Verizon Earnings Fail to Impress Investors

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When Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) reported its third-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Thursday, the company said that it had $1.01 in earnings per share (EPS) and a $30.94 billion in revenue. The consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters had called for $0.99 in EPS on revenue of $31.09 billion. In the same period of last year, the company posted EPS of $1.04 and $33.16 billion in revenue.

On the mergers and acquisitions front, Verizon announced an agreement to acquire Yahoo and closed on the acquisition of Telogis in July. In August, Verizon announced an agreement to acquire Fleetmatics, a global provider of fleet and mobile workforce management solutions, in a transaction expected to close in fourth-quarter 2016. In September, Verizon announced the acquisition of Sensity Systems, adding to Verizon’s suite of smart city solutions when the transaction closed in October.

In terms of guidance for the 2016 full year, Verizon expects EPS to be at a comparable level to 2015, as well as the adjusted EBITDA margin. Also organic growth in consolidated revenues for full-year 2017 should be consistent with GDP growth for that year, with adjusted EPS growth at normal levels. Consensus estimates call for $3.89 in EPS on $126.26 billion in revenue for the full year.

Verizon reported 442,000 retail postpaid net additions in third-quarter 2016. These net adds exclude wholesale device and wholesale Internet of Things connections. At the end of third-quarter 2016, Verizon had 113.7 million retail connections, a 2.6% year-over-year increase. Verizon’s industry-leading retail postpaid connections base grew 3% to 108.2 million, and retail prepaid connections totaled 5.5 million.

Total wireline revenue decreased 2.3%, to $7.8 billion, comparing third-quarter 2016 with third-quarter 2015. Retail consumer revenues grew 0.2%, to $3.2 billion, supported by consumer Fios revenue growth of 4.2%.

Lowell McAdam, board chair and chief executive of Verizon, commented:

Verizon continues to deliver strong financial and operational results in highly competitive markets while positioning itself for future growth. While we transform our company in a challenging environment, we have maintained the financial flexibility to invest in our industry-leading networks to better serve customers, add scale to bring innovation to the mobile media and Internet of Things (IoT) markets, and increase dividends for a 10th consecutive year.

Cash flows from operations totaled $4.8 billion in this quarter. On the books, Verizon’s cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled $6.44 billion at the end of the quarter, up from $4.82 billion at the end of 2015.

Shares of Verizon closed Wednesday at $50.38, with a consensus analyst price target of $45.63 and a 52-week trading range of $43.79 to $56.95. Following the release of the earnings report, the stock was down close to 3% at $48.95 in early trading indications Thursday.