Level 3's loss widens in fourth quarter

Tuesday, February 7th 2006, 9:25 am
By: News On 6

BROOMFIELD, Colo. (AP) _ Communications network operator Level 3 Communications Inc. said Tuesday its net loss widened in the fourth quarter, due in part to expected declines in its DSL and modem businesses and its acquisition of an Oklahoma company.

The company reported a net loss of $169 million, or 24 cents a share, in the quarter that ended Dec. 31, compared with a net loss of $77 million, or 11 cents a share, in the fourth quarter of 2004.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected Level 3 to report a loss of 29 cents a share.

Company officials said $3 million of the net loss was attributable to the December acquisition of WilTel Communications Group, a Tulsa, Okla.-based provider of voice, data, video and IP services over a fiber-optic network.

Consolidated revenue totaled $944 million, up from $799 million in the previous quarter but down from $1.06 billion during the year-ago period.

For the full year, Level 3 said communications revenue amounted to $1.64 billion, down from $1.68 billion in 2004. However, the company said IP backbone traffic increased 16 percent.

``We are pleased with our strong results this quarter,'' James Q. Crowe, CEO of Level 3, said in a release issued before Tuesday's market opening.

``The continuing growth in our communications business is a result of improved pricing, revenue recognized from previously awarded contracts and ongoing demand for our transport and IP services.''