Why Sprint Is Getting a Boost After Earnings

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Telecom giant Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) reported first-quarter fiscal 2017 earnings before markets opened Tuesday. The wireless communications company posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.05, compared with a net loss a year ago of $0.08 per share. Quarterly revenues totaled $8.16 billion, compared with revenues of $8.01 billion in the first quarter of 2016. Analysts had expected a loss of a penny a share on $8.11 billion in revenue.

Sprint posted net income for the first time in three years, a total of $206 million. The company’s adjusted EBITDA of $2.9 billion was its highest in nearly 10 years.

Sprint added 88,000 net postpaid (contract) subscribers in the first quarter, compared to net additions totaling 173,000 in the prior year quarter. In the prior quarter Sprint added 43,000 net postpaid subscribers. Prepaid subscribers dropped from 195,000 in the prior quarter to 35,000. In the year-ago quarter Sprint dropped 306,000 prepaid subscribers.

The company’s total net additions for the quarter came to 61,000, far below the 368,000 added in the prior quarter and the 602,000 added in the first quarter of the 2016 fiscal year.

Postpaid subscriber churn rose year over year from 1.56% to 1.65%, but fell from 1.75% in the prior quarter. Average revenue per user on the Sprint platform fell by about $4 per month year over year for postpaid subscribers and rose by more than $5.00 per prepaid customer compared with the first quarter of 2016.

The company claims a total of 53.7 million connections, up from 53.4 million at the same time last year.

CEO Marcelo Claure said:

Sprint reached an important milestone this quarter by returning to profitability for the first time in three years. This represents the progress of a turnaround journey that has delivered improvements in postpaid phone and prepaid customer growth, a return to top-line growth, and a significantly transformed cost structure.

The company increased its fiscal year 2017 adjusted EBITDA guidance from a prior range of $10.7 billion to $11.2 billion to a new range of $10.8 billion to $11.2 billion. Sprint also raised its operating income guidance from a prior range of $2.0 billion to $2.5 billion to a new range of $2.1 billion to $2.5 billion.

Sprint’s stock traded up about 3.9% in Tuesday’s premarket, at $8.31 in a 52-week range of $5.83 to $9.65. Shares closed at $7.98 on Friday. The consensus price target was $7.28 before the earnings announcement.