Sprint Reports First Quarter 2013 Results
April 24, 2013 at 07:00 AM EDT
Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) today reported operating income of $29 million, and Adjusted OIBDA* of $1.5 billion was the highest in nearly four years even as Sprint made significant investments in the business during the quarter. Sprint reported continued strong growth in the Sprint platform business, reaching highest-ever subscriber base and service revenue levels in the first quarter of 2013.
“This is a transformative year for Sprint and we’ve gotten off to a good start,” said Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO. “Record Sprint platform service revenue and subscriber levels fueled our performance. We achieved significant Adjusted OIBDA* growth while investing heavily to improve our network, expanding our 4G LTE footprint and offering customers the best smartphones with truly unlimited data plans.”
EPS and Operating Income Improve
Operating income for the quarter was $29 million as compared to a loss of $255 million in the year-ago period. Consolidated net service revenues of nearly $8 billion were flat year-over-year as Sprint platform growth offset declines in Nextel platform and Wireline revenues. The company reported a net loss of $643 million and a diluted net loss of $.21 per share for the first quarter of 2013 as compared to a net loss of $863 million and a diluted net loss of $.29 per share in the first quarter of 2012.
Adjusted OIBDA* Improves By Over 25 Percent Year-Over-Year
Quarterly Adjusted OIBDA* of $1.5 billion was the highest in nearly four years and improved by $311 million as compared to the first quarter of 2012. Adjusted OIBDA* improved year-over-year primarily due to growth in Sprint platform service revenue, lower cost of service and lower SG&A expense, partially offset by lower Nextel revenue.
Sprint Platform Achieves Record Revenue, ARPU and Subscribers
Sprint platform service revenue reached best-ever levels in the first quarter driven by all-time high postpaid ARPU and subscribers for the Sprint platform. Sprint platform postpaid ARPU grew by more than $1 year-over-year. Postpaid subscriber growth on the platform continued to benefit from better than expected recapture rates of Nextel customers as well as improved postpaid churn. Additionally, all three of the Sprint platform prepaid brands achieved net additions in the quarter and each reached highest-ever subscriber levels.
Unlimited Data and Iconic Smartphones Continue to Drive Growth
Eighty-six percent of quarterly Sprint platform postpaid handset sales were smartphones, including more than 1.5 million iPhones sold during the quarter. Forty-three percent of iPhone sales were to new customers, a rate that continues to outperform larger competitors.
Sprint continued to enhance its smartphone portfolio – launching HTC One® earlier this month and announcing plans to offer Samsung Galaxy S® 4 in the next few weeks as well as BlackBerry® Q10 and two Windows 8 phones later this year.
Network Vision Deployment Gains Momentum
Sprint made significant progress on the Network Vision deployment in the quarter, exceeding 12,000 sites on air during the first quarter. To date there are more than 13,500 sites on air compared to more than 8,000 reported on Feb. 7. The number of sites that are either ready for construction, already underway or completed has grown to more than 25,000.
As part of Network Vision, Sprint has launched 4G LTE in 88 cities, including Los Angeles, Boston and Charlotte, N.C. since the beginning of the year and expects that 4G LTE will be available in more than 170 additional cities in the coming months.
The company remains on track to shut down the Nextel platform at the end of the second quarter.
Third Parties Recognize Sprint Leadership
For the fourth time in a row, J.D. Power & Associates ranked Sprint highest in satisfaction with the purchase experience among Full Service Wireless Providers. Additionally, Sprint’s Boost Mobile prepaid brand was ranked highest in satisfaction with the purchase experience among Non-Contract Wireless Providers. Sprint also received U.S. Long-Haul Wholesale Carrier Excellence from ATLANTIC-ACM in the Brand, Network Performance, Customer Service and Voice Quality categories. Finally, Sprint collected the North American Mobile & Wireless Green Excellence Award from Frost & Sullivan.
The company expects 2013 Adjusted OIBDA* to be at the high-end of the previous forecast of between $5.2 billion and $5.5 billion excluding the effects of the closing of strategic transactions.
Sprint Nextel provides financial measures determined in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (GAAP) and adjusted GAAP (non-GAAP). The non-GAAP financial measures reflect industry conventions, or standard measures of liquidity, profitability or performance commonly used by the investment community for comparability purposes. These measurements should be considered in addition to, but not as a substitute for, financial information prepared in accordance with GAAP. We have defined below each of the non-GAAP measures we use, but these measures may not be synonymous to similar measurement terms used by other companies.
Sprint Nextel provides reconciliations of these non-GAAP measures in its financial reporting. Because Sprint Nextel does not predict special items that might occur in the future, and our forecasts are developed at a level of detail different than that used to prepare GAAP-based financial measures, Sprint Nextel does not provide reconciliations to GAAP of its forward-looking financial measures.
The measures used in this release include the following:
OIBDA is operating income/(loss) before depreciation and amortization. Adjusted OIBDA is OIBDA excluding severance, exit costs, and other special items. Adjusted OIBDA Margin represents Adjusted OIBDA divided by non-equipment net operating revenues for Wireless and Adjusted OIBDA divided by net operating revenues for Wireline. We believe that Adjusted OIBDA and Adjusted OIBDA Margin provide useful information to investors because they are an indicator of the strength and performance of our ongoing business operations, including our ability to fund discretionary spending such as capital expenditures, spectrum acquisitions and other investments and our ability to incur and service debt. While depreciation and amortization are considered operating costs under GAAP, these expenses primarily represent non-cash current period costs associated with the use of long-lived tangible and definite-lived intangible assets. Adjusted OIBDA and Adjusted OIBDA Margin are calculations commonly used as a basis for investors, analysts and credit rating agencies to evaluate and compare the periodic and future operating performance and value of companies within the telecommunications industry.
Free Cash Flow is the cash provided by operating activities less the cash used in investing activities other than short-term investments and amounts included as investments in Clearwire during the period. We believe that Free Cash Flow provides useful information to investors, analysts and our management about the cash generated by our core operations after interest and dividends, if any, and our ability to fund scheduled debt maturities and other financing activities, including discretionary refinancing and retirement of debt and purchase or sale of investments.
Net Debt is consolidated debt, including current maturities, less cash and cash equivalents, short-term investments and if any, restricted cash. We believe that Net Debt provides useful information to investors, analysts and credit rating agencies about the capacity of the company to reduce the debt load and improve its capital structure.
This release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the securities laws. The words “may,” “could,” “should,” “estimate,” “project,” “forecast,” “intend,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “target,” “plan,” “providing guidance,” and similar expressions are intended to identify information that is not historical in nature. All statements that address operating performance, events or developments that we expect or anticipate will occur in the future — including statements relating to network performance, subscriber growth, and liquidity, and statements expressing general views about future operating results — are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are estimates and projections reflecting management’s judgment based on currently available information and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those suggested by the forward-looking statements. With respect to these forward-looking statements, management has made assumptions regarding, among other things, development and deployment of new technologies; efficiencies and cost savings of multimode technologies; customer and network usage; customer growth and retention; service, coverage and quality; availability of devices; the timing of various events and the economic environment. Sprint Nextel believes these forward-looking statements are reasonable; however, you should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which are based on current expectations and speak only as of the date when made. Sprint Nextel undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law. In addition, forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from our company's historical experience and our present expectations or projections. Factors that might cause such differences include, but are not limited to, those discussed in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012. You should understand that it is not possible to predict or identify all such factors. Consequently, you should not consider any such list to be a complete set of all potential risks or uncertainties.
Clearwire’s first quarter 2013 results from operations have not yet been finalized. As a result, the amount reflected for Sprint’s share of Clearwire’s results of operations for the quarter ended March 31, 2013, is an estimate and, based upon the finalization of Clearwire’s results, may need to be revised if our estimate materially differs from Clearwire’s actual results. Changes in our estimate, if any, would affect the carrying value of our investment in Clearwire, net loss, basic and diluted net loss per common share, and comprehensive loss but would have no effect on Sprint’s operating income, OIBDA*, Adjusted OIBDA* or consolidated statement of cash flows.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 55 million customers at the end of the first quarter 2013 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint No. 1 among all national carriers in customer satisfaction and most improved, across all 47 industries, during the last four years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in both its 2011 and 2012 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.
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