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ICG first quarter loss widens

ICG Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: ICGX) came in a dime short of estimates with a first quarter loss of $2.52 a share Wednesday as it continued to build its network capacity.

Shares in the telecommunications services company closed at 25 7/8 Tuesday, well below their 52-week high of 39 1/4.

While the company announced continuing records in access line installations, adding 174,000 lines for its ISP and business customers, loss from continuing operations widened to $121.3 million, or $2.52 per share. This compares to a loss from continuing operations of $86.2 million, or $1.85 per share, in the first quarter, and a loss of $100 million, or $2.10 per share, in the fourth quarter. First Call's expected loss was $2.42 a share

First quarter revenue was $157.2 million, a 11 percent increase over the fourth quarter and up 51 percent over a year ago as adjusted for discontinued operations. EBITDA was $19.2 million, an increase of $11.4 million, or 144 percent, over the comparable period in 1999.

"We set forth an aggressive growth plan for 2000, and we are right on track to meet our commitments," said Chairman and CEO J. Shelby Bryan in a company release. Both sales and provisioning capabilities are on track to deliver substantial growth in 2000, the company said.

First quarter operating costs were $82.9 million resulting in a gross margin on sales of 47 percent. First quarter selling, general and administrative expenses were $55.1 million, $12.3 million higher than the same period in 1999 as a result of the company scaling its business.

The company said it plans to fund its 2000 expansion program with a previously announced private placement of $750 million and agreements with vendors for about $200 million in financing for network equipment, along with operating cash flow.

ICG's competitors include SBC Communications (NYSE: SBC), MCI Worldcom (Nasdaq: WCOM), and GTE Corp, (NYSE: GTE), which is merging with Bell Atlantic (NYSE: BEL).