, or 17 cents a share, compared with a net profit of $2.74 billion, or $1.61, a year ago. The 2002 quarter included a onetime gain of $1.7 billion.
Revenue fell 5.6 percent to $3.49 billion, a slightly bigger decline than Wall Street expected. The company was projected to achieve $3.57 billion in revenue.
The company did not provide a per-share result from operations.
On that basis, Qwest was expected to lose 8 cents a share, according to the consensus of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.
Like other phone companies, Qwest is facing sluggish demand and stiff competition across all major business lines
During the quarter, Qwest once again lost customers in its wireless and consumer local phone segments. Total access lines in service dropped 4.7 percent to 16.21 million from 17.01 million a year earlier.
Local voice revenue sank 11.2 percent to $1.67 billion, and wireless sales fell 4.9 percent to $137 million.
On the upside, Qwest posted a 36 percent increase in long-distance customers to bring its total to 2.3 million, while it gained 60,000 high-speed Internet accounts for a yearend mark of 637,000 DSL subscribers.
On Wednesday, shares of Qwest (Q) dropped 25 cents to close at $4.51.
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