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SBC profit buoyed by long-distance, high-speed gains

Thu, 10/21/2004 - 8:00pm
Jeffry Bartash

Copyright 2004 MarketWatch.com Inc., All Rights Reserved

CBS MarketWatch

October 21, 2004 Thursday 4:34 AM

Washington (CBS.MW) — SBC Communications on Thursday said third-quarter profit edged higher as the company added more long-distance and high-speed Internet subscribers.

The company earned $2.1 billion, or 63 cents a share, up from $1.22 billion, or 37 cents, a year ago. Income was bolstered by a onetime gain from the sale of some directory-assistance assets.

Revenue rose 1.4 percent to $10.3 billion from $10.15 billion. It was the second straight quarterly increase.

Excluding one-time items, SBC reported a narrower profit of $1.24 billion, or 38 cents a share, up from $1.19 billion, or 36 cents. That matched the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Those numbers don't include results from Cingular, the company's wireless joint venture with BellSouth.

On Wednesday, Cingular said it added a net 657,000 subscribers to bring its total to 25.7 million. Sales rose 4.9 percent to $4.3 billion.

SBC also added 402,000 high-speed DSL customers in the third quarter. Another bright spot: the loss of fewer retail phone lines to rivals or alternative technologies.

SBC lost 259,000 access lines, down from 558,000 in the previous quarter. Favorable regulatory rulings could help the company further slow the steady erosion in retail lines.

SBC stock (SBC), a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, fell 78 cents to $25.68 in Thursday trading.

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