SBC Communications Inc., the nation's second-largest local phone company, cited surges in demand for wireless and data services for improved fourth-quarter results, which met Wall Street expectations.
In a statement Thursday, SBC reported fourth-quarter income of $1.95 billion, or 57 cents a share, up 5.6% from last year, when the company posted income of $1.85 billion, or 54 cents a share. Revenue increased 9.1%, to $14.07 billion, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, up from $12.91 billion in 1999. Results for fiscal 2000 include revenue of $53.3 billion, up 8.8% from $49 billion in fiscal 1999, and earnings of $7.7 billion, up 4.1% from $7.4 billion. Diluted earnings per share for the year were $2.26, up 5.1%, from $2.15. None of these figures include one-time costs, such as the acquisition of Midwestern telco Ameritech.
SBC said highlights of the quarter included a 44.3% growth in data revenue to $2.2 billion, a surge of 251,000 new digital subscriber line customers, and a net gain of 814,000 customers by Cingular Wireless, which SBC co-owns with BellSouth.
TeleChoice analyst Adam Guglielmo says the results are good news and even a little better than he expected. "It's pretty solid growth, especially in the DSL space," he says. Guglielmo expects the company to grow solidly in the coming quarter and continue to expand aggressively, particularly in the DSL business.