Verizon Performs as Expected

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Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) reported third-quarter results before markets opened this morning. The telecommunications giant posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.64 on revenues of $29 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.56 on revenues of $27.9 billion. Third-quarter results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $64 and $29 billion in revenues.

The company's CEO said:

Wireless achieved record profitability in a quarter in which we reported the highest number of retail postpaid gross and net adds in four years. ... Based on the strength of our FiOS fiber-optic network, we reported the highest growth in U.S. consumer wireline revenues in 10 years. Additionally, strategic services growth in our Enterprise business helped offset weaker revenues caused by global economic challenges.

The company did not offer any word on guidance either for the coming quarter or the full 2012 fiscal year. The consensus estimates call for fourth-quarter EPS of $0.60 on revenues of $29.62 billion. The full-year estimates call for EPS of $2.47 on revenues of $115.36 billion.

Wireless service revenues grew 7.5% year-over-year to $16.2 billion, with an operating margin of 31.8%. The company added 1.8 million wireless customers at Verizon Wireless, its joint venture with Vodafone PLC (NASDAQ: VOD). Verizon now claims 95.9 million total retail wireless connections, of which 90.4 million are postpaid. Average revenue per account rose to $145.42, up 6.5% compared with the same period a year ago.

Wireline services revenues rose 4.6%, the company's biggest increase in a decade, and average revenue per user rose 10.3% to $103.86. The growth came in Verizon's FiOS Internet and Video groups, where the company now claims 5.3 million Internet customers and 4.6 million Video customers.

Verizon's shares are up about 0.6% in premarket trading at $44.97 in a 52-week range is $35.17 to $48.77. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $44.60 before today's report.

Paul Ausick

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