Q1 2014 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 04/24/2014

As we have previously stated, we are targeting 4% consolidated top line growth in 2014, with an expansion of our consolidated EBITDA margin.

The ingredients for success are unchanged; solid operational execution and a disciplined focus on meeting our financial objectives and creating value for our shareholders. With an eventful first quarter behind us, I'd say, we are off to a strong start.

We maintained our growth momentum and delivered excellent top-line and bottom-line results. While the timing of the Wireless transaction closing caused some reporting complexity, our $0.84 adjusted earnings per share represent a growth of 23.5% and would be even greater if we assume full ownership of Wireless for the entire quarter.

We have consistently delivered high-quality earnings growth with double-digit increases in reported and adjusted earnings per share in eight of the last nine quarters. Our cash flow generation in the quarter was also impressive and we continue to invest in our networks and platforms.

Our Wireless results were very good with service revenue growth of 7.5% and a service EBITDA margin of 52.1%, an expansion of a 170 basis points. In FiOS, our positive revenue growth trends and scale drove a 6.2% increase in consumer revenue. Total Wireline operating revenue declined 0.4% in the quarter, which is our best result in nearly three years.

In terms of profitability, our EBITDA margin was 22.3%, up 90 basis points. Now, let's get into our first quarter performance in more detail, starting with consolidated results on Slide 6.

Total operating revenues grew 4.8% in the first quarter, continuing our consistent top-line growth trend and was our highest growth rate in the past five quarters. Top-line growth was once again driven by Wireless and FiOS. In terms of new revenue streams, machine-to-machine and telematics while still relatively small are beginning to emerge and make positive contribution with revenue growth in excess of 40%.

Our focus on operating efficiency and cost controls is enabling our ability to compete effectively and drive consistent profitable growth. In The first quarter, consolidated operating expenses grew 2%. Operating income growth was 15.1%. We have posted double-digit growth in operating income in eight of the last nine quarters. Consolidated EBITDA grew 9.3% while our EBITDA margin expanded by 160 basis points to 36.7%.

Let's take a look at cash flow results next on Slide 7. When looking at our cash flows, it is important to keep in mind that post transaction we have immediate access to the full Verizon Wireless cash flow and apart from a contractual tax distribution in the second quarter for the stub period, we will no longer be making any cash distributions to Vodafone. As a result, the amount of cash available to us will be significantly greater this year. This is true for the simple reason that under the partnership structure, 45% of excess cash at Wireless would at some point be distributed to Vodafone.

As we discussed on our February 24 call, there will be some lack of comparability between current and prior periods in the statement of cash flows. In 2014, the cash flows from operations line will include higher cash payments for interest and taxes. The cash flows from financing section will have lower cash distributions to Vodafone and higher overall dividend payments to our shareholders due to the increase in shares outstanding.

Read our Earnings Call Transcript disclaimer.
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