Otelco Reports Fourth Quarter and Year 2011 Results

ONEONTA, AL, Feb. 21, 2012 /CNW/ - Otelco Inc. (NASDAQ: OTT) (TSX: OTT.un), a wireline telecommunications services provider in Alabama, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont and West Virginia, today announced results for its fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2011.  Key highlights for Otelco include:

  • Total revenues of $25.6 million for fourth quarter and $101.8 million for 2011.
  • Operating income of $5.9 million for fourth quarter and $24.6 million for 2011.
  • Adjusted EBITDA (as defined below) of $10.9 million for fourth quarter and $45.3 million for 2011.

"We completed our acquisition of Shoreham Telephone Company during fourth the quarter, expanding our RLEC and future CLEC presence in New England," said Mike Weaver, President and Chief Executive Officer of Otelco. "The integration process is underway and should be completed by the end of the first quarter. We expect the Shoreham acquisition to be accretive to adjusted EBITDA in 2012.

"Our fourth quarter performance was adversely affected by approximately $0.4 million from non-operating items, including Shoreham deal expenses, write-off of obsolete inventory and RLEC cost study adjustments. On an annual basis, after a particularly strong performance in 2010, delays experienced in adding eight new CLEC collocation sites in Maine and New Hampshire dampened 2011 results. Our CLEC markets in New England have become more competitive, including downward pressure on market pricing trends," continued Weaver.  "In response to this more difficult sales climate, we have made changes in our sales organization and leadership and adjusted our product offering to better position us for growth in 2012.

"The recent FCC access reform order became effective in 2012 and, while the impact of the changes remain unclear, our mix of regulated and non-regulated businesses means we may not have significant exposure to the phase out of the Universal Service Fund," added Weaver. "Our existing senior debt of $162.0 million has an October 2013 maturity date. We may consider refinancing this debt prior to its maturity if favorable market conditions allow us to do so.  Based on the terms we see in completed refinancing packages in our industry, we would anticipate the terms of refinanced senior debt to include lower leverage and higher amortization than our existing senior debt.

"We believe that our extensive broadband network is an important element of the network fabric of the future. We are enhancing speeds and options while remaining price competitive in our markets," Weaver concluded.  "We remain focused on delivering value for our customers and our shareholders. The Board declared and we paid our twenty-eighth consecutive IDS dividend last quarter."

Distribution to Income Deposit Security Holders

Each quarter, the Board evaluates the Company's dividend policy and the declaration of dividends during its normally scheduled meeting. For this quarter, the next scheduled Board meeting is on February 27, 2012. The scheduled interest and any dividend declared will be paid on March 30, 2012, to holders of record as of the close of business on March 15, 2012. The interest payment will cover the period from December 30, 2011 through March 29, 2012.  Given its recent acquisition of Shoreham Telephone, the Company is currently performing an earnings and profits study to determine how 2012 dividends should be classified for shareowner tax purposes. It is anticipated that a portion of the dividends will be considered qualified dividends and the balance will be treated as a return of capital for tax purposes. The Company has made twenty-eight successive quarterly distributions of dividends and interest since its IDS units were originally offered to the public in December 2004.


Fourth Quarter 2011 Financial Summary
(Dollars in thousands, except per share amounts)
(Unaudited)
  Three Months Ended December 31,   Change
    2010   2011   Amount   Percent  
Revenues $ 25,950 $ 25,648 $ (302)   (1.2) %
Operating income $ 6,761 $ 5,859 $ (902)   (13.3) %
Interest expense $ (6,258) $ (6,184) $ (74)   (1.2) %
Net income available to stockholders $ 596 $ 24 $ (572)       * %
  Basic net income per share $ 0.04 $ 0.00 $ (0.04)       *  
  Diluted net income per share $ 0.04 $ 0.00 $ (0.04)       *  
                   
Adjusted EBITDA(a) $ 12,780 $ 10,909 $ (1,871)   (14.6) %
Capital expenditures $ 3,782 $ 2,100 $ (1,682)   (44.5) %
                   
             * Not a meaningful calculation                  
                   
  Year Ended December 31, Change
    2010   2011   Amount   Percent  
Revenues $ 104,400 $ 101,844 $ (2,556)   (2.4) %
Operating income $ 26,369 $ 24,630 $ (1,739)   (6.6) %
Interest expense $ (24,747) $ (24,776) $ 29   0.1 %
Net income available to stockholders $ 691 $ 2,197 $ 1,506       * %
  Basic net income per share $ 0.05 $ 0.17 $ 0.12       *  
  Diluted net income per share $ 0.05 $ 0.17 $ 0.12       *  
                   
Adjusted EBITDA(a) $ 50,672 $ 45,302 $ (5,370)   (10.6) %
Capital expenditures $ 10,225 $ 10,548 $ 323   3.2 %
                   
             * Not a meaningful calculation                  
                   
Reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to Net Income                  
  Three Months Ended December 31, Year Ended December 31,
    2010   2011   2010   2011  
Net income $ 596 $ 24 $ 691 $ 2,197  
Add:  Depreciation   3,673   3,140   13,838   11,891  
          Interest expense - net of premium   5,916   5,842   23,385   23,408  
          Interest expense - amortize loan cost   342   342   1,361   1,368  
          Income tax expense   473   214   610   250  
          Change in fair value of derivatives   (543)   (589)   879   (2,230)  
          Loan fees   19   19   76   76  
          Amortization - intangibles   2,304   1,917   9,832   8,342  
Adjusted EBITDA $ 12,780 $ 10,909 $ 50,672 $ 45,302  

(a) Adjusted EBITDA is defined as consolidated net income (loss) plus interest expense, depreciation and amortization, income taxes and certain non-recurring fees, expenses or charges and other non-cash charges reducing or increasing consolidated net income.  Adjusted EBITDA is not a measure calculated in accordance with generally acceptable accounting principles (GAAP).  While providing useful information, Adjusted EBITDA should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for consolidated statement of operations data prepared in accordance with GAAP.  The Company believes Adjusted EBITDA is useful as a tool to analyze the Company on the basis of operating performance and leverage.  The definition of Adjusted EBITDA corresponds to the definition of Adjusted EBITDA in the indenture governing the Company's senior subordinated notes and its credit facility and certain of the covenants contained therein.  The Company's presentation of Adjusted EBITDA may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies.

Otelco Inc. - Key Operating Statistics                                          
                                   
  (Unaudited)                            
    As of   Quarterly
% Change
  Annual
% Change
    December 31,   September 30,   December 31,   from    
    2010   2011(2)   2011   2011(2)   September 30, 2011   2010-2011
Otelco access line equivalents(1)   99,639   102,378   97,958   102,378   4.5 %   2.7 %
                             
RLEC and other services:                            
  Voice access lines   45,461   46,202   43,444   46,202   6.3 %   1.6 %
  Data access lines   20,852   22,904   21,162   22,904   8.2 %   9.8 %
    Access line equivalents(1)   66,313   69,106   64,606   69,106   7.0 %   4.2 %
  Cable television customers   4,227   4,201   4,156   4,201   1.1 %   (0.6) %
  Satellite television customers   125   226   224   226   0.9 %   80.8 %
  Additional internet customers   6,975   5,414   5,654   5,414   (4.2) %   (22.4) %
    RLEC dial-up   393   301   274   301   9.9 %   (23.4) %
    Other dial-up   4,300   2,797   3,085   2,797   (9.3) %   (35.0) %
    Other data lines   2,282   2,316   2,295   2,316   0.9 %   1.5 %
                               
CLEC:                              
  Voice access lines   29,944   30,189   30,145   30,189   0.1 %   0.8 %
  Data access lines   3,382   3,083   3,207   3,083   (3.9) %   (8.8) %
    Access line equivalents(1)   33,326   33,272   33,352   33,272   (0.2) %   (0.2) %
  Wholesale network connections   149,043   157,144   155,691   157,144   0.9 %   5.4 %
                               
                             
  For the Years Ended           Annual Change
  December 31,           2010-2011
  2010 2011(2)           Amount   Percentage
Total Revenues (in millions): $ 104.4 $ 101.8         $ (2.6)     (2.5) %
  RLEC $ 58.1 $ 57.4         $ (0.7)     (1.2) %
  CLEC $ 46.3 $ 44.4         $ (1.9)     (4.1) %

(1) We define access line equivalents as voice access lines and data access lines (including cable modems, digital subscriber lines, and dedicated data access trunks).

(2) We acquired Shoreham Telephone Company Inc. on October 14, 2011. At December 31, 2011, Shoreham had 3,309 voice access lines and 1,672 data access lines or 4,981 access line equivalents and 55 dial-up internet customers which are included in the Key Operating Statistics.

FINANCIAL DISCUSSION FOR FOURTH QUARTER 2011 (unaudited):

All financial information includes the acquisition of Shoreham Telephone Company Inc. ("Shoreham") on and as of October 14, 2011 and for the period from October 14, 2011 through December 31, 2011.

Revenue
Total revenues decreased 1.2% in the three months ended December 31, 2011, to $25.6 million from $25.9 million in the three months ended December 31, 2010. CLEC revenue gains for local services and network access were offset by lower RLEC revenues.

  Three Months Ended December 31,   Change  
  2010 2011   Amount   Percent  
  (Dollars in Thousands)          
Local services $ 12,066 $ 11,802 $ (264)   (2.2) %
Network access   8,316   8,143   (173)   (2.1)  
Cable television   717   751   34   4.7  
Internet   3,456   3,591   135   3.9  
Transport services   1,395   1,361   (34)   (2.4)  
  Total $ 25,950 $ 25,648 $ (302)   (1.2)  

Local services revenue decreased 2.2% in the fourth quarter of 2011to $11.8 million from $12.1 million in the quarter ended December 31, 2010.  Shoreham added just under $0.2 million which was offset by lower RLEC basic services revenue of $0.3 million and lower CLEC revenue of $0.1.  Network access revenue decreased 2.1% in the fourth quarter of 2011 to $8.1 million from $8.3 million in the quarter ended December 31, 2010. Shoreham added $0.3 million which was offset by lower access revenue related to RLEC subscriber usage and lower NECA settlements accounted of $0.5 million, including 2011 cost study estimates.  Cable television revenue in the three months ended December 31, 2011, increased 4.7% to $0.8 million in fourth quarter 2011 compared to just over $0.7 million in the same period in 2010.  Growth in digital family packages and IPTV of $0.1 million was partially offset by less than a $0.1 million decrease in basic cable services.  Internet revenue for the fourth quarter 2011 increased 3.9% to $3.6 million from $3.5 million in the quarter ended December 31, 2010. Shoreham accounted for $0.2 million which was partially offset by the loss of dial-up subscribers.  Transport services revenue decreased 2.4% to remain at $1.4 million in the three months ended December 31, 2011 and 2010. The reduction reflects small pricing changes for contract renewals.

Operating Expenses
Operating expenses in the three months ended December 31, 2011, increased 3.1% to $19.8 million from $19.2 million in the three months ended December 31, 2010.  Cost of services and products increased 13.3% to $11.2 million in the three months ended December 31, 2011, from $9.9 million in the three months ended December 31, 2010.   The one-time benefits of the settlement of the FairPoint bankruptcy and carrier claims in 2010; Shoreham costs of service of $0.3 million; increases in cable programming and internet capacity of $0.2 million; and other operational costs of $0.2 million were partially offset by lower toll costs on $0.3 million.  Selling, general and administrative expenses increased 6.0% to $3.5 million in the three months ended December 31, 2011, from $3.3 million in the three months ended December 31, 2010. The increase reflects the Shoreham expense (including acquisition expenses) of $0.3 million and benefits from carrier settlements in 2010 of $0.4 million more than offset by lower management expenses of $0.5 million.  Depreciation and amortization for fourth quarter 2011 decreased 15.4% to $5.1 million from $6.0 million in the fourth quarter 2010.  An increase for the acquisition of Shoreham of $0.2 million was offset by a decrease of $0.3 million in the amortization of intangible assets associated with the Country Road acquisition, including a covenant not to compete and contract and customer base intangible assets. The remaining decrease of $0.8 million reflected lower depreciation of plant assets in our regulated properties.

Interest Expense
Interest expense decreased 1.2% to $6.2 million in the quarter ended December 31, 2011, from $6.3 million a year ago. The decrease in interest expense was driven by a lower outstanding balance on our senior long-term notes payable.

Change in Fair Value of Derivatives
As a requirement of the existing senior debt, the Company has two interest rate swap agreements intended to hedge changes in interest rates on its senior debt. The swap agreements do not qualify for hedge accounting under the technical requirements of Accounting Standards Codification 815. Changes in value for the two swaps are reflected in change in the fair value of derivatives on the income statement and have no impact on cash. Over the life of the swaps, the change in value will be zero, with no cumulative impact on net income, Adjusted EBITDA or operations. The value of the swaps increased $0.6 million in fourth quarter 2011 compared to an increase of $0.5 million in the same period of 2010.

Adjusted EBITDA
Adjusted EBITDA for the three months ended December 31, 2011, was $10.9 million compared to $12.8 million for the same period in 2010 and $11.1 million in the third quarter of 2011. See financial tables for a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to net income.

Balance Sheet
As of December 31, 2011, the Company had cash and cash equivalents of $12.4 million compared to $18.2 million at the end of 2010. The Company used $5.0 million in cash to acquire Shoreham Telephone Company Inc. during fourth quarter. Total long-term notes payable was reduced to $271.1 million, reflecting a voluntary prepayment of $0.4 million made in May 2011. The fourth quarter distribution of $5.6 million in interest and dividends to our stockholders and $0.3 million in interest to our bond holders occurred on December 30, 2011.  This represents the twenty-eighth consecutive quarterly distribution since going public in December 2004.

Capital Expenditures
Capital expenditures were $2.1 million for the quarter as the Company continues to grow and invest in its infrastructure.  The Company is expanding its CLEC capabilities in Maine and New Hampshire; enhancing DSL and wireless broadband capacity; and expanding IPTV capability in Alabama.

Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference Call
Otelco has scheduled a conference call, which will be broadcast live over the internet, on Wednesday, February 22, 2012, at 11:30 a.m. ET.  To participate in the call, participants should dial (719) 325-2453 and ask for the Otelco call 10 minutes prior to the start time.  Investors, analysts and the general public will also have the opportunity to listen to the conference call free over the internet by visiting the Company's website at www.OtelcoInc.com  or www.earnings.com. To listen to the live call online, please visit the website at least 15 minutes early to register, download and install any necessary audio software.  For those who cannot listen to the live webcast, a replay of the webcast will be available on the Company's website at www.OtelcoInc.com or www.earnings.com for 30 days.  A one-week telephonic replay may also be accessed by calling (719) 457-0820 and using the passcode 3616440.

ABOUT OTELCO
Otelco Inc. provides wireline telecommunications services in Alabama, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont and West Virginia. The Company's services include local and long distance telephone, network access, transport, digital high-speed data lines and dial-up internet access, cable television and other telephone related services. With more than 102,000 voice and data access lines, which are collectively referred to as access line equivalents, Otelco is among the top 25 largest local exchange carriers in the United States based on number of access lines. Otelco operates eleven incumbent telephone companies serving rural markets, or rural local exchange carriers. It also provides competitive retail and wholesale communications services through several subsidiaries. For more information, visit the Company's website at www.OtelcoInc.com.

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
Statements in this press release that are not statements of historical or current fact constitute forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other unknown factors that could cause the actual results of the Company to be materially different from the historical results or from any future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. In addition to statements which explicitly describe such risks and uncertainties, readers are urged to consider statements labeled with the terms "believes," "belief," "expects," "intends," "anticipates," "plans," or similar terms to be uncertain and forward-looking. The forward-looking statements contained herein are also subject generally to other risks and uncertainties that are described from time to time in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

OTELCO INC.
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
                                    (Unaudited)   As of   As of
    December 31,   December 31,
    2010   2011
Assets        
Current assets                
  Cash and cash equivalents     $   18,226,374 $   12,393,792
  Accounts receivable:              
    Due from subscribers, net of allowance for doubtful
accounts of $230,752 and $260,568, respectively
  4,406,257   4,355,632
    Unbilled receivables         2,161,277   2,183,465
    Other   4,299,088   5,449,074
  Materials and supplies     1,817,311   1,780,820
  Prepaid expenses   1,305,028   1,328,475
  Deferred income taxes   626,267   726,310
    Total current assets       32,841,602   28,217,568
         
Property and equipment, net   63,887,213   65,881,975
Goodwill   188,190,078   188,954,840
Intangible assets, net   25,934,042   20,545,691
Investments   1,967,095   1,943,805
Deferred financing costs   5,757,825   4,485,324
Deferred income taxes   4,415,097   7,454,443
Prepaid expenses   106,685   238,386
Other assets   77,261   2,281
    Total assets       $   323,176,898 $   317,724,313
                     
Liabilities and Stockholders'  Deficit        
Current liabilities          
  Accounts payable       $   768,055 $   1,490,717
  Accrued expenses   7,926,954   6,034,104
  Advance billings and payments   1,595,133   1,590,689
  Deferred income taxes   353,285   353,285
  Customer deposits   172,479   143,657
    Total current liabilities   10,815,906   9,612,452
Deferred income taxes   42,512,576   48,112,384
Interest rate swaps   2,471,331   241,438
Advance billings and payments   656,968   615,584
Other liabilities   368,349   403,823
Long-term notes payable     271,595,855   271,106,387
    Total liabilities   328,420,985   330,092,068
         
         
Stockholders' Deficit        
  Class A  Common Stock, $.01 par value-authorized 20,000,000 shares;        
  issued and outstanding 13,221,404 shares     132,214   132,214
  Additional paid in capital       921,718   -
  Retained deficit         (6,298,019)   (12,499,969)
    Total stockholders' deficit   (5,244,087)   (12,367,755)
    Total liabilities and stockholders' deficit   $   323,176,898 $   317,724,31 

OTELCO INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(Unaudited)
    Three Months Ended   Twelve Months Ended
    December 31,   December 31,
    2010   2011   2010   2011
Revenues $ 25,949,837 $   25,647,760 $   104,400,219 $   101,843,567
                 
Operating expenses                
  Cost of services and products   9,912,225   11,233,414   41,286,418   43,995,953
  Selling, general and administrative expenses     3,299,539   3,498,924   13,074,794   12,984,686
  Depreciation and amortization     5,977,344   5,056,804   23,670,243   20,232,833
    Total operating expenses   19,189,108   19,789,142   78,031,455   77,213,472
                 
  Income from operations     6,760,729   5,858,618   26,368,764   24,630,095
                 
Other income (expense)                
  Interest expense   (6,257,673)   (6,184,333)   (24,746,542)   (24,776,123)
  Change in fair value of derivatives     542,764   588,861   (878,518)   2,229,893
  Other income    23,171   (25,204)   556,820   363,482
    Total other expenses    (5,691,738)   (5,620,676)   (25,068,240)   (22,182,748)
                 
Income before income tax    1,068,991   237,942   1,300,524   2,447,347
Income tax expense   (472,974)   (213,916)   (609,809)   (249,929)
                 
Net income available to common stockholders   $ 596,017 $   24,026 $   690,715 $   2,197,418
                 
Weighted average shares outstanding:                
  Basic   13,221,404   13,221,404   12,985,629   13,221,404
  Diluted   13,221,404   13,221,404   13,221,404   13,221,404
Basic net income (loss) per share $   0.04 $   - $   0.05 $   0.17
Diluted net income (loss) per share $   0.04 $   - $   0.05 $   0.17
                   
Dividends declared per share $   0.18 $   0.18 $   0.71 $   0.71

 

OTELCO INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
(Unaudited)
 
  Years Ended December 31,
    2010   2011
Cash flows from operating activities:        
  Net income       $  690,715 $   2,197,418
  Adjustments to reconcile net income to cash flows from operating activities:        
    Depreciation   13,837,560   11,891,474
    Amortization   9,832,683   8,341,359
    Amortization of debt premium   (92,307)   (103,640)
    Amortization of loan costs   1,361,351   1,368,095
    Change in fair value of derivatives   878,518   (2,229,893)
    Provision for deferred income taxes   428,098   226,962
    Provision for uncollectible revenue   141,474   914,555
    Changes in assets and liabilities; net of assets and liabilities acquired:        
      Accounts receivables   427,432   (1,590,110)
        Material and supplies   152,655   173,350
      Prepaid expenses and other assets   (69,464)   (117,356)
      Income tax receivable   389,486   -
      Accounts payable and accrued liabilities   (1,657,758)   (1,423,589)
      Advance billings and payments   (111,673)   (116,732)
      Other liabilities   202,751   (1,756)
         
        Net cash from operating activities   26,411,521   19,530,137
         
Cash flows from investing activities:        
  Acquisition and construction of property and equipment   (10,225,229)   (10,547,705)
  Purchase of investment   (1,708)   (2,220)
  Proceeds from retirement of investment   1,067   -
  Wholesale customer acquisition   -   -
  Payments for the purchase of Shoreham Telephone, net of cash acquired   -   (5,010,284)
  Deferred charges/acquisition   (1,845)   -
         
        Net cash used in investing activities   (10,227,715)   (15,560,209)
         
Cash flows used in financing activities:        
  Cash dividends paid     (9,225,091)   (9,321,086)
  Direct cost of exchange of Class B shares for Class A shares   (194,053)   -
  Loan origination costs   (155,160)   (95,596)
  Repayment of long-term notes payable   (6,114,172)   (385,828)
         
        Net cash used in financing activities   (15,688,476)   (9,802,510)
         
Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents   495,330   (5,832,582)
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period   17,731,044   18,226,374
         
Cash and cash equivalents, end of period $ 18,226,374 $   12,393,792
         
Supplemental disclosures of cash flow information:        
  Interest paid $   23,484,474 $   24,130,675
         
  Income taxes paid (received) $   (265,275) $   90,517
         

SOURCE Otelco Inc.

For further information:

Contact: Curtis Garner     
Chief Financial Officer   
Otelco Inc.
205-625-3571
Curtis@otelcotel.com

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Otelco Inc.

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