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SBC tops estimates on wireless and international growth

    SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) beat estimates for its first quarter Tuesday, citing strong growth in its wireless, data and international operations for better-than-expected results.

    Shares closed at 42 1/4 Monday, below its 52-week high of 59 7/8. The stock has taken a dip since the company announced plans to buy electronic business specialist, Sterling Commerce (NYSE: SE).

    The company said first-quarter profits, excluding one-time items, increased a bettter-than-expected 12 percent to $1.9 billion, or 56 cents a share, compared with $1.7 billion, or 49 cents a share, a year ago. Results exceeded First Call's expectations of 52 cents a share.

    Revenue grew 8.4 percent to $12.6 billion. Including one-time items, SBC's first-quarter profits were $1.8 billion, or 53 cents a share, compared with $2.0 billion, or 51 cents a share a year ago.

    SBC reiterated that it expects double-digit revenue growth and midteens earnings growth beginning in 2001.

    The company saw data revenues grow 40.8 percent to $1.6 billion, and 30.1 percent growth in domestic wireless subscriber revenues to $1.5 billion.

    SBC's recent moves, designed to further boost its wireless and broadband business include a joint venture with BellSouth (NYSE: BLS) to form the second-largest U.S. wireless company and a marketing alliance with Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) to accelerate delivery of broadband services.

    SBC competes with GTE , merger partner to Bell Atlantic (NYSE: BEL), which also reported quarterly results Tuesday, as well as MCI Worldcom (Nasdaq: WCOM) and AT&T (NYSE: T).