Winstar's 3Q loss tops estimates

Winstar Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: WCII) racked up a third quarter net loss of $179 million, or $3.28 a share, but handily beat First Call's expected loss of $3.44 a share.

Shares in the broadband communications company closed at 40 3/8 Tuesday ahead of the announcement. Winstar also beat estimates in its second quarter.

Revenue for the third quarter was $97.6 million, up 162 percent over 1998's third quarter total of $37.2 million and up more than a 27 percent over the second quarter. Winstar's current core revenue run rate exceeds $377 million, as compared with $176 million at September. Gross margins rose sharply to a record level of 30.1 percent, compared with 24 percent in the second quarter. EBITDA losses for the quarter narrowed to $72.6 million, more than a $10 million improvement over the second quarter.

The company said it has increased profitability by cost reductions on its long- and short-haul network; improved on-net customer margins; and new revenue streams. Highlights for the quarter includes the addition of 80,000 lines, more building access rights, and a big jump in core customers.