Williams Communications beats 3Q estimates

Williams Communications Group, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) beat First Call's predicted a loss of 24 cents a share in its first publicly reported quarter; the fiber optic communications company said Tuesday net loss for its third quarter was 19 cents a share.

Shares in the company closed at 32 9/16 Monday. Williams Communications, which is comparable to Qwest Communications (Nasdaq: QWST) and Level 3 (Nasdaq: LVLT), fared modestly in its October IPO.

Revenue for the third quarter was $498.3 million, an increase of $75.2 million or 18 percent over the third quarter of 1998. For the quarter ended Sept. 30, the company reported unaudited EBITDA loss of $33.9 million and a net loss of $85.9 million, or 19 cents a share. Outstanding revenue gains were made in the company's network unit, which reported revenue gains of 157 percent compared to a year ago.

During the quarter, the company extended its fiber-optic network to 19,600 route miles in operation, installed 22,600 miles of cable, launched a nationwide television advertising campaign, and secured deals with top equipment vendors, the company said.

In related news, Time Warner Telecom Inc. (Nasdaq: TWTC) said Tuesday its third-quarter revenue doubled from a year ago, as its access lines increased 23 percent over the previous quarter.

Shares closed at 27 Monday. Full third quarter results are due Thursday, the company said.

Revenue rose to $71.3 million in the third quarter from $32.7 million a year ago. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization totaled $10.7 million, compared with a loss of $5.1 million a year earlier.

The company's access lines totaled 156,727 in the third quarter, triple the total of a year earlier and up from 126,932 in the second quarter.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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