Verizon Communications Inc VZ
Q3 2011 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 10/21/2011

Operator: Good morning, and welcome to the Verizon Third Quarter 2011 Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants have been placed in a listen-only mode, and the floor will be opened for questions following the presentation.

Today's conference is being recorded. If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time.

It is now my pleasure to turn the call over to your host, Mr. John Doherty, Senior Vice President, Investor Relations for Verizon.

John N. Doherty - SVP, IR: Thanks, Brad. Good morning, and welcome to our third quarter 2011 earnings conference call. Thanks for joining us this morning. I'm John Doherty. With me this morning is Fran Shammo.

Before we get started, let me remind you that our earnings release, financial and operating information, the investor quarterly and the presentation slides are available on our Investor Relations website. This call is being webcast. If you would like to listen to a replay, you can do so from our website.

I would also like to draw your attention to our Safe Harbor statement. Information in this presentation contains statements about expected future events and financial results that are forward-looking and subject to risks and uncertainties. Discussion of factors that may affect future results is contained in Verizon's filing with the SEC, which are also available on our website.

This presentation also contains certain non-GAAP financial measures. Reconciliations of these non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measures are also on our website.

For the third quarter of 2011, we reported earnings of $0.49 per share on a GAAP basis. These results include $201 million or $0.07 per share for non-operational charge for pension-related items, primarily comprised of actuarial remeasurement losses related to employees, who received lump sum distributions in connection with previously announced separation plans. On an adjusted basis, EPS was $0.56 bringing our year-to-date total to $1.63.

With that, I'll now turn the call over to Fran.

Francis J. Shammo - EVP and CFO: Thanks, John, and good morning, everyone. Before we get into the details, let me start with some brief comments. We had another quarter of solid execution and earnings performance. Adjusted earnings were higher than the same quarter last year and would have been higher sequentially if not for some extraordinary and hopefully nonrecurring challenges this quarter. In spite of this additional pressure from the storms and the strike, which had about $0.05 impact on EPS in the quarter, we remain on track to achieve our full year earnings guidance of 5% to 8% growth in adjusted earnings per share of a base of $2.08 in 2010.

In terms of cash generation, we had a strong quarter with disciplined capital spending, resulting in a solid increase in free cash flow. I'd also highlight that our Board of Directors approved a 2.6% dividend increase in September, which on an annual basis, is an increase from $1.95 to $2 per share. This marked the fifth consecutive year of dividend increases, a testament to our Board's confidence in the sustainability of our cash flows.

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