Seeking Alpha
We cover over 5K calls/quarter
Profile| Send Message|
( followers)  

Alltel Corp. (NYSE:AT)

Q3 2007 Earnings Call

October 22, 2007 8:30 am ET

Executives

John Ebner – IR

Sharilyn Gasaway –CFO

Operator

I would like to welcome everyone to the third quarter earnings release conference call. (Operator Instructions) Mr. Ebner, you may begin your conference.

John Ebner

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to Alltel's 2007 third quarter conference call. My name is John Ebner, and I lead Treasury and Investor Relations for Alltel. Thank you for participating in this discussion of our third quarter results.

Today's conference call was preceded by our third quarter 2007 earnings release. This press release has been distributed on the newswires and is available from our website at www.Alltel.com. Today's conference call should be considered together with our press release and related financial information.

Today's discussion includes statements about expected future events and future financial results that are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are subject to uncertainties that could cause actual future events or results to differ materially from those expressed in such statements.

Other factors that could cause actual results of Alltel to differ materially -- many of which are beyond the control of Alltel -- include, but are not limited to, the items listed in the Safe Harbor statement contained in our third quarter 2007 earnings press release.

Additionally, today's discussion will include certain non-GAAP financial measures. Again, we refer you to the Investor Relations section of our website where we have posted our earnings release and supplemental materials which contain information regarding these non-GAAP financial measures, including a reconciliation of each such measure to the most directly comparable GAAP measure.

Note that a live webcast of this call is available on our website. To access the call, go to the Investor Relations section and click on the “live webcast” link. Today, in light of the pending nature of the private equity transaction, we will not be taking questions after our prepared remarks.

Sharilyn Gasaway, Alltel's Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will cover our operational and financial highlights from the third quarter.

With that, here is Sharilyn.

Sharilyn Gasaway

Thank you, John and good morning, everyone. We're very pleased with the results this quarter. On a GAAP basis, Alltel earned $0.81 of fully diluted earnings per share in the third quarter of 2007, which includes one-time expenses and several other items disclosed in our supplemental materials.

From current businesses, Alltel earned fully diluted earnings per share of $0.80, which represents an increase of 33% over the third quarter of 2006 and is driven by the deleveraging from the wireline spend, the $3 billion share repurchase, and both organic and acquired growth. In the third quarter of 2007, we generated $347 million of equity free cash flow, an increase of 62% year over year on growth in total revenues of 14%.

Wireless growth customer additions were $905,000 for the quarter, up 9% year over year. Postpaid net additions were $213,000 up 182% year over year. Our total net adds for the quarter were 205,000 which included a net loss of 8,000 prepaid customers. Our postpaid churn was 1.31%, and our total churn was 1.9%. This is the seventh consecutive quarter that both metrics improved year over year. For the quarter, Alltel generated $2.1 billion of service revenue, an increase of $276 million or 15% year over year. Retail revenue grew 15% year over year, and was driven by our continued focus on quality customer adds and increases in data and ETC revenues.

For the quarter, average revenue per unit was $55.96, and retail revenue per unit was $49.62. Both metrics were up 4% year over year and up 3% sequentially. Data revenue per customer was $6.36 in the quarter, an increase of 70% year over year and 13% sequentially. Data revenue now represents 13% of retail revenue per unit.

Turning to our wireless wholesale roaming business, revenues in the third quarter increased 15% year over year due to a growth in minutes and data usage. Total cash cost per customer from current businesses were $34.26 in the third quarter, an increase of 2% year over year and up 4% sequentially. The primary contributors to the overall increase were higher selling and marketing expenses and higher USF regulatory fees, offset by continued improvements in bad debt expense, as well as lower roaming expenses derived from lower average per minute costs.

For the quarter, OIBDA of $803 million was up 20% year over year for a 38.8% service margin, a 160 basis point increase from a year ago. Depreciation and amortization from current businesses increased 18% year over year, driven largely by the accelerated depreciation of certain assets as we continue to upgrade our network with EVDO.

Capital expenditures for the quarter totaled $250 million, and our tax rate from current businesses was 38.5%.

As to our pending acquisition by TPG Capital and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners for $71.50 per share in cash, we continue to expect the transaction to close before year end. In preparation for such closing, on Monday of this week, we launched a tender offer for a select series of our existing bonds. We are waiting for Federal Communications Commission approval, and we expect a favorable vote soon.

As John mentioned earlier, this abbreviated call is similar to our second quarter call in that we will not be taking questions. With that, I would like to thank you for joining us this morning. As always, we appreciate your interest and support. If you have any questions, please contact our Investor Relations Department at 501.905.8991. Tim Hicks, our Director of Investor Relations, will be available at that number. Thank you.

Question-and-Answer Session

Copyright policy: All transcripts on this site are the copyright of Seeking Alpha. However, we view them as an important resource for bloggers and journalists, and are excited to contribute to the democratization of financial information on the Internet. (Until now investors have had to pay thousands of dollars in subscription fees for transcripts.) So our reproduction policy is as follows: You may quote up to 400 words of any transcript on the condition that you attribute the transcript to Seeking Alpha and either link to the original transcript or to www.SeekingAlpha.com. All other use is prohibited.

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HERE IS A TEXTUAL REPRESENTATION OF THE APPLICABLE COMPANY'S CONFERENCE CALL, CONFERENCE PRESENTATION OR OTHER AUDIO PRESENTATION, AND WHILE EFFORTS ARE MADE TO PROVIDE AN ACCURATE TRANSCRIPTION, THERE MAY BE MATERIAL ERRORS, OMISSIONS, OR INACCURACIES IN THE REPORTING OF THE SUBSTANCE OF THE AUDIO PRESENTATIONS. IN NO WAY DOES SEEKING ALPHA ASSUME ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY INVESTMENT OR OTHER DECISIONS MADE BASED UPON THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THIS WEB SITE OR IN ANY TRANSCRIPT. USERS ARE ADVISED TO REVIEW THE APPLICABLE COMPANY'S AUDIO PRESENTATION ITSELF AND THE APPLICABLE COMPANY'S SEC FILINGS BEFORE MAKING ANY INVESTMENT OR OTHER DECISIONS.

If you have any additional questions about our online transcripts, please contact us at: transcripts@seekingalpha.com. Thank you!

Source: Alltel Q3 2007 Earnings Call Transcript
This Transcript
All Transcripts