Qwest reports profit on strong services revenue

The long distance phone company reports a third-quarter profit on strong revenue from data and Internet services, in line with expectations.

DENVER--Qwest Communications International, a long distance phone company whose $45.2 billion merger with US West is expected to close in mid-2000, reported a third-quarter profit on strong revenue from data and Internet services.

The company said it had earnings of $19.8 million, or 3 cents a share, compared with a pro forma loss of $11.4 million, or 2 cents, a year earlier. That matched the average estimate of analysts surveyed by First Call.

Denver, Colorado-based Qwest said revenue rose 26 percent to $1.02 billion from $807.1 million a year earlier, marking its first billion-dollar quarter.

Qwest, which just finished its 18,500-mile phone network, said high demand for its Internet connections and fiber optic services drove its revenue higher. Internet and data services were its fastest growing area of business, rising more than 200 percent from last year's third quarter.

Pro forma results include operations of several acquisitions as if they had occurred before January 1, 1998, and exclude merger-related charges, the company said.

Including $25 million in costs related to its pending US West merger, Qwest said it had a loss of $1.8 million, or break-even, in the latest quarter.

Qwest fell 0.38 to close at 34.44 in yesterday?s trading.

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