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FairPoint Communications Reports 2010 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results
Mar 31, 2011 (05:03 PM EDT)


CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Consolidated EBITDAR(1) increases over 22 percent to $84.0 million versus fourth quarter 2009
  • Operational improvements drive a $12.7 million one-time revenue benefit in the quarter
  • Loss from Operations for the quarter improves to $18.2 million from $31.2 million a year earlier
  • High-speed Internet subscribers increase annually for the first time since mid-2009
  • Company reiterates full year 2011 guidance

FairPoint Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: FRP) (FairPoint or the Company), a leading provider of communications services, today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2010.  The announcement marks the first earnings release by FairPoint since it emerged from Chapter 11 on January 24, 2011.

"We are pleased to have the restructuring process behind us and are devoting our full attention to driving revenue growth and operational improvements," said Paul H. Sunu, CEO of FairPoint.  "While we expect 2011 will be a transition year, we are excited about the organic growth opportunities we see in our northern New England markets," he added.

Broadband service is now available to more than 80 percent of the Company's northern New England customers and more than 90 percent of Telecom Group (legacy FairPoint) customers.  Company-wide, year-over-year voice access line loss slowed for the third consecutive quarter to 10.3 percent and was the lowest rate of annual loss since April 2008.  In addition, the Company made many operational improvements, which facilitated the reversal of certain service quality penalties in northern New England in the fourth quarter, resulting in a $12.7 million one-time revenue benefit.  This one-time benefit contributed to fourth quarter revenue of $268.0 million and full year revenue of $1,071.0 million.  Operational efficiencies and cost reduction initiatives contributed to fourth quarter Consolidated EBITDAR(1) (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and restructuring items as defined in the Company's new credit facility) of $84.0 million and full year Consolidated EBITDAR(1) of $276.3 million.

Operating and Regulatory Highlights

Improvements in service quality indicators such as faster call center answer times and shorter installation and repair intervals allowed FairPoint to reverse $12.7 million of accrued penalties related to the 2008 and 2009 service quality measurement periods in New Hampshire and Vermont.  The Company was able to reverse these accrued penalties in the fourth quarter of 2010 pursuant to state regulatory settlements in New Hampshire and Vermont and because of improved operating performance throughout 2010.  

High-speed Internet subscribers increased 0.4 percent year-over-year, compared to a 2.3 percent decline in 2009.  The annual rate of loss in voice access lines slowed to 10.3 percent versus 11.8 percent a year earlier.

FairPoint's continued commitment to broadband expansion in northern New England, and in particular its satisfaction of all 2010 broadband availability milestones, has contributed to a better state regulatory environment.  FairPoint now offers broadband service to more than 83 percent of customers in Maine, more than 85 percent of customers in New Hampshire and more than 80 percent of customers in Vermont. The Company continues to invest in its network to expand broadband availability.  Broadband is also available to more than 90 percent of Telecom Group customers throughout the other 15 states in which FairPoint operates.

The telecommunications industry is becoming more data-centric, and FairPoint expects to capture the growth in broadband demand by leveraging its ubiquitous network in the northern New England service area.  The next-generation IP/MPLS network, branded as VantagePoint(sm), is ideally suited to meet the demand for broadband and Ethernet-based services from businesses and wireless carriers.  For example, FairPoint currently serves over 1,600 of the estimated 1,800 wireless communication towers in its northern New England service footprint with a combination of copper and fiber.  The Company views Ethernet-based wireless backhaul as a significant organic revenue growth opportunity.

Financial Highlights

Revenues were $268.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to $270.2 million in the same period of 2009.  Service quality penalties, which reduce revenue, decreased $19.5 million versus a year earlier, including the one-time benefit from the $12.7 million reversal described above.  Offsetting the favorable impact from the reduction in service quality penalties, total voice access lines declined by 10.3 percent versus a year earlier leading to decreases in local calling services revenue, long distance services revenue and access revenue.  The revenue decreases tied to voice access line declines were partially offset by an increase in data and Internet services revenue.

Operating expenses, excluding depreciation and amortization, were $211.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to $230.8 million in the same period of 2009.  This favorable variance of $19.2 million, or 8.3 percent, was primarily the result of a reduction in bad debt expense.  In addition, certain one-time non-cash charges related to project abandonment, inventory obsolescence and other non-recurring items in the fourth quarter of 2010 were offset by a reduction in pension expense versus a year earlier.  The fourth quarter of 2009 was unfavorably impacted by a large non-cash pension liability true-up.

Consolidated EBITDAR(1) was $84.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to $68.8 million in the same period of 2009.  After adjusting fourth quarter 2010 Consolidated EBITDAR(1) for the $12.7 million one-time revenue benefit related to the service quality penalties reversal and other one-time charges, the Company estimates that Consolidated EBITDAR(1)  would have been between $65.0 and $70.0 million.

Capital expenditures were $40.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to $48.6 million in the same period for 2009.  Full year 2010 capital expenditures were $197.8 million, compared to $178.8 million in 2009.  Major capital initiatives in 2010 included the expansion of the VantagePoint(sm) network, regulatory broadband commitments in northern New England, continued information technology improvements and enhancements, success-based capital projects for targeted revenue opportunities, and network and facilities maintenance.

2011 Guidance

Based on its current plans and outlook, the Company reiterates its full year 2011 guidance as follows:

Revenue:  

$1,060 million to $1,090 million

Consolidated EBITDAR(1):          

$260 million to $280 million

Capital expenditures:  

$180 million to $200 million



The Company originally furnished this guidance pursuant to an investor presentation contained in a Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on February 11, 2011.  The Company furnished such guidance in order to synthesize a variety of projected financial information which was provided in connection with the Company's Chapter 11 proceedings and to establish a baseline to assist investors in evaluating the Company.  While the Company does not intend to provide guidance in the ordinary course, management believes that level-setting is appropriate at this time given the length of the Chapter 11 process and its effects on the Company's operations, as well as the recent restatement of the Company's financial results for the first, second and third quarters of 2010.  However, management will continue to assess the Company's financial and operational trends, and accordingly actual results may vary from this guidance and the variations may be material.

The 2011 financial targets reiterated herein represent full year figures and the 2011 quarterly results may be subject to significant fluctuation.  For example, the majority of the Company's employees are entitled to their annual vacation allowance on January 1st of each year.  Accordingly, the Company recognized approximately $13.5 million of vacation expense on January 1, 2011, which will be amortized over the balance of the year as vacation is used.

Fresh Start Accounting

As a result of its emergence from Chapter 11 on January 24, 2011, FairPoint adopted "Fresh Start Accounting" for generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) purposes whereby the Company's assets and liabilities are marked to their fair market values as of the emergence date.  Since FairPoint emerged from bankruptcy after December 31, 2010, results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2010 do not incorporate the effect of Fresh Start Accounting.  FairPoint's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010 includes a pro forma balance sheet as of December 31, 2010.  Management believes this pro forma balance sheet is a reasonable representation of the fair market value of its assets, liabilities and equity as of December 31, 2010 as if the adoption of Fresh Start Accounting had occurred on December 31, 2010; however, no assurances can be made regarding the impact of adopting Fresh Start Accounting until it is completed for the first quarter of 2011.  The impact of Fresh Start Accounting will be included in the Company's financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2011.

Conference Call Information

As previously announced, FairPoint will host a conference call and simultaneous webcast to discuss its 2010 fourth quarter and full year results at 2:00 p.m. (EDT) on Friday, April 1, 2011.

Participants should call (877) 556-5921 (US/Canada) or (617) 597-5474 (international) at 1:50 p.m. (EDT) and enter the passcode 36853706 when prompted.   The title of the call is the Q4 2010 FairPoint Communications, Inc. Earnings Conference Call.

A telephonic replay will be available for anyone unable to participate in the live call. To access the replay, call (888) 286-8010 (US/Canada) or (617) 801-6888 (international) and enter the passcode 19847662 when prompted.  The recording will be available from Friday, April 1, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. (EDT) through Friday, April 15, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).

A live broadcast of the earnings conference call will be available via the Internet at www.fairpoint.com/investors. An online replay will be available shortly thereafter.

The information in this press release should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements, footnotes and other information contained in FairPoint's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010 filed with the SEC on March 31, 2011.  

Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Consolidated EBITDAR, or EBITDAR, is a non-GAAP financial measure. Management believes that EBITDAR may be useful in assessing the Company's operating performance and its ability to meet its debt service requirements, and the maintenance covenants contained in the Company's credit facility are based on EBITDAR.  EBITDAR, as used herein, however, is not necessarily comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies. Furthermore, EBITDAR has limitations as an analytical tool and should not be considered in isolation from, or as an alternative to, net income or loss, operating income, cash flow or other combined income or cash flow data prepared in accordance with GAAP. Because of these limitations, EBITDAR and related ratios should not be considered as measures of discretionary cash available to invest in business growth or reduce indebtedness. FairPoint compensates for these limitations by relying primarily on its GAAP results using EBITDAR only supplementally.  A reconciliation of Consolidated EBITDAR to Net Loss is contained in the attachments to this press release.

About FairPoint

FairPoint Communications, Inc., (NASDAQ: FRP) (www.FairPoint.com) is a leading communications provider of high-speed Internet access, local and long-distance phone, television and other broadband services to customers in communities across 18 states.    Through its fast, reliable data network, FairPoint delivers data and voice networking communications solutions to residential, business and wholesale customers. VantagePoint(sm), FairPoint’s resilient IP-based network in northern New England, provides business customers a fast, flexible, affordable Ethernet connection.  The VantagePoint(sm) network supports applications like video conferencing and e-learning. Additional information about FairPoint products and services is available at www.FairPoint.com.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements

Some statements herein are known as "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.  These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about the Company's plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other statements contained herein that are not historical facts. When used herein, the words "expects," "anticipates," "intends," "plans," "believes," "seeks," "estimates" and similar expressions are generally intended to identify forward looking statements. Because these forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual results, events or developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements, including the Company's plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other factors. You should not place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements, which are based on the information currently available to us and speak only as of the date hereof. FairPoint does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.  However, your attention is directed to any further disclosures made on related subjects in the Company's subsequent reports filed with the SEC.

Certain information contained herein may constitute guidance as to projected financial results and FairPoint's future performance that represents management's estimates as of the date hereof. This guidance, which consists of forward-looking statements, is prepared by the Company's management and is qualified by, and subject to, certain assumptions. Guidance is not prepared with a view toward compliance with published guidelines of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and neither FairPoint's independent registered public accounting firm nor any other independent expert or outside party compiles or examines the guidance and, accordingly, no such person expresses any opinion or any other form of assurance with respect thereto. Guidance is based upon a number of assumptions and estimates that, while presented with numerical specificity, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond the Company's control and are based upon specific assumptions with respect to future business decisions, some of which will change. Management generally states possible outcomes as high and low ranges which are intended to provide a sensitivity analysis as variables are changed but are not intended to represent actual results, which could fall outside of the suggested ranges. The principal reason that the Company releases this data is to provide a basis for management to discuss FairPoint's business outlook with analysts and investors. FairPoint does not accept any responsibility for any projections or reports published by any such outside analysts or investors. Guidance is necessarily speculative in nature, and it can be expected that some or all of the assumptions of the guidance furnished by us will not materialize or will vary significantly from actual results. Accordingly, the Company's guidance is only an estimate of what management believes is realizable as of the date hereof. Actual results will vary from the guidance and the variations may be material. Investors should also recognize that the reliability of any forecasted financial data diminishes the farther in the future that the data is forecast. In light of the foregoing, investors are urged to put the guidance in context and not to place undue reliance on it.

(1) Consolidated EBITDAR means earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and restructuring items as defined in the Company’s new credit facility.  Consolidated EBITDAR is a non-GAAP financial measure.  A reconciliation of Consolidated EBITDAR to Net Loss is contained in the attachments to this press release.

FAIRPOINT COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

(Debtors-In-Possession)

Consolidated Balance Sheets

December 31, 2010 and 2009

(in thousands, except share data)








2010


2009

Assets





Current assets:






    Cash

$

105,497


$

109,355

    Restricted cash


2,420



2,558

    Accounts receivable, net


125,170



154,095

    Materials and supplies


22,193



18,884

    Prepaid expenses


18,841



15,198

    Other current assets


6,092



8,844

    Deferred income tax, net


31,400



75,713

Total current assets


311,613



384,647

Property, plant and equipment, net


1,859,700



1,950,435

Goodwill


595,120



595,120

Intangibles assets, net


189,247



211,819

Prepaid pension asset


2,960



8,808

Debt issue costs, net


119



680

Restricted cash


1,678



1,478

Other assets


13,357



19,135

Total assets

$

2,973,794


$

3,172,122







Liabilities and Stockholders' Deficit






Liabilities not subject to compromise:






    Current portion of capital lease obligations

$

1,321


$

    Accounts payable


66,557



61,681

    Accrued interest payable


3



36

    Other accrued liabilities


63,279



44,004

         Total current liabilities


131,160



105,721







    Capital lease obligations


3,943



    Accrued pension obligation


92,246



51,438

    Employee benefit obligations


344,463



261,420

    Deferred income taxes


67,381



115,742

    Unamortized investment tax credits


4,310



4,788

    Other long-term liabilities


12,398



15,100

         Total long-term liabilities


524,741



448,488







Total liabilities not subject to compromise


655,901



554,209







Liabilities subject to compromise


2,905,311



2,836,340







Total liabilities


3,561,212



3,390,549







Stockholders' deficit:






    Common stock, $0.01 par value, 200,000,000 shares






      authorized, issued and outstanding 89,440,334 and 90,002,026






      shares at December 31, 2010 and 2009, respectively


894



900

    Additional paid-in capital


725,786



725,312

    Retained deficit


(1,101,294)



(819,715)

    Accumulated other comprehensive loss


(212,804)



(124,924)

Total stockholders' deficit


(587,418)



(218,427)

Total liabilities and stockholders' deficit

$

2,973,794


$

3,172,122







See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements in FairPoint's Annual Report

on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010 as filed with the SEC on March 31, 2011.



FAIRPOINT COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

(Debtors-In-Possession)

Consolidated Statements of Operations

Years ended December 31, 2010 and 2009

(in thousands, except per share data)






2010


2009






Revenues

$

1,070,986

$

1,119,090

Operating expenses:





    Cost of services and sales, excluding depreciation and amortization


525,728


515,394

    Selling, general and administrative expense, excluding depreciation





      and amortization



365,373


417,512

    Depreciation and amortization


289,824


275,334

Total operating expenses


1,180,925


1,208,240

Income (loss) from operations


(109,939)


(89,150)

Other income (expense):





    Interest expense


(140,896)


(204,919)

    Gain (loss) on derivative instruments



12,320

    Gain on early retirement of debt



12,357

    Other income, net


2,715


2,000

Total other expense


(138,181)


(178,242)

Loss before reorganization items and income taxes


(248,120)


(267,392)

Reorganization items


(41,120)


(53,018)

Loss before income taxes


(289,240)


(320,410)

Income tax benefit


7,661


79,014

Net loss

$

(281,579)

$

(241,396)






Weighted average shares outstanding:





     Basic


89,424


89,271

    Diluted


89,424


89,271






Loss per share:





    Basic

$

(3.15)

$

(2.70)

    Diluted


(3.15)


(2.70)






See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements in FairPoint's Annual Report

on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010 as filed with the SEC on March 31, 2011.



FAIRPOINT COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

(Debtors-In-Possession)

Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows

Years ended December 31, 2010 and 2009

(in thousands)








2010


2009

Cash flows from operating activities:





    Net loss

$

(281,579)

$

(241,396)

Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by





 operating activities excluding impact of acquisitions:





    Deferred income taxes


(7,915)


(78,722)

    Provision for uncollectible revenue


20,525


48,402

    Depreciation and amortization


289,824


275,334

    Non-cash interest expense



31,137

    Post-retirement expenses


33,216


34,151

    Pension expenses


10,017


24,274

     (Gain) loss on derivative instruments



(12,320)

    Gain on early retirement of debt, excluding cash fees



(12,477)

    Loss on abandoned projects


15,132


    Non-cash reorganization items


(20,004)


43,964

    Other non cash items


4,045


4,468

    Changes in assets and liabilities arising from operations:





         Accounts receivable


12,706


(24,799)

         Prepaid and other assets


(6,834)


19,063

         Accounts payable and accrued liabilities


(10,802)


(12,435)

         Accrued interest payable


137,111


61,312

         Other assets and liabilities, net


(3,816)


(9,633)

    Other



         Total adjustments


473,205


391,719

              Net cash provided by operating activities


191,626


150,323

Cash flows from investing activities:





    Acquired cash balance, net



    Net capital additions


(197,795)


(178,752)

    Net proceeds from sales of investments and other assets


527


1,361

         Net cash used in investing activities


(197,268)


(177,391)

Cash flows from financing activities:





    Loan origination costs


(1,475)


(3,046)

    Proceeds from issuance of long-term debt


5,513


50,000

    Repayments of long-term debt



(20,848)

    Contributions from Verizon



    Restricted cash


(62)


65,114

    Repayment of capital lease obligations


(2,192)


(2,126)

    Dividends paid to stockholders



(22,996)

         Net cash provided by financing activities


1,784


66,098

         Net increase (decrease) in cash


(3,858)


39,030

Cash, beginning of period


109,355


70,325

Cash, end of period

$

105,497

$

109,355

Supplemental disclosure of cash flow information:





         Interest paid, net of capitalized interest

$

1,005

$

106,861

         Income taxes paid, net of refunds


361


(563)

         Non-cash equity consideration



         Non-cash issuance of senior notes



18,911

         Capital additions included in accounts payable or liabilities





           subject to compromise at period-end


1,961


31,621

         Reorganization costs paid


41,699


1,182






See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements in FairPoint's Annual Report

on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010 as filed with the SEC on March 31, 2011.



FAIRPOINT COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

(Debtors-In-Possession)

Supplemental Financial Information

(Unaudited)

($ in thousands, except per unit)











Quarter ended




4Q10
as Reported

3Q10
Restated

2Q10
Restated

1Q10
Restated

4Q09
Recast









Summary Income Statement:















Revenue:







Voice services


$            136,664

$            125,598

$            134,943

$            134,418

$            133,502

Access


92,128

95,923

96,182

96,856

98,893

Data and Internet services


27,504

26,691

28,961

27,067

26,073

Other services


11,696

12,418

11,477

12,460

11,722

Total revenue


267,992

260,630

271,563

270,801

270,190

Operating expenses:







Operating expenses, excluding depreciation

 and amortization


211,598

218,177

230,273

231,053

230,792

Depreciation and amortization


74,606

72,364

71,472

71,382

70,594

Total operating expenses


286,204

290,541

301,745

302,435

301,386

Loss from operations


(18,212)

(29,911)

(30,182)

(31,634)

(31,196)

Other income (expense):







Interest expense


(35,187)

(35,358)

(35,721)

(34,630)

(39,757)

Other income (expense), net


377

2,207

105

26

(708)

Total other income (expense)


(34,810)

(33,151)

(35,616)

(34,604)

(40,465)

Loss before reorganization items and income taxes


(53,022)

(63,062)

(65,798)

(66,238)

(71,661)

Reorganization items


(15,552)

(10,352)

1,375

(16,591)

(53,018)

Loss before income taxes


(68,574)

(73,414)

(64,423)

(82,829)

(124,679)

Income tax benefit (expense)


(6,413)

7,330

10,245

(3,501)

8,953

Net loss


$             (74,987)

$             (66,084)

$             (54,178)

$             (86,330)

$           (115,726)








Consolidated EBITDAR Reconciliation:














Net loss


$             (74,987)

$             (66,084)

$             (54,178)

$             (86,330)

$           (115,726)

Income tax (benefit) expense


6,413

(7,330)

(10,245)

3,501

(8,953)

Interest expense


35,187

35,358

35,721

34,630

39,757

Depreciation and amortization


74,606

72,364

71,472

71,382

70,594

Non-cash pension and OPEB expense (1)


10,992

12,036

9,979

10,240

25,172

Other non-cash items, net (2)


16,096

1,066

(8,509)

1,327

45,466

Restructuring costs (3)


14,948

11,395

18,788

14,739

12,111

Restatement impact, net (4)


-

1,397

8,307

10,436

-

All other allowed adjustments, net (5)


732

(999)

959

859

401

Consolidated EBITDAR


$              83,987

$              59,203

$              72,294

$              60,784

$              68,822

Consolidated EBITDAR margin


31.3%

22.7%

26.6%

22.4%

25.5%








Select Operating and Financial Metrics:














Residential access lines


712,591

734,260

758,005

776,254

802,668

Business access lines


327,812

335,334

340,988

349,179

357,605

Wholesale access lines (6)


87,142

89,035

91,138

93,827

97,161

Total switched access lines


1,127,545

1,158,629

1,190,131

1,219,260

1,257,434

      % change y-o-y


-10.3%

-11.0%

-11.6%

-12.4%

-11.8%








High-speed data subscribers (7)


289,745

288,891

289,609

283,806

288,542

      % change y-o-y


0.4%

-1.7%

-1.9%

-5.5%

-2.3%








Access line equivalents


1,417,290

1,447,520

1,479,740

1,503,066

1,545,976

      % change y-o-y


-8.3%

-9.3%

-9.9%

-11.2%

-10.2%








Capital expenditures


$              40,868

$              53,705

$              62,815

$              40,407

$              48,630









(1) For purposes of calculating Consolidated EBITDAR, FairPoint's new credit facility allows it to add back the aggregate pension and other post-employment benefits expense (OPEB), net of pension contributions and OPEB cash payments in the period. 

(2) For purposes of calculating Consolidated EBITDAR, FairPoint's new credit facility allows it to add back other non-cash charges except to the extent they will require a cash payment in a future period.  4Q10 included a one-time, non-cash charge related to a prior period. 

(3) For purposes of calculating Consolidated EBITDAR, FairPoint's new credit facility allows it to add back costs, including professional fees for advisors and consultants, related to the restructuring.  These items are included in Reorganization items on the Income Statement in 2010. 

(4) For purposes of calculating Consolidated EBITDAR, FairPoint's new credit facility allows it to adjust for the impact from any restatement of financial statements for the periods ending on or prior to January 24, 2011. 

(5) For purposes of calculating Consolidated EBITDAR, FairPoint's new credit facility allows it to adjust for other items including success bonuses, severance, non-cash gains and losses, non-operating dividend and interest income and other extraordinary gains or losses. 

(6) Wholesale access lines include Resale and UNE-P, but excludes UNE-L and special access circuits.   

(7) High-speed data subscribers include DSL, fiber-to-the-home, cable modem and fixed wireless broadband.



SOURCE FairPoint Communications, Inc.