Otelco Reports First Quarter 2011 Results

ONEONTA, AL, May 4 /CNW/ - Otelco Inc. (NASDAQ: OTT) (TSX: OTT.un), a wireline telecommunications services provider in Alabama, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire and West Virginia, today announced results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2011.  Key highlights for Otelco include:

  • Total revenues of $25.4 million for first quarter 2011.
  • Operating income of $5.3 million for first quarter 2011.
  • Adjusted EBITDA (as defined below) of $11.4 million for first quarter 2011.

"After record breaking performance in 2010, we had a challenging start for 2011," said Mike Weaver, President and Chief Executive Officer of Otelco. "While the expansion of our sales and marketing department is now complete, the process of hiring and training new staff was more time consuming than anticipated.  In addition, the planned expansion of our CLEC services in Massachusetts and New Hampshire was delayed but is now in progress.  As a result of these delays and the increased costs associated with the expanded sales staff, first quarter results were below our expectations.

"Our cash position remains strong," continued Weaver.  "We increased our cash for the quarter by $0.2 million while at the same time making significant capital investments of $2.8 million in our business infrastructure in all of our service territories. This investment included a new soft switch in Alabama and the initial investments in Massachusetts for our CLEC expansion. In May, we intend to make another voluntary repayment of senior debt of $0.4 million representing a reduction of $11.5 million in the past two years.

"We remain committed to continuing the expansion of our CLEC services in New England, including our planned acquisition of Shoreham Telephone Company in Vermont," added Weaver.  "In addition to the increase of approximately 5,000 access line equivalents, this acquisition will anchor our CLEC expansion into the fourth New England state. Our investment in the existing sales organization anticipated this addition.

"The recent outbreak of tornadoes in Alabama inflicted some damage to our outside plant facilities but we do not anticipate any significant long-term effects on our operations," noted Weaver.  "Restoration efforts were underway immediately after the storm subsided. We supplemented our Alabama work force with crews from our Missouri and Maine operations, as well as outside contractors, and were able to restore service to most of our customers within a week.  The costs for the restoration should generally be covered by our insurance.

"The strength of our commitment to building value for and returning cash to our shareholders is unwavering, as evidenced by our twenty-fifth consecutive IDS dividend," Weaver concluded.

Distribution to Income Deposit Security Holders

Each quarter, the Board will consider the declaration of dividends during its normally scheduled meeting. For this quarter, the Board is meeting on May 12, 2011. The scheduled interest and any dividend declared will be paid on June 30, 2011, to holders of record as of the close of business on June 15, 2011. The interest payment will cover the period from March 30, 2011 through June 29, 2011.  Currently, it is anticipated that the Company's dividends in 2011 will continue to be treated as a return of capital for tax purposes. The Company has made twenty-five successive quarterly distributions of dividends and interest since its IDS units were originally offered to the public in December 2004.

First Quarter 2011 Financial Summary  
(Dollars in thousands, except per share amounts)  
                 
  Three Months Ended March 31,   Change
  2010   2011   Amount   Percent
Revenues  $       25,794    $           25,392    $         (402)           (1.6) %
Operating income  $         5,869    $             5,321    $         (548)           (9.3) %
Interest expense  $       (5,989)    $           (6,170)    $           181            3.0 %
Net income (loss) available to stockholders  $          (386)    $                    5    $           391   *  
  Basic net income (loss) per share  $         (0.03)    $                  -      $          0.03   *  
  Diluted net income (loss) per share  $         (0.03)    $                  -      $          0.03   *  
                 
Adjusted EBITDA(a)  $       12,331    $           11,413    $         (918)           (7.4) %
Capital expenditures  $         1,753    $             2,843    $        1,090          62.2 %
                 
             * Not a meaningful calculation                
                 
                 
Reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to Net Income (Loss)                
  Three Months ended March 31,      
  2010   2011          
Net income (loss)  $          (386)    $                    5          
Add:  Depreciation             3,573                   3,523          
          Interest expense - net of premium             5,651                   5,828          
          Interest expense - amortize loan cost                338                      342          
          Income tax expense (benefit)              (262)                          1          
          Change in fair value of derivatives                886                    (506)          
          Loan fees                  19                        19          
          Amortization - intangibles             2,512                   2,201          
Adjusted EBITDA  $       12,331    $           11,413          
 

(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 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                    
                             
                Quarterly  
                % Change  
          December 31,     Mar. 31,   from  
          2009   2010     2011   Dec. 31, 2010  
Otelco access line equivalents(1)        100,356           99,639                  99,271              (0.4) %  
                             
RLEC and other services:                      
  Voice access lines           48,215           45,461                  44,770              (1.5) %  
  Data access lines           20,066           20,852                  21,158                1.5 %  
    Access line equivalents(1)         68,281           66,313                  65,928              (0.6) %  
  Cable television customers           4,195             4,227                   4,029              (4.7) %  
  Satellite television customers 100     125     217    73.6    
  Additional internet customers           9,116             6,975                   6,435              (7.7) %  
    RLEC dial-up                786                393                      341             (13.2) %  
    Other dial-up             6,439             4,300                   3,786             (12.0) %  
    Other data lines             1,891             2,282                   2,308                1.1 %  
                             
CLEC:                        
  Voice access lines           28,647           29,944                  30,084                0.5 %  
  Data access lines             3,428             3,382                   3,259              (3.6) %  
    Access line equivalents(1)         32,075           33,326                  33,343                0.1 %  
  Wholesale network connections       132,324          149,043                152,101                2.1 %  
                             
             
          For the Three Months          
          Ended March 31,           
          2010   2011              
Total Revenues (in millions):  $         25.8    $         25.4              
  RLEC      $         14.7    $         14.2              
  CLEC      $         11.1    $         11.2              

 (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).

FINANCIAL DISCUSSION FOR FIRST QUARTER 2011:

Revenues
Total revenues decreased 1.6% in the three months ended March 31, 2011, to $25.4 million from $25.8 million in the three months ended March 31, 2010. Declines from the traditional loss of RLEC voice access line related revenues were not fully offset by continued growth in CLEC and cable television revenues.

    Three Months Ended March 31,     Change    
    2010   2011   Amount   Percent  
           (dollars in thousands)      
Local services  $     12,239    $    12,006    $      (233)          (1.9) %
Network access           7,985           7,861           (124)          (1.6)  
Cable television             666              753               87          13.1  
Internet             3,511           3,455             (56)          (1.6)  
Transport services           1,393           1,317             (76)          (5.5)  
       Total revenues    $     25,794    $    25,392    $      (402)          (1.6)  

Local services revenue decreased 1.9% in the first quarter to $12.0 from $12.2 million in the quarter ended March 31, 2010.  A decrease of $0.3 million in basic services revenue and an increase of $0.1 million in hosted private branch exchange revenue comprised the change.  Network access revenue decreased 1.6% in the first quarter to $7.9 million from $8.0 million in the quarter ended March 31, 2010. The decrease of $0.1 million relates to lower NECA settlements.  Cable television revenue in the three months ended March 31, 2011, increased 13.1% to $0.8 million from $0.7 million in the same period in 2010.  Growth in digital family packages of $0.1 million and revenue of $0.1 million associated with the conversion of our Missouri cable customers to satellite services was partially offset by a $0.1 million decrease in basic cable.  Internet revenue for the first quarter 2011 decreased 1.6% to stay at $3.5 million in both quarters ended March 31, 2011 and 2010. Growth in broadband data lines offset the loss of dial-up subscribers.  Transport services revenue decreased 5.5% to $1.3 million in the three months ended March 31, 2011 from $1.4 million for the same period in 2010.  The decrease of $0.1 million is due to pricing changes in the WAN transport market.

Operating Expenses
Operating expenses in the three months ended March 31, 2011, increased 0.7% to $20.1 million from $19.9 million in the three months ended March 31, 2010.  Cost of services and products increased 3.9% to $11.0 in the quarter ended March 31, 2011, from $10.6 million in the quarter ended March 31, 2010. A non-recurring accrual for the Universal Service Fund costs, start-up network costs in New Hampshire, and increased employee and benefit costs accounted for the $0.4 million increase in this category.  Selling, general and administrative expenses increased 3.0% to $3.3 million in the three months ended March 31, 2011, from $3.2 million in the three months ended March 31, 2010, primarily related to increased employee and benefit costs.  Depreciation and amortization for first quarter 2011 decreased 5.9% to $5.7 million from $6.1 million in first quarter 2010.  Amortization of intangible assets associated with the Country Road acquisition decreased $0.3 million, including contract and customer base intangible assets. The remaining decrease of $0.1 million reflected lower depreciation of plant assets in Alabama partially offset by an increase in depreciation in Missouri.

Interest Expense
Interest expense increased 3.0% to $6.2 million in the quarter ended March 31, 2011, from $6.0 million a year ago. The increase in interest expense is primarily driven by interest on the additional senior subordinated notes issued in the exchange of our Class B shares that occurred in June 2010.

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 impact on Adjusted EBITDA or operations.  The value of the swap liability decreased $0.5 million in first quarter 2011 compared to an increase in the value of the swap liability of $0.9 million in the first quarter of 2010.

Adjusted EBITDA
Adjusted EBITDA for the three months ended March 31, 2011, was $11.4 million compared to $12.3 million for the same period in 2010 and $12.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2010. See financial tables for a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to net income (loss).

Balance Sheet
As of March 31, 2011, the Company had cash and cash equivalents of $18.5 million compared to $18.2 million at the end of 2010. The Company intends to make a $0.4 million voluntary prepayment in May 2011 on its senior long-term notes payable, reducing the balance to $162.0 million. This represents a combined reduction of $11.5 million since October 2008. The first quarter distribution of $5.6 million in interest and dividends to our shareowners, and $0.3 million in interest to our bond holders, occurred on March 30, 2011.  This represents the twenty-fifth consecutive quarterly distribution since going public in December 2004.

Capital Expenditures
Capital expenditures were $2.8 million for the quarter as the Company continues to grow and invest in its infrastructure.  The Company is adding a softswitch in Alabama, while continuing to expand its CLEC capabilities in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire; enhancing DSL and wireless broadband capacity; and expanding IPTV capability in Alabama.

First Quarter Earnings Conference Call
Otelco has scheduled a conference call, which will be broadcast live over the internet, on Thursday, May 5, 2011, at 11:00 a.m. ET.  To participate in the call, participants should dial (719) 325-2363 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 1353922.

ABOUT OTELCO
Otelco Inc. provides wireline telecommunications services in Alabama, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire 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 99,000 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 ten 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
                         
                  December 31,   March 31,  
                  2010   2011  
Assets     (unaudited)  
  Current assets                  
    Cash and cash equivalents        $     18,226,374    $     18,473,509  
    Accounts receivable:                
       Due from subscribers, net of allowance for doubtful          
           accounts of $230,752 and $238,321, respectively             4,406,257             4,206,972  
       Unbilled receivables                   2,161,277             2,156,605  
       Other                     3,257,882             3,639,031  
    Materials and supplies                   1,817,311             1,879,897  
    Prepaid expenses                    1,305,028             1,072,212  
    Deferred income taxes                      626,267                626,267  
      Total current assets               31,800,396           32,054,493  
                         
  Property and equipment, net               63,887,213           62,824,961  
  Goodwill                   188,190,078         188,190,078  
  Intangible assets, net                 25,934,042           24,123,076  
  Investments                     1,967,095             1,960,718  
  Deferred financing costs                   5,757,825             5,415,801  
  Deferred income taxes                   4,415,097             4,415,097  
  Other assets                        183,946                169,760  
      Total assets          $   322,135,692    $   319,153,984  
                         
                                             Liabilities and Stockholders' Deficit          
  Current liabilities                
    Accounts payable          $          768,055    $          445,386  
    Accrued expenses                   6,885,748             7,106,276  
    Advance billings and payments                 1,595,133             1,579,693  
    Deferred income taxes                      353,285                353,285  
    Customer deposits                      172,479                184,069  
      Total current liabilities                 9,774,700             9,668,709  
  Deferred income taxes                 42,512,576           42,512,575  
  Interest rate swaps                   2,471,331             1,965,176  
  Advance billings and payments                    656,968                646,622  
  Other liabilities                      368,349                359,547  
  Long-term notes payable           271,595,855         271,571,060  
      Total liabilities               327,379,779         326,723,689  
                         
  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)           (7,701,919)  
      Total stockholders' deficit               (5,244,087)           (7,569,705)  
      Total liabilities and stockholders' deficit      $   322,135,692    $   319,153,984  
   
 
 
OTELCO INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(unaudited)
                   
              Three months ended
March 31,
              2010   2011
                   
Revenues            $   25,794,209    $    25,392,000
                   
Operating expenses            
  Cost of services and products         10,610,193          11,020,212
  Selling, general and administrative expenses           3,230,996            3,327,057
  Depreciation and amortization           6,084,291            5,724,018
    Total operating expenses         19,925,480          20,071,287
                   
  Income from operations           5,868,729            5,320,713
                   
Other income (expense)          
  Interest expense           (5,988,642)           (6,170,131)
  Change in fair value of derivatives            (886,170)               506,155
  Other income                  358,832               349,349
    Total other expenses         (6,515,980)           (5,314,627)
                   
Income (loss) before income tax             (647,251)                   6,086
Income tax (expense) benefit              261,595                  (1,432)
                   
Net income (loss) available to common stockholders  $      (385,656)    $             4,654
                   
Weighted average shares outstanding:        
  Basic               12,676,733          13,221,404
  Diluted               13,221,404          13,221,404
Basic net income (loss) per share    $            (0.03)    $                   -  
Diluted net income (loss) per share    $            (0.03)    $                   -  
                   
Dividends declared per share    $              0.18    $               0.18

 
 
OTELCO INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
(unaudited)
                 Three months ended 
                 March 31, 
                2010   2011
Cash flows from operating activities:      
  Net income (loss)      $       (385,656)    $              4,654
  Adjustments to reconcile net income to cash flows from operating activities:      
      Depreciation            3,572,918              3,522,652
      Amortization            2,511,373              2,201,365
      Amortization of debt premium             (22,086)                 (24,795)
      Amortization of loan costs            337,976                 342,024
      Change in fair value of derivatives            886,170               (506,155)
      Provision for uncollectible revenue              77,045                  62,747
      Changes in assets and liabilities; net of assets and liabilities acquired:      
          Accounts receivables            365,460               (215,112)
          Material and supplies             (86,159)                 (62,586)
          Prepaid expenses and other assets             (26,503)                 220,510
          Income tax receivable            389,486                           -
          Accounts payable and accrued liabilities           (187,900)               (102,141)
          Advance billings and payments              18,706                 (25,786)
          Other liabilities              10,351                    2,788
                     
            Net cash from operating activities          7,461,181              5,420,165
                     
Cash flows used in investing activities:      
  Acquisition and construction of property and equipment        (1,753,170)        (2,842,757)
                     
            Net cash used in investing activities        (1,753,170)       (2,842,757)
                     
Cash flows used in financing activities:      
  Cash dividends paid            (2,234,274)         (2,330,273)
                     
            Net cash used in financing activities        (2,234,274)         (2,330,273)
                     
Net increase in cash and cash equivalents          3,473,737               247,135
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period        17,731,044          18,226,374
                     
Cash and cash equivalents, end of period  $    21,204,781    $       18,473,509
                     
Supplemental disclosures of cash flow information:      
  Interest paid          $      5,569,134    $        5,908,353
                     
  Income taxes paid (received)    $       (326,486)    $           122,895
                     

 

 

SOURCE Otelco Inc.

For further information:

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

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