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CONTEL CELLULAR REPORTS FOURTH QUARTER AND FULL YEAR RESULTS FOR 1992

 ATLANTA, Feb. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Contel Cellular, Inc. (NASDAQ: CCXLA) today reported net income of $9.9 million or 10 cents per share for the fourth 1992 quarter, as compared with a net loss of $23.6 million or 24 cents per share for the fourth 1991 quarter.
 Net loss for the year ended Dec. 31, 1992, was $75.1 million or 75 cents per share compared with a 1991 net loss of $118.9 million or $1.19 per share. Net income was favorably impacted by the previously announced sale of certain non-strategic cellular properties, which increased 1992 fourth quarter and total year results by approximately 40 cents per share. 1991 fourth quarter and full year results were also favorably impacted by sales of other non-strategic cellular properties of approximately 7 cents and 12 cents per share, respectively.
 Fourth quarter revenues increased 20 percent to $79.7 million, compared with $66.4 million reported in fourth quarter 1991. Revenues for the year ended Dec. 31, 1992, increased 22 percent to $287.0 million, compared with $235.1 million for the corresponding 1991 period. Year end 1992, subscribers totaled 327,645, an increase of 39 percent from 1991. Fourth quarter operating cash flow (operating income before depreciation and amortization) was $9.2 million, as compared to $5.4 million for the corresponding 1991 period.
 Contel Cellular President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Whipple said, "Fourth quarter net subscriber gains substantially exceeded the corresponding 1991 gains and pushed our total year growth rate to 39 percent, even after adjusting for subscribers in properties sold." He added, "It is significant, that the fourth quarter subscriber gains were achieved at our lowest acquisition cost per gross add ever, which reflects the benefits achieved by our efforts to reduce acquisition costs through new programs and more targeted, diversified distribution channels."
 FOURTH QUARTER RESULTS REVIEWED
 Fourth quarter net income of $9.9 million was favorably impacted by an after-tax gain of $39.8 million, as a result of the previously announced sale of certain non-strategic cellular properties in Arkansas and Oklahoma.
 Service revenues for the quarter, which exclude equipment sales, increased 23 percent to $71.1 million, as compared to $57.6 million reported in the corresponding 1991 period. The increase in service revenue is attributed to an over 40 percent increase in average fourth quarter subscribers, partially offset by lower usage per subscriber. Average monthly service revenue per subscriber declined to $75, compared with $88 for the same period in 1991. The 1992 decline in usage per subscriber is a result of the overall impact of the poor economic environment throughout many of the company's markets and increased number of casual users. Average monthly churn was 2.4 percent, as compared with 2.7 percent for the corresponding period in 1991.
 Operating loss for the fourth quarter of $19.6 million was an increase from the $15.7 million loss reported in the corresponding 1991 period. The higher 1992 loss was attributed to an increase in marketing and customer acquisition costs, associated with a 40 percent increase in new subscribers, an increase in depreciation due to higher plant balances, and general and administrative expenses associated with expanded operations in RSAs and ongoing billing and customer support services for the larger subscriber base.
 FULL YEAR RESULTS REVIEWED
 Net loss for the year ended Dec. 31, 1992, was $75.1 million, or $43.8 million less than the net loss reported for 1991. The after-tax gain on sale of certain non-strategic cellular properties was $39.8 million and $12.1 million, in 1992 and 1991, respectively. Net interest expense decreased $9.0 million in 1992 primarily due to lower interest rates, while equity in earnings of unconsolidated partnerships increased $13.3 million due to improved performance in all limited partnerships. The company adopted FAS 106, "Postretirement Benefits Other than Pensions" effective Jan. 1, 1992, which resulted in a cumulative, non- cash, after-tax charge of $2.1 million, and an increase in current year after-tax expense of $.7 million.
 Service revenues for the year were $262.5 million, an increase of 25 percent as compared to the $209.8 million reported for 1991. The increase in service revenues is directly attributed to the increase in average subscribers, and is partially offset by the decline in usage per subscriber. Average monthly service revenue per subscriber declined to $78 for 1992, compared with $92 for 1991.
 Operating loss for 1992 was $50.1 million, as compared to $68.6 million loss reported for 1991. Results for 1992 were impacted by increased operating and property taxes, increased roamer administration expense, greater emphasis on RSA and MSA market operations and overall support of the increased subscriber base. Results for 1991 included an $11.7 million one-time charge for merger costs. Operating cash flow was $45.5 million for 1992, as compared to $31.5 million, before one-time merger costs, reported in 1991.
 Contel Cellular provides mobile and portable-telephone services in 34 metropolitan markets in the United States. The company is a limited partner in 29 additional metropolitan markets and has ownership interest in 81 rural service areas. Based on total-market population or POPs, Contel Cellular is the sixth-largest cellular company in the United States, with interests in cellular systems representing 24.2 million POPs.
 Contel Cellular is a publicly traded company, of which 90 percent of the outstanding shares are indirectly owned by GTE Corp. (NYSE: GTE).
 GTE is the largest U.S.-based local telephone company and the second-largest cellular-service provider in the United States. With $20 billion in revenues in 1992, the corporation is the fourth-largest publicly owned telecommunications company in the world.
 CONTEL CELLULAR INC.
 Consolidated Statements of Operations
 (Thousands, except per-share data)
 Unaudited
 3 mos. ended 12/31/92 12/31/91 Change
 Revenues and sales:
 Service revenues $ 71,135 $ 57,624 $ 13,511
 Equipment sales 8,572 8,807 (235)
 Total 79,707 66,431 13,276
 Costs and expenses:
 Cost of services 9,909 11,252 (1,343)
 Cost of equipment sales 13,757 15,416 (1,659)
 Selling, general & admin. 46,864 34,371 12,493
 Depreciation 18,437 10,731 7,706
 Amortization of intangibles 10,312 10,373 (61)
 Merger integration costs --- --- ---
 Total 99,279 82,143 17,136
 Operating loss (19,572) (15,712) (3,860)
 Interest expense, net 39,955 37,034 2,921
 Other expense, net 516 328 188
 Loss before minority interests (60,043) (53,074) (6,969)
 Minority interests 1,483 799 684
 Loss from consolidated operations (58,560) (52,275) (6,285)
 Equity in earnings of unconsolidated
 partnerships 10,937 3,691 7,246
 Gains on sales of partnership
 interests 60,806 10,561 50,245
 Income (loss) before income taxes 13,183 (38,023) 51,206
 Provision for (benefit from)
 income taxes 3,290 (14,426) 17,716
 Net income (loss) before cumulative
 effect of change in acctg. princ. 9,893 (23,597) 33,490
 Cumulative effect of change in
 accounting principles --- --- ---
 Net income (loss) $ 9,893 $(23,597) $33,490
 Net income (loss) per share before
 cumulative effect of change in
 accounting principles $ 0.10 $ (0.24) $ 0.34
 Net income (loss) per share $ 0.10 $ (0.24) $ 0.34
 Average shares outstanding 99,948 99,942 6
 12 mos. ended 12/31/92 12/31/91 Change
 Revenues and sales:
 Service revenues $262,479 $ 209,794 $ 52,685
 Equipment sales 24,520 25,313 (793)
 Total 286,999 235,107 51,892
 Costs and expenses:
 Cost of services 35,972 37,191 (1,219)
 Cost of equipment sales 37,678 37,669 9
 Selling, general & admin. 167,807 128,728 39,079
 Depreciation 54,401 42,060 12,341
 Amortization of intangibles 41,254 46,368 (5,114)
 Merger integration costs --- 11,668 (11,668)
 Total 337,112 303,684 33,428
 Operating loss (50,113) (68,577) 18,464
 Interest expense, net 148,092 157,119 (9,027)
 Other expense, net 516 328 188
 Loss before minority interests (198,721) (226,024) 27,303
 Minority interests 2,374 2,298 76
 Loss from consolidated operations (196,347) (223,726) 27,379
 Equity in earnings of unconsolidated
 partnerships 29,027 15,687 13,340
 Gains on sales of partnership
 interests 60,806 18,387 42,419
 Income (loss) before income taxes (106,514) (189,652) (83,138)
 Provision for (benefit from)
 income taxes (33,453) (70,752) (37,299)
 Net income (loss) before cumulative
 effect of change in acctg. princ. (73,061) (118,900) (45,839)
 Cumulative effect of change in
 accounting principles 2,080 --- 2,080
 Net income (loss) $(75,141) $(118,900) $(43,759)
 Net income (loss) per share before
 cumulative effect of change in
 accounting principles $ (0.73) $ (1.19) $ 0.46
 Net income (loss) per share $ (0.75) $ (1.19) $ 0.44
 Average shares outstanding 99,947 99,942 5
 -0- 2/12/93
 /CONTACT: Ted Carrier, 404-804-3549, or Jeff Keller, 404-391-8358, both of Contel Cellular/
 (CCXLA GTE)


CO: Contel Cellular Inc.; GTE Corporation ST: Georgia IN: TLS SU: ERN

RA-BN -- AT005 -- 6230 02/12/93 15:03 EST
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Date:Feb 12, 1993
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