What happened

Shares of CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL) declined on Thursday after the telecommunications company reported its fourth-quarter results. Revenue declined less than expected and earnings were in line with analyst expectations, but the stock was still down about 7.9% at 11:45 a.m. EST. Shares were down as much as 11.4% earlier in the day.

So what

CenturyLink reported fourth-quarter revenue of $5.57 billion, down 3.6% year over year and $20 million higher than the average analyst estimate. International and global accounts revenue was down 2% to $904 million, enterprise revenue was flat at $1.56 billion, small and medium business revenue was down 3% to $731 million, wholesale revenue was down 7% to $994 million, and consumer revenue was down 6% to $1.39 billion.

A stock chart with a declining arrow.

Image source: Getty Images.

Non-GAAP (adjusted) earnings per share came in at $0.33, down from $0.37 in the prior-year period and in line with analyst expectations. Adjusted EBITDA was $2.1 billion, down 3.8% year over year.

"We are excited about the opportunity we see for profitable revenue growth from ongoing market dynamics, such as the growth in security, IoT, big data, 5G, AI and the demand for edge computing," said CenturyLink CEO Jeff Storey.

Now what

For 2020, CenturyLink expects to produce adjusted EBITDA between $9 billion and $9.2 billion, compared to $8.8 billion in 2019. Free cash flow is expected between $3.1 billion and $3.4 billion.

Other expectations include dividends of $1.1 billion, interest expense of $1.8 billion, capital expenditures between $3.6 billion and $3.9 billion, and an effective income tax rate of 28%.

While CenturyLink's results were mostly in line with expectations, they weren't good enough for investors on Thursday.