Fourth Quarter Highlights
Investors: Qwest can give no assurance that the financial information contained herein will not be subject to further adjustment. All financial information contained herein is unaudited. The audit, which is in the preliminary stages, may also result in changes to such financial information. The company has included the estimated impact of various restatements for 2001 which were previously disclosed. In the financial results presented in the following discussions, all financial results related to continuing operations for 2002 and 2001 exclude QwestDex, as it is presented as a discontinued operation. Please see "Note to Investors" and attached financial statements for important information.
DENVER, February 19, 2003 - Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and full-year of 2002. The company announced fourth quarter net income of $2.7 billion or $1.61 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $645 million or $0.39 per share in the fourth quarter of 2001. For the full year 2002, Qwest announced a net loss of $35.9 billion (inclusive of approximately $40.9 billion of accounting related impacts) or $21.35 per share, compared with a loss of $4.8 billion, or $2.88 per share in 2001. Fourth-quarter and full-year 2002 results include the impacts realized from the first stage of the sale of QwestDex and the completion of a debt exchange offer in December. Full-year 2002 results also reflect accounting related impacts of approximately $30 billion in goodwill reduction and $10.9 billion of long-lived asset impairments.
"We are beginning to see some positive, stabilizing trends in our core businesses," said Richard C. Notebaert, Qwest chairman and CEO. "We are now building positive momentum from the successes of 2002 as we focus on providing customers with excellent service and great value."
"We have made significant strides in our efforts to strengthen our balance sheet and position the company for long-term competitiveness," said Oren G. Shaffer, Qwest vice chairman and CFO. "We completed our debt-for-debt exchange, which allowed us to reduce debt by $1.9 billion, and we improved our working capital position by $5.1 billion for the year. Moreover, our progress in addressing our accounting and internal reviews enables the Qwest management team to place even greater focus on our core operations."
Revenue for the fourth quarter was $3.7 billion, an 11.2 percent decrease from the same period last year, and a 3.1 percent decrease sequentially. Revenue for full-year 2002 was $15.5 billion, a 7.5 percent decline from 2001 revenue of $16.7 billion. Fourth quarter revenues declined due to continued competitive pressures in local and long-distance voice services, as well as the company's efforts to shift away from less profitable businesses, such as data customer premise equipment (CPE) resale. These trends were partially offset by continued growth of the company's advanced IP product revenue.
Cost of sales and SG&A expenses for the fourth quarter declined $466 million, or 15.6 percent, over last year. Sequentially, these expenses declined $319 million, or 11.2 percent, in the quarter. Approximately half of the sequential expense improvement stemmed from a reduction in operating expenses. The remaining improvement reflects a re-estimate of accruals relating to regulatory settlements and bad debt reserves.
For the fourth quarter, operating income was $346 million compared with a $759 million operating loss in the fourth quarter of 2001, and an $11 million operating loss in the third quarter of 2002. Sequential operating income improvement was driven by lower cost of sales and SG&A expenses, and adjustments to restructuring and other charges. For the full-year 2002, operating loss was $18.2 billion, compared to $1.3 billion in 2001. Full-year 2002 results include approximately $18.4 billion in goodwill and asset impairment writedowns.
Operational and Financial Highlights
Some of the key operational and financial highlights achieved since the announcement of third quarter results include:
- Qwest significantly reduced total debt, less cash and cash equivalents, from $25.0 billion to $20.4 billion in the fourth quarter. This reduction was achieved through the realization of $2.75 billion in QwestDex sale gross proceeds, and a debt exchange offer that reduced outstanding total debt by $1.9 billion.
- Qwest received unanimous approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to re-enter the long-distance business in nine states: Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. These nine states represent approximately 55 percent of Qwest's total local base.
- Qwest filed an application with the FCC on January 15, 2003, for authority to provide long-distance service to customers in three additional states: New Mexico, Oregon, and South Dakota. These states represent approximately 15 percent of Qwest's total local base. Qwest plans to file similar applications for long-distance authority in its remaining two states, Arizona and Minnesota, later in 2003.
- Qwest experienced positive stabilizing trends in its core business. Consumer access line losses reduced sequentially for the second consecutive quarter. In the fourth quarter, Qwest lost approximately 162,000 consumer access lines, 9,000 fewer lines than in the third quarter. The company believes this improvement was due to retention and customer service initiatives, partially offsetting the effects of competition, technology substitution, and a sluggish economic environment. Combined consumer and business access lines declined 4.4 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter. UNE-P line volumes declined for the second consecutive quarter, from approximately 498,000 to 490,000 sequentially.
- Qwest reported strong and measurable service improvements for 2002. Since the launch of the "Spirit of Service?" campaign last year, Qwest has improved the service experience based directly on customer feedback. Qwest customers are getting better service than they have received previously, and the more than $9 billion in network upgrades and new technology investments made over the last three years are delivering the expected improvements. The company implemented more than a dozen initiatives in 2002 to enhance the customer experience, and Qwest internal data shows the number of residential customers who are satisfied with their Qwest experience has risen 13 percent since October 2002.
- Qwest launched new packages and bundles that simplify the pricing for customers and provide superior value. Qwest customers can now select from simplified pricing plans for their local telephone service (including the most popular features like Caller ID and voice mail), long-distance (in the nine states available), and wireless service.
- Qwest continued to secure major contracts with large enterprise and government customers for voice and data services. In the fourth quarter, Qwest entered into new service agreements with: Fairbanks Capital, the General Services Administration, and NASA.
Reported results for 2002 are reflective of a number of significant accounting related matters, including:
- As previously disclosed, Qwest has been conducting a review of its accounting policies, practices, procedures, and disclosures. As a result, the company is restating its previously reported financial results for 2001 and 2000. These restatements also result in adjustments to previously disclosed financial results for interim periods in 2002. Qwest can give no assurance that the financial information contained herein will not be subject to further adjustment. All financial information contained herein is unaudited. The audit, which is in the preliminary stages, may also result in changes to such financial information. The company has included the estimated impact of various restatements for 2001 which were previously disclosed.
- Pursuant to SFAS No. 142, "Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets," the company has performed an additional goodwill impairment analysis as of June 30, 2002, and is now reporting a goodwill impairment charge of approximately $7.5 billion effective in the second quarter of 2002.
- During 2002, the company recorded $30 billion in goodwill reductions, which consisted of the $7.5 billion in goodwill impairment discussed above and $22.5 billion of goodwill reduction as the result of a change in accounting principle associated with the transitional goodwill impairment. The $22.5 billion of goodwill reduction is adjusted from previously reported estimates of approximately $24 billion.
- As previously disclosed, pursuant to SFAS No. 144, "Accounting for the Impairment or Disposal of Long-Lived Assets," Qwest has performed an impairment evaluation for its traditional telephone network, global fiber optic broadband network, and related assets. As a result of this evaluation, Qwest recorded an approximately $8.2 billion impairment charge in its unaudited financial statements for the second quarter of 2002. In the same quarter, an approximately $2.7 billion reduction in the carrying value of identifiable intangible assets was also recorded for a total asset impairment charge of approximately $10.9 billion.
Outlook For 2003
For 2003, Qwest expects a continuation of current economic and competitive trends, resulting in the following operating expectations:
- Access lines are expected to continue to face pressure from wireless and broadband substitution, competition, and a declining regional economy. Trends seen in the second half of 2002 are expected to continue into 2003 with overall net access line declines slightly better than the declines experienced in 2002.
- Consumer long-distance revenues are expected to continue to decline outside Qwest's 14-state local service region as Qwest continues with its strategy to maximize profitability on this product line. These declines are expected to be increasingly offset as the year progresses by consumer long-distance revenues generated within the 14-state region.
- Demand for data and IP services is expected to remain relatively flat in 2003. Qwest expects modest growth in demand of its core data and IP telecom offerings, such as ATM and frame relay, to be offset by declines in low-margin CPE and professional services sales.
- DSL subscriber growth is expected to accelerate throughout the year as the customer service improves and coverage is expanded. Net additions for 2003 are expected to exceed 2002 gains.
In addition, the company highlights the following key financial trends in 2003:
- The rate of revenue decline is expected to be comparable to or slightly better than 2002 levels.
- Cash operating expenses are expected to decline from 2002 levels as cost improvement initiatives are partially offset by increased pension expenses and benefit and wage increases.
- Capital expenditures are expected to be in the range of 15 to 20 percent of revenue.
- Free cash flow is expected to be breakeven to modestly positive.
- Qwest will continue to monitor market conditions for opportunities to reduce debt through strategic financing transactions, which may include debt-for-debt exchanges, debt-for-equity exchanges, and other available financing alternatives.
The above discussion of 2003 outlook contains forward-looking statements. As such, Qwest cautions that these statements should be considered in light of uncertainty surrounding its business, ongoing litigation and governmental investigations, the industry and competitive environment, the general macroeconomic outlook, and other issues detailed in the forward looking statement note at the end of this release.
Note to Investors
The attached statements detail financial results in the following product and service categories, consistent with Qwest's peer group:
- Wireline: Products and services include local and long-distance voice services, calling features, data transport and networking, Internet access, network access, directory assistance, and CPE;
- Wireless: Wireless services and equipment within Qwest's 14-state region;
- Other: Network services from telephone pole leases, property sub-lease rentals, and other miscellaneous revenue items.
Conference Call Today
As previously announced, Qwest will host a conference call for investors and the media today at 9:00 a.m. EST with Richard C. Notebaert, Qwest chairman and CEO and Oren G. Shaffer, Qwest vice chairman and CFO. The call may be heard on the Web at www.qwest.com/about/investor/meetings.
- 4Q02 Attachment A.pdf
- 4Q02 Attachment B.pdf
- 4Q02 Attachment C.pdf
- 4Q02 Attachment D.pdf
- 4Q02 Attachment E.pdf
- 4Q02 Attachment F.pdf
- 4Q02 Attachment G.pdf
Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) is a leading provider of voice, video and data services to more than 25 million customers. The company's 50,000-plus employees are committed to the "Spirit of Service" and providing world-class services that exceed customers' expectations for quality, value and reliability. For more information, please visit the Qwest Web site at www.qwest.com.
Forward-looking statements made within this release contain risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied here and on the conference call. Those risks and uncertainties are on file with the SEC. Additionally, we do not adopt analysts' estimates nor do we necessarily commit to updating the forward-looking statements that we make here.
Forward Looking Statement Note
This release may contain projections and other forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. These statements may differ materially from actual future events or results. Readers are referred to the documents filed by us with the Securities and Exchange Commission, specifically the most recent reports which identify important risk factors that could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, including but not limited to: the duration and extent of the current economic downturn in the company's 14-state local service area, including its effect on the company's customers and suppliers; the effects of the company's anticipated restatement of historical financial statements including delays in or restrictions on the company's ability to access the capital markets or other adverse effects to the company's business and financial position; the company's substantial indebtedness, and the company's inability to complete any efforts to de-lever its balance sheet through asset sales or other transactions; any adverse outcome of the SEC's current investigation into the company's accounting policies, practices and procedures; any adverse outcome of the current investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office in Denver into certain matters relating to us; adverse results of increased review and scrutiny by Congress, regulatory authorities, media and others (including any internal analyses) of financial reporting issues and practices or otherwise; the failure of the company's chief executive and chief financial officers to provide certain certifications relating to certain public filings; rapid and significant changes in technology and markets; any adverse developments in commercial disputes or legal proceedings, including any adverse outcome of current or future legal proceedings related to matters that are the subject of governmental investigations, and, to the extent not covered by insurance, if any, the company's inability to satisfy any resulting obligations from funds available to us, if any; the company's future ability to provide interLATA services within the company's 14-state local service area; potential fluctuations in quarterly results; volatility of the company's stock price; intense competition in the markets in which the company competes, including the likelihood of certain of the company's competitors emerging from bankruptcy court protection or otherwise reorganizing their capital structure and competing effectively against us; changes in demand for the company's products and services; dependence on new product development and acceleration of the deployment of advanced new services, such as broadband data, wireless and video services, which could require substantial expenditure of financial and other resources in excess of contemplated levels; higher than anticipated employee levels, capital expenditures and operating expenses; adverse changes in the regulatory or legislative environment affecting the company's business; and changes in the outcome of future events from the assumed outcome included in the company's significant accounting policies.
The information contained in this release is a statement of Qwest's present intention, belief or expectation and is based upon, among other things, the existing regulatory environment, industry conditions, market conditions and prices, the economy in general and Qwest's assumptions. Qwest may change its intention, belief or expectation, at any time and without notice, based upon any changes in such factors, in Qwest's assumptions or otherwise. The cautionary statements contained or referred to in this release should be considered in connection with any subsequent written or oral forward-looking statements that Qwest or persons acting on its behalf may issue. This release may include analysts' estimates and other information prepared by third parties for which Qwest assumes no responsibility.
Qwest undertakes no obligation to review or confirm analysts' expectations or estimates or to release publicly any revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
By including any information in this release, Qwest does not necessarily acknowledge that disclosure of such information is required by applicable law or that the information is material.
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