The regional telecom reported non-GAAP fourth-quarter earnings of $0.07 per share on sales of $1.2 billion. That's a $0.01 increase in earnings per share and essentially flat revenue, both counted year over year. Among other adjustments, these earnings include a $0.01 headwind per share as Frontier prepares to buy AT&T 's (NYSE: T) Connecticut wireline operations.
Analysts were expecting both he top and bottom lines to stay unchanged from the year-ago period, which means that Frontier scored a small earnings surprise.
Frontier added approximately 28,000 broadband customers in the quarter, completing a four-quarter streak where Frontier added more Internet accounts in a quarter than it did in all of fiscal year 2012. The company also lost a total of 18,700 wireline telephone customers in the quarter.
"For 2013, our total shareholder return was among the highest in the telecom sector," said Frontier CEO Maggie Wilderotter. Frontier currently offers an 8.6% dividend yield and spent 40% of the fourth quarter's free cash flows on dividend checks. "We are looking forward to the closing of the AT&T Connecticut transaction in the second half which is expected to increase our free cash flow and improve our dividend payout ratio."