Level 3 Communications 1Q loss narrows

Level 3 Communications Inc., which provides Internet networking services, said on Tuesday that its first-quarter loss narrowed on higher revenue and lower costs.

The company reported a loss of $205 million, or 12 cents per share, compared with a loss of $238 million, or 14 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago. Excluding one-time items, Level 3 would have posted a loss of 11 cents per share, missing analysts' forecast by a penny, according to FactSet.

However, Level 3 exceeded analysts' revenue expectations. Revenue rose to $929 million from $910 million, above analysts' $922.6 million estimate. Level 3's biggest communications network segment, wholesale, recorded a 2 percent revenue gain. European revenue jumped 11 percent, with increases of 6 percent from large business and federal clients, and 3 percent from mid-market clients. Wholesale voice services revenue slipped 1 percent.

The company's total costs and expenses continued to exceed revenue, despite falling nearly 2 percent to $933 million from $951 million. Other expenses, primarily from interest costs, fell 11 percent to $174 million. The company also recorded an income tax expense of $27 million.

On April 11, Level 3 announced plans to buy Global Crossing Ltd. for $2 billion, joining two major long-distance telecommunications networks. The combined company's reach would extend to 70 countries on three continents.

Shares of Level 3 closed up a penny at $1.65.


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