Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is among America’s most rock-solid companies financially. It has a gold-plated balance sheet. Its three major businesses — landline telecom, wireless and fiber to the home — are huge.
What bothers Wall Street is the number of other very large competitors, which both puts pressure on its margins and challenges its ability to add new customers. Verizon’s shares are down 8.5% to $48.86 this year. That is bad news for investors, unless their primary interest is yield. Verizon’s dividend payment currently represents a 4.72% yield. That is among the highest of any large company in America.
Verizon is the 24th leading American publicly traded company, based on its market cap of $200 billion. But its revenue is flat. In the most recent quarter, revenue barely moved from the same quarter a year ago. It stuck at $30.5 billion. Net income soared to $4.5 billion, compared to $831 million in the same 2016 period.
Among the concerns about Verizon is that it is not adding wireless subscribers at a rapid rate, and its fiber to the home initiative has stopped growing quickly. In its most recent earnings release, management disclosed:
Building on momentum since the launch of Verizon Unlimited in mid-February, Verizon reported a net increase of 614,000 retail postpaid connections in second-quarter 2017. Net phone additions of 358,000 included 590,000 smartphones in the quarter, compared with 86,000 net phone additions, including 336,000 smartphones, in second-quarter 2016.
Verizon’s retail postpaid connections base grew 1.2 percent year over year to 109.1 million, and retail prepaid connections grew 1.4 percent to 5.4 million.
Total Fios revenues grew 4.4 percent, to $2.9 billion, comparing second-quarter 2017 with second-quarter 2016. There’s a growing shift in wireline revenues attributed to fiber-based products. Organic revenues from fiber-based products grew more than 3 percent.
In second-quarter 2017, Verizon added a net of 49,000 Fios Internet connections and lost a net of 15,000 Fios Video connections. At the end of the quarter, Verizon had 5.7 million Fios Internet connections and 4.7 million Fios Video connections, year-over-year increases of 4.4 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.
The conclusion of many investors is that Verizon is barely a slow growth company, and it cannot change that soon. On the other hand, its yield is close to amazing.