Sprint’s Pretty Good Quarter Adds Up to $2 Billion in Further Cost Cuts

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Telecom giant Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) reported second-quarter fiscal 2015 earnings before markets opened Tuesday. The phone company posted a diluted earnings loss of $0.15, compared with a loss a year ago of $0.19. Thomson Reuters had forecast a consensus loss $0.08 per share. Quarterly revenues totaled $7.98 billion, compared with revenues of $8.49 billion in the second quarter of 2014.

The company’s operating loss totaled $2 million and adjusted EBITDA totaled $2 billion, an increase of nearly 45% compared with the second quarter of 2014. Sprint attributed the EBITDA growth to expense reductions due to lower costs related to device leasing options and lower bad debt expense.

Sprint also said it plans to achieve a sustainable $2 billion reduction in operating expenses in fiscal 2016.

Sprint added 553,000 net postpaid (contract) subscribers in the second quarter. Of those, 199,000 migrated from the company’s prepaid roster. Net postpaid phone subscribers totaled 237,000, compared with a loss of 500,000 in the same period a year ago. Excluding those prepaid subscribers who migrated to postpaid plans, Sprint’s prepaid net losses would have totaled 164,000 compared with net additions of 35,000 a year ago.

The company claims a total of 57.87 million connections, up from 53.92 million at the same time last year. Average revenue per user (ARPU) on the Sprint platform fell by about $6.50 per month for postpaid subscribers and rose by about $0.35 per prepaid customer compared with the second quarter of 2014.

CEO Marcelo Claure said:

This quarter marked an inflection point in our turnaround journey, as we achieved positive postpaid phone net additions for the first time in over two years. In addition, we set another record low for postpaid churn and improved sequentially in the September quarter, something no US carrier has ever done before.

Sprint also tried to staunch fears about its liquidity:

Sprint continues to work toward utilizing its assets to help fund the business and fuel future growth. The company has made significant progress working with SoftBank and others to establish a handset leasing company and expects to close in the next few weeks. In combination with the aforementioned plans for significant operating expense reductions, Sprint expects the handset leasing company and other upcoming financing structures to sufficiently meet the company’s cash needs for the foreseeable future.

Sprint’s stock traded down nearly 7.5% in Tuesday’s premarket, at $4.49 in a 52-week range of $3.10 to $5.46. Shares closed at $4.85 on Monday. The consensus price target was $7.28 before Tuesday’s announcement.

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