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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rise in data, Internet business cuts FairPoint loss

FairPoint Communications cut its net loss in half in the second quarter, to $27.1 million, as data and Internet service sales rose, helping balance out a continued fall in voice telephone business.

According to the report, released Tuesday, FairPoint reports sales totaling $262.6 million for the latest quarter, down from $271.6 million a year ago. But the company cut its operating expenses to $295.9 million from $301.7 million in the second quarter of 2010.

Traditional voice lines decreased to 1.08 million from 1.19 million a year ago, but FairPoint said it had 305,155 high-speed data customers at the end of the quarter, an increase from 289,609 a year ago.

Internet and data services totaled $29.8 million in the latest quarter, up 3.1 percent from $28.9 million a year ago.

Like all phone companies, FairPoint is wrestling with a decline in traditional landlines for voice calls, long the bread and butter of the industry.

It’s expanding its DSL broadband service over telephone lines and has cut prices to increase use of the FAST fiber-optic broadband that exists in Nashua and parts of southern New Hampshire.

Importantly, interest payments were reduced to less than $17 million from $35.6 million a year ago, the result of debt being restructured after FairPoint emerged from bankruptcy this year.

The $27.1 million net loss works out to a loss of $1.06 per diluted share. Because there were more shares a year ago, the $54.2 million loss in the second quarter of 2010 worked out to 61 cents per diluted share.

“Our operating and customer metrics continue to improve. Our regulatory environment is improving. These efforts are now making their way into the financial results,” said chief executive Paul Sunu in a prepared statement.

FairPoint went into bankruptcy because of the debt it took on for its $2.3 billion purchase of Verizon’s land lines in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont in 2008.