November 6, 2012

Frontier Communications Reports 2012 Third Quarter Results

Continued improvements in revenue and customer metrics

Improved liquidity through successful debt offerings

Third quarter free cash flow of $215.3 million

Dividend payout ratio of 40% for the first 9 months of 2012

Third quarter operating cash flow margin of 46%, as adjusted

STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Frontier Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: FTR) today reported third quarter 2012 revenue of $1,252.5 million, operating income of $275.2 million and net income attributable to common shareholders of Frontier of $67.0 million, or $0.07 per share.

"Frontier had a milestone third quarter, with the best revenue and customer metrics since the closing of our July 2010 acquisition. Our improved broadband speeds, new simple and flexible pricing, and great customer service are positively impacting the customer experience," said Maggie Wilderotter, Chairman & CEO of Frontier Communications. "Our strong results enabled us to raise $850 million in the bond market during August and October, bringing our 2012 total to $1.35 billion. We are well on track to meet our federal and state broadband expansion commitments, and we are excited about our new fourth quarter promotions and offers, including bundled satellite broadband service with Hughes, bundled mobile service with AT&T, and an Apple gift card promotion."

Revenue for the third quarter of 2012 was $1,252.5 million as compared to $1,258.8 million in the second quarter of 2012 and $1,290.9 million in the third quarter of 2011. The decrease in revenue for the third quarter of 2012 as compared to the third quarter of 2011 is attributable to decreases in the number of residential and business customers and switched access revenue.

The Company's results reflect improvements in a number of critical customer metrics. At September 30, 2012, the Company had 2,932,200 residential customers and 291,400 business customers. During the three months ended September 30, 2012 we lost approximately 51,800 customers as compared to 65,700 customers in the three months ended June 30, 2012 and 72,600 customers in the three months ended March 31, 2012. Also, during the most recent quarter, the average monthly customer revenue per customer increased $2.09, or 1.9%, over the second quarter of 2012 and $3.61, or 3.3%, over the first quarter of 2012.

The Company's broadband customer net additions were approximately 1,000 during the third quarter of 2012, reflecting the impact of lower customer activations as a result of fewer marketing promotions and final conversion clean-up. The Company had 1,782,300 broadband customers at September 30, 2012. The Company added 27,300 satellite TV customers and lost 4,100 FiOS video customers during the third quarter of 2012. The Company had 388,300 video customers at September 30, 2012, which reflects the curtailment of DirecTV billing as part of its bundled packages.

Network access expenses and other operating expenses for the third quarter of 2012 were $674.4 million as compared to $655.3 million in the second quarter of 2012 and $691.3 million in the third quarter of 2011. Other operating expenses included severance costs of $6.8 million in the third quarter of 2012, $1.5 million in the second quarter of 2012 and $3.6 million in the third quarter of 2011. The Company incurred non-recurring storm cost expenses in the third quarter of 2012 of approximately $15 million as compared to the second quarter of 2012.

Depreciation and amortization for the third quarter of 2012 was $298.4 million as compared to $307.0 million in the second quarter of 2012 and $351.9 million in the third quarter of 2011. Amortization expense decreased by $36.7 million in the third quarter of 2012 as compared to the third quarter of 2011, primarily due to the write-off of certain software licenses no longer required for operations and the amortization associated with certain Frontier legacy properties that were fully amortized in March 2012.

Integration costs of approximately $4.5 million were incurred during the third quarter of 2012, as compared to approximately $28.6 million ($0.02 per share after tax) in the second quarter of 2012 and $67.4 million ($0.04 per share after tax) in the third quarter of 2011, in connection with our integration of the acquired properties. These nonrecurring costs in 2012 were incurred in connection with our successful conversion of the final nine states onto our platform of system applications in March 2012, and other ongoing network and operations integration work. Our integration costs and related capital expenditures will be completed by the end of 2012.

Operating income for the third quarter of 2012 was $275.2 million (reflecting lower depreciation and amortization, integration costs and network access expenses as compared to the third quarter of 2011) and operating income margin was 22.0 percent as compared to operating income of $267.8 million and operating income margin of 21.3 percent in the second quarter of 2012 and operating income of $180.3 million and operating income margin of 14.0 percent in the third quarter of 2011.

Excluding integration costs and severance costs, operating income and operating income margin for the three months ended September 30, 2012 would have been $286.5 million and 22.9 percent, respectively. Excluding the comparable adjustments in each period, operating income and operating income margin for the three months ended June 30, 2012 would have been $297.9 million and 23.7 percent, respectively, and for the three months ended September 30, 2011 would have been $251.3 million and 19.5 percent, respectively. Operating income, excluding integration costs and severance costs, decreased $11.4 million in the third quarter of 2012 as compared to the second quarter of 2012, primarily due to the non-recurring storm cost expenses.

Interest expense for the third quarter of 2012 was $172.2 million as compared to $165.8 million in the third quarter of 2011, a $6.4 million increase, primarily due to higher average debt levels and lower capitalized interest in 2012. In August 2012, the Company completed a registered offering of $600.0 million aggregate principal amount of 7.125% senior unsecured notes due 2023. We received net proceeds of approximately $588.1 million from the offering which we will use to repurchase or retire existing indebtedness or for general corporate purposes.

Income tax expense for the third quarter of 2012 was $35.7 million as compared to a $6.9 million tax benefit in the third quarter of 2011, a $42.6 million increase, principally due to higher pretax income and the reduced impact for the reversal of uncertain tax positions of $6.2 million.

Net income attributable to common shareholders of Frontier was $67.0 million, or $0.07 per share, in the third quarter of 2012, as compared to $20.4 million, or $0.02 per share, in the third quarter of 2011. The third quarter of 2012 includes severance costs of $6.8 million, integration costs of $4.5 million and losses on the early extinguishment of debt of $0.2 million, offset by the reversal of uncertain tax positions of $7.8 million (combined net impact of $0.2 million after tax). Excluding the impact of the aforementioned items, non-GAAP adjusted net income attributable to common shareholders of Frontier for the third quarter of 2012 would be $66.8 million, or $0.07 per share.

Capital expenditures for Frontier business operations were $195.0 million for the third quarter of 2012 and $571.1 million for the first nine months of 2012. Capital expenditures related to integration activities were $10.8 million for the third quarter of 2012 and $38.8 million for the first nine months of 2012.

Operating cash flow, as adjusted and defined by the Company in the attached Schedule B, was $581.3 million for the third quarter of 2012 resulting in an operating cash flow margin of 46.4 percent. Operating cash flow, as reported, of $573.6 million for the third quarter of 2012 has been adjusted to exclude $6.8 million of severance costs and $4.5 million of integration costs, partially offset by $3.6 million of non-cash pension and other postretirement benefit costs.

Free cash flow, as defined by the Company in the attached Schedule A, was $215.3 million for the third quarter of 2012 and $753.3 million for the first nine months of 2012. The Company's dividend represents a payout of 40 percent of free cash flow for the first nine months of 2012.

Working Capital

At September 30, 2012, we had a working capital surplus of $608.2 million, which includes the classification of certain debt maturing in the first quarter of 2013 of $502.7 million as a current liability. We believe our operating cash flows, existing cash balances and existing revolving credit facility will be adequate to meet our working capital and other cash requirements.

Fourth Quarter Debt Offering and Repurchases

On October 1, 2012, the Company completed a registered debt offering of $250 million aggregate principal amount of 7.125% senior unsecured notes due 2023, issued at a price of 104.250% of their principal amount, equating to an effective yield of 6.551%. The notes are an additional issuance to the $600 million aggregate principal amount of 7.125% senior notes due 2023 issued by the Company on August 15, 2012. The Company will use the net proceeds from the sale of the notes to repurchase or retire its existing indebtedness or for general corporate purposes.

On October 1, 2012, the Company accepted for purchase $75.7 million and $59.3 million aggregate principal amount of its 7.875% Senior Notes due 2015 (the April 2015 Notes) and its 8.250% Senior Notes due 2017 (the 2017 Notes), respectively, in open market repurchases for total consideration of $154.7 million. The repurchases resulted in a loss on the early extinguishment of debt of approximately $19.3 million ($0.01 per share after tax) to be recognized in the fourth quarter of 2012. As of October 31, 2012, approximately $374.8 million aggregate principal amount of the April 2015 Notes and $1,040.7 million aggregate principal amount of the 2017 Notes remained outstanding.

Guidance

For the full year of 2012, the Company's expectations for capital expenditures and free cash flow, excluding integration costs and integration capital expenditures, are within a range of $750 million to $775 million and $900 million to $1 billion, respectively. We expect that in 2012 our cash taxes will be approximately $15 million. We expect to incur operating expenses and capital expenditures for integration activities of approximately $80 million and $50 million, respectively, in 2012. We made total net contributions to our pension plan for 2012 of $28.5 million, including $18.2 million in the third quarter of 2012 and $10.3 million in October 2012. These contributions reflect the positive impact of funding rate changes contained in the Highway Investment Act of 2012. There are no further contributions to be made in 2012.

For the full year of 2013, the Company's expectations for capital expenditures are within a range of $625 million to $675 million. We expect that in 2013, absent any legislative changes in 2012 or 2013, our cash taxes will be in the range of $125 million to $150 million.

Non-GAAP Measures

The Company uses certain non-GAAP financial measures in evaluating its performance. These include non-GAAP adjusted net income attributable to common shareholders of Frontier, free cash flow and operating cash flow. A reconciliation of the differences between non-GAAP adjusted net income attributable to common shareholders of Frontier, free cash flow and operating cash flow and the most comparable financial measures calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP is included in the tables that follow. The non-GAAP financial measures are by definition not measures of financial performance under GAAP and are not alternatives to operating income or net income attributable to common shareholders of Frontier as reflected in the statement of operations or to cash flow as reflected in the statement of cash flows and are not necessarily indicative of cash available to fund all cash flow needs. The non-GAAP financial measures used by the Company may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies.

The Company believes that the presentation of non-GAAP financial measures provides useful information to investors regarding the Company's financial condition and results of operations because these measures, when used in conjunction with related GAAP financial measures, (i) together provide a more comprehensive view of the Company's core operations and ability to generate cash flow, (ii) provide investors with the financial analytical framework upon which management bases financial, operational, compensation and planning decisions and (iii) presents measurements that investors and rating agencies have indicated to management are useful to them in assessing the Company and its results of operations. In addition, the Company believes that non-GAAP adjusted net income attributable to common shareholders of Frontier, free cash flow and operating cash flow, as the Company defines them, can assist in comparing performance from period to period, without taking into account factors affecting operating income or net income attributable to common shareholders of Frontier in the statement of operations, or cash flow reflected in the statement of cash flows, including changes in working capital and the timing of purchases and payments. The Company has shown adjustments to its financial presentations to exclude losses on the early extinguishment of debt, investment gains, tax benefits for the reversal of uncertain tax positions, discrete tax items, integration costs, severance costs and non-cash pension and other postretirement benefit costs, as disclosed in the attached Schedules A, B and C, because investors have indicated to management that such adjustments are useful to them in assessing the Company and its results of operations.

Management uses these non-GAAP financial measures to (i) assist in analyzing the Company's underlying financial performance from period to period, (ii) evaluate the financial performance of its business units, (iii) analyze and evaluate strategic and operational decisions, (iv) establish criteria for compensation decisions, and (v) assist management in understanding the Company's ability to generate cash flow and, as a result, to plan for future capital and operational decisions. Management uses these non-GAAP financial measures in conjunction with related GAAP financial measures.

These non-GAAP financial measures have certain shortcomings. In particular, free cash flow does not represent the residual cash flow available for discretionary expenditures, since items such as debt repayments and dividends are not deducted in determining such measure. Operating cash flow has similar shortcomings as interest, income taxes, capital expenditures, debt repayments and dividends are not deducted in determining this measure. Management compensates for the shortcomings of these measures by utilizing them in conjunction with their comparable GAAP financial measures. The information in this press release should be read in conjunction with the financial statements and footnotes contained in our documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Conference Call and Webcast

The Company will host a conference call today at 9:00 A.M. Eastern time. In connection with the conference call and as a convenience to investors, the Company furnished today on a Current Report on Form 8-K certain materials regarding third quarter 2012 results. The conference call will be webcast and may be accessed at:

http://investor.frontier.com/eventdetail.cfm?eventid=119395

A telephonic replay of the conference call will be available for one week beginning at 12:00 P.M. Eastern time, November 6, 2012 via dial-in at 888-203-1112 for U.S. and Canadian callers or, outside the U.S. and Canada, at 719-457-0820, passcode 2334836. A webcast replay of the call will be available at www.frontier.com/ir.

About Frontier Communications

Frontier Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: FTR) offers broadband, voice, satellite video, wireless Internet data access, data security solutions, bundled offerings and specialized bundles for residential customers, small businesses and home offices, and advanced business communications for medium and large businesses in 27 states. Frontier's approximately 15,250 employees are based entirely in the United States. More information is available at www.frontier.com and www.frontier.com/ir.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements that are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are made on the basis of management's views and assumptions regarding future events and business performance. Words such as "believe," "anticipate," "expect" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements (including oral representations) involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. These risks and uncertainties are based on a number of factors, including but not limited to: the risk that the growth opportunities from the Transaction may not be fully realized or may take longer to realize than expected; the effects of greater than anticipated competition requiring new pricing, marketing strategies or new product or service offerings and the risk that we will not respond on a timely or profitable basis; reductions in the number of our voice customers that cannot be offset by increases in broadband subscribers and sales of other products and services; the effects of competition from cable, wireless and other wireline carriers; our ability to maintain relationships with customers, employees or suppliers; the effects of ongoing changes in the regulation of the communications industry as a result of federal and state legislation and regulation, or changes in the enforcement or interpretation of such legislation and regulation; the effects of any unfavorable outcome with respect to any current or future legal, governmental or regulatory proceedings, audits or disputes; the effects of changes in the availability of federal and state universal funding to us and our competitors; our ability to adjust successfully to changes in the communications industry and to implement strategies for growth; continued reductions in switched access revenues as a result of regulation, competition or technology substitutions; our ability to effectively manage service quality in our territories and meet mandated service quality metrics; our ability to successfully introduce new product offerings, including our ability to offer bundled service packages on terms that are both profitable to us and attractive to customers; changes in accounting policies or practices adopted voluntarily or as required by generally accepted accounting principles or regulations; our ability to effectively manage our operations, operating expenses and capital expenditures, and to repay, reduce or refinance our debt; the effects of changes in both general and local economic conditions on the markets that we serve, which can affect demand for our products and services, customer purchasing decisions, collectability of revenues and required levels of capital expenditures related to new construction of residences and businesses; the effects of technological changes and competition on our capital expenditures and product and service offerings, including the lack of assurance that our network improvements will be sufficient to meet or exceed the capabilities and quality of competing networks; the effects of increased medical, pension and postemployment expenses and related funding requirements; changes in income tax rates, tax laws, regulations or rulings, or federal or state tax assessments; the effects of state regulatory cash management practices that could limit our ability to transfer cash among our subsidiaries or dividend funds up to the parent company; our ability to successfully renegotiate union contracts in 2012 and thereafter; changes in pension plan assumptions and/or the value of our pension plan assets, which could require us to make increased contributions to the pension plan in 2013 and beyond; the effects of customer bankruptcies and home foreclosures, which could result in difficulty in collection of revenues and loss of customers; adverse changes in the credit markets or in the ratings given to our debt securities by nationally accredited ratings organizations, which could limit or restrict the availability, or increase the cost, of financing; our ability to pay dividends on our common shares, which may be affected by our cash flow from operations, amount of capital expenditures, debt service requirements, cash paid for income taxes and liquidity; and the effects of severe weather events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms or other natural or man-made disasters. These and other uncertainties related to our business are described in greater detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our reports on Forms 10-K and 10-Q, and the foregoing information should be read in conjunction with these filings. We do not intend to update or revise these forward-looking statements to reflect the occurrence of future events or circumstances.

 
Frontier Communications Corporation
Consolidated Financial Data
 
 
          For the quarter ended     For the nine months ended
September 30,     June 30,       September 30, September 30,
(Amounts in thousands, except per share amounts) 2012 2012 2011 2012     2011
 
Income Statement Data
Revenue $ 1,252,469   $ 1,258,777   $ 1,290,939   $ 3,779,300   $ 3,959,891  
 
Network access expenses 102,051 115,433 119,941 333,053 397,854
Other operating expenses (1) 572,348 539,911 571,388 1,663,842 1,729,824
Depreciation and amortization 298,416 307,047 351,907 962,763 1,062,150
Integration costs (2)   4,458     28,602     67,412     68,204     100,899  
Total operating expenses   977,273     990,993     1,110,648     3,027,862     3,290,727  
 
Operating income 275,196 267,784 180,291 751,438 669,164
Losses on early extinguishment of debt (245 ) (70,818 ) - (71,063 ) -
Investment and other income (loss), net 4,602 8,804 836 18,994 10,039
Interest expense   172,188     172,054     165,755     509,104     500,034  
Income before income taxes 107,365 33,716 15,372 190,265 179,169
Income tax expense (benefit)   35,739     11,717     (6,948 )   66,150     66,809  
Net income (2)

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