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SBC tops 3Q estimate

    SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) reported third quarter earnings of 56 cents a share Monday, a penny above First Call's consensus estimate.

    Shares were up 0.88 to 51.63 Monday. The company cited its rapidly expanding data services business, wireless operations, and entry into the Texas long-distance market in the strong third-quarter results.

    Normalized third-quarter revenues grew 8 percent to $13.5 billion.

    Diluted earnings per share before one-time items were 57 cents a share, the same as the year-ago quarter, reflecting SBC's investment in broadband capabilities as well as increased marketing expenses to support its July launch of long-distance services in Texas.

    Highlights of third-quarter growth include 46.1 percent growth in data revenues to $2.0 billion, and the addition of 486,000 wireless customers. The company said it had 862,000 long-distance customers in Texas at the end of the quarter, and 1 million by Oct. 18.

    The company said it is ahead of schedule on many growth initiatives, and it is confidant it can deliver its target of double-digit revenue growth and mid-teens earnings growth beginning in 2001.

    Results including one-time items, including the impacts of its international divestitures and other one-time items, showed net income of $3.0 billion, or 88 cents diluted earnings per share, compared with $1.1 billion, or 33 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.

    Reported net income for the third quarter of 2000 includes gains of $1.3 billion principally from the sales of MATAV, a Hungarian telecommunications company, and NetCom, a wireless provider in Norway, and about $300 million in merger-related costs.