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Windstream Holdings, Inc. Crushed Q4 Earnings Targets

By Anders Bylund – Feb 27, 2014 at 11:11AM

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While managing a long-term strategy shift, Windstream delivered strong earnings in the fourth quarter.

Image source: Windstream.

Windstream Holdings (WINMQ) this morning reported fourth-quarter results in three parts: a press release, a two-page slide deck, and financial data in a third document.

The provider of chiefly business-class networking services reported a 3% year-over-year revenue decline to $1.5 billion, netting GAAP earnings of $0.20 per share. These results did not disappoint; Wall Street analysts expected earnings around $0.10 per share on $1.5 billion in revenue.

Thirty percent of Windstream's voice service accounts signed off in 2013. The company is making up for these expected losses by stepping up sales of broadband lines and proprietary business services, like cloud hosting and data center co-location.

As the consumer-level voice business continues to shrink, Windstream is shifting its customer mix ever more into the enterprise segment. Business services now account for 74% of the company's total sales, up from 73% a year ago.

"We are executing a growth-oriented strategy while also managing our legacy business for profitability," said Windstream CEO Jeff Gardner. He aims to balance growth investments with debt reduction and solid dividends.

Windstream's current 12.7% dividend yield is supported by cash flows. Sixty-seven percent of Windstream's free cash flows were funneled into dividend checks in the fourth quarter, and Gardner expects to keep this ratio between 68% and 78% in fiscal year 2014.

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Anders Bylund has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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