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Alaska Communications Reports Solid Fourth Quarter and Year-End 2016 Results

'Another year of solid growth'


Published:

-Posted 2016 Total Wireline Revenues of $226.9 million, a 3.2% increase-

-Reported 2016 Business and Wholesale Revenue growth of 8.2% -

-Completed debt refinance and expect to launch Convertible Note tender offer-

-Established Share Repurchase Program for up to $10 million-

 

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, March 14, 2017 -- Alaska Communications Systems Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALSK) today reported financial results for its fourth quarter and full year ended Dec. 31, 2016.

 

“We delivered wireline growth for a third consecutive year in 2016.  Year-over-year wireline revenue growth of 3.2% was driven by Business and Wholesale, which reported another year of solid growth at 8.2%. Our guidance for 2017 affirms our confidence in continued operating performance fueled by broadband market growth, continued share gain, securing an increased share of wallet with managed IT services and continued attention to cost management.

 

“Additionally, we are pleased to note several developments that we believe will generate further value to our shareholders. We have executed capacity agreements with Quintillion Networks that will open new markets in Northwest Alaska, creating yet another growth driver.  We also entered into a senior credit facility that will extend our debt maturities and allow us to launch, in the near-term, a tender offer for all of our outstanding convertible notes. Lastly, by approving a stock repurchase program for up to $10 million with purchases expected to begin no earlier than some time during the second quarter, the Board has created another avenue of capital allocation for shareholder value creation.”

 

“We are confident in performing to our organic plan. In addition, we will continue to explore strategic actions to develop scale and geographic diversification for Alaska Communications by evaluating opportunities that leverage the very unique portfolio of skills and competencies we have developed over the last several years.  We look forward to reporting progress on all fronts over the upcoming quarters,” said Anand Vadapalli, Alaska Communications president and CEO.

 

Revenue Highlights: Fourth Quarter 2016 compared to Fourth Quarter 2015 and Full Year 2016 to 2015

  • Wireline revenues:
    • Revenue increased quarterly 2.1 percent to $57.8 million and annually 3.2 percent to $226.9 million.
    • Total broadband revenue increased quarterly 8.3 percent to $30.1 million and annually 10.5 percent to $115.8 million.
  • Business and wholesale:
    • Comprised 60.3 percent of total revenue in 2016.
    • Increased quarterly 4.6 percent to $35.4 million and annually 8.2 percent to $136.9 million.
    • Broadband revenues increased quarterly 9.6 percent to $23.7 million and annually 14.7 percent to $90.8 million.
  • Consumer:
    • Comprised 16.6 percent of total revenue in 2016.
    • Revenue decreased quarterly 3.3 percent to $9.4 million and annually 5.7 percent to $37.7 million.
    • Broadband revenue increased quarterly 3.8 percent to $6.4 million and decreased annually 2.5 percent to $25.0 million.
  • Regulatory:
    • Comprised 23.0 percent of total revenue in 2016.
    • Revenue decreased quarterly 0.5 percent to $13.0 million and annually 2.0 percent to $52.3 million.

 

Financial Metrics: Fourth Quarter 2016 compared to Fourth Quarter 2015 and Full Year 2016

  • Net income for the fourth quarter was $1.6 million, compared to $0.3 million.  Full year net income was $2.3 million, and represents the first full year of operations as a pure play broadband and managed IT services provider.
  • Net cash provided by operating activities for the fourth quarter was $8.8 million, compared to $7.1 million. Full year cash provided by operating activities was $37.3 million.
  • Capital expenditures for the fourth quarter were $8.6 million, compared to $12.7 million.  Full year capital expenditures were $30.9 million.

 

Non-GAAP Metrics: Fourth Quarter 2016 compared to Fourth Quarter 2015 and Full Year 2016 to 2015

  • Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter was $16.4 million, compared to $13.8 million. Full year Adjusted EBITDA was $58.2 million, up from $49.9 million.
  • Adjusted free cash flow for the fourth quarter was $2.7 million, compared to $0.1 million. Full year Adjusted free cash flow was $9.8 million, improving $13.5 million from a net outflow of $3.7 million.

Information regarding non-GAAP financial measures, including reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures to GAAP financial measures can be found below, in tables at the end of this release and on the company’s website at http://www.alsk.com in the investment data section.

 

Balance Sheet Metrics: December 31, 2016 compared to December 31, 2015

  • Cash remained strong at $21.2 million, compared to $36.0 million, primarily reflecting the repayment of $13.4 million of long-term debt.
  • Net debt was $162.8 million, compared to $161.7 million.

 

Debt

In a separate release today, Alaska Communications announced it entered into a senior credit facility that provides for a $120 million tranche maturing in 2022 and a $60 million tranche maturing in 2023, together with a $15 million revolving credit facility.  

 

Share Repurchase Program

In a separate release today, Alaska Communications announced its board of directors has authorized a share repurchase program for up to $10 million of shares of Common Stock. Purchases of Common Stock will be subject to, among other things, federal and state securities, corporate and other laws and regulations and Alaska Communications financing arrangements.

 

2017 Guidance

Laurie Butcher, Alaska Communications senior vice-president of finance, said, “During 2016, we delivered solid operating performance.  Additionally, we have refinanced our long-term debt, removing uncertainty and extending our maturities. Our guidance for 2017 reflects our commitment to maintain strong operating results.”

Guidance for 2017 is provided as follows:

  • Total Wireline Revenue between $229 million and $235 million
  • Adjusted EBITDA between $59 million and $61 million
  • Capital Expenditures between $35 million and $38 million
  • Adjusted Free Cash Flow expected to be announced on Q1 call after completion of anticipated tender offer process for convertible debt
 
Conference Call

The Company will host a conference call and live webcast on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time to discuss the results. The live webcast will include a slide presentation. Parties in the United States and Canada can access the call at 1-800-245-1683 and enter pass code 264066. All other parties can access the call at 1-719-325-2120.

The live webcast of the conference call will be accessible from the "Events Calendar" section of the Company's website (www.alsk.com). The webcast will be archived for a period of 90 days. A telephonic replay of the conference call will also be available two hours after the call and will run until April 13, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. To hear the replay, parties in the United States and Canada can call 1-888-203-1112 and enter pass code 5845595. All other parties can call 1-719-457-0820 and enter pass code 5845595.

 

About Alaska Communications

Alaska Communications (NASDAQ: ALSK) is the leading provider of advanced broadband and managed IT services for businesses and consumers in Alaska. The company operates a highly reliable, advanced statewide data network with the latest technology and the most diverse undersea fiber optic system connecting Alaska to the contiguous U.S. For more information, visit www.alaskacommunications.com or www.alsk.com.

 

Non-GAAP Measures

In an effort to provide investors with additional information regarding our financial results, we have provided certain non-GAAP financial information, including Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Free Cash Flow and Net Debt. Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted Free Cash Flow measure the Company’s primary business activities without regard for the effects of special items and income tax structure. Adjusted EBITDA eliminates the effects of period to period changes in costs that are not directly attributable to the underlying performance of the Company’s business operations and is used by Management and the Company’s Board of Directors to evaluate current operating financial performance, analyze and evaluate strategic and operational decisions and better evaluate comparability between periods. Adjusted Free Cash Flow is a non-GAAP liquidity measured used by Management and the Company’s Board of Directors to assess the Company’s ability to generate cash and plan for future operating and capital actions. Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted Free Cash Flow are common measures utilized by our peers (other telecommunications companies) and we believe they provide useful information to investors and analysts about the Company’s operating results, financial condition and cash flows. Net Debt provides Management and the Company’s Board of Directors with a measure of the Company’s current leverage position. The definition of these non-GAAP measures is provided on Schedules 4, 6 and 9 to this press release. Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted Free Cash Flow should not be considered a substitute for Net Income, Net Cash Provided by Operating Activities and other measures of financial performance recorded in accordance with GAAP. Reconciliations of our non-GAAP measures to our nearest GAAP measures can be found in the tables in this release and on our website in the investment data section. Other companies may not calculate non-GAAP measures in the same manner as Alaska Communications. The Company does not provide reconciliations of guidance for Adjusted EBITDA to Net Income, and Adjusted Free Cash Flow to Net Cash from Operating Activities, in reliance on the unreasonable efforts exception provided under Item 10(e)(1)(i)(B) of Regulation S-K. The Company does not forecast certain items required to develop the comparable GAAP financial measures. These items are realized and unrealized gains and losses on effective and ineffective hedges, charges and benefits for uncollectible accounts, certain other non-cash expenses, unusual items typically excluded from Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted Free Cash Flow, and changes in operating assets and liabilities (generally the most significant of these items, representing cash outflows of $6.1 million and $3.9 million in the twelve-month periods of 2016 and 2015, respectively).

 

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release includes certain "forward-looking statements," as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on management's beliefs as well as on a number of assumptions concerning future events made using information currently available to management. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on such forward-looking statements, which are not a guarantee of performance and are subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the Company’s control. Such factors include, without limitation, Federal and Alaska Universal Service Fund changes, our ability to meet the terms and conditions of the new credit facility, draw down funds under the facility and continue to meet its requirements, our ability to commence the expected tender offer for our 6.25% Convertible Notes or otherwise repurchase such notes due 2018 or make repurchases of shares of Common Stock under the Company’s repurchase plan or otherwise, adverse economic conditions, the effects of competition in our markets, our relatively small size compared with our competitors, the Company’s ability to compete, manage, integrate, market, maintain, and attract sufficient customers for its products and services, adverse changes in labor matters, including workforce levels, our ability to service our debt (including pursuant to our refinanced credit arrangements) and refinance as required, labor negotiations, including renegotiating our collective bargaining agreement, employee benefit costs, our ability to control other operating costs, disruption of our supplier’s provisioning of critical products or services, the impact of natural or man-made disasters, changes in Company's relationships with large customers, unforeseen changes in public policies, regulatory changes, changes in technology and standards, our internal control over financial reporting, and changes in accounting standards or policies, which could  affect reported financial results. For further information regarding risks and uncertainties associated with the Company’s business, please refer to the Company's SEC filings, including, but not limited to, the sections entitled "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" in our most recent annual report on Form 10-K and subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. Copies of the Company's SEC filings may be obtained by contacting its investor relations department at (907) 564-7556 or by visiting its investor relations website at www.alsk.com or at the SEC’s website, www.sec.gov .

 

Important Information Regarding the Expected Tender Offer

This press release is for informational purposes only and is neither an offer to buy nor the solicitation of an offer to sell any and all of Alaska Communications Systems Group Inc.’s outstanding 6.25% Convertible Notes due 2018. The expected tender offer described in this press release has not yet commenced, and there can be no assurances that Alaska Communications will commence the tender offer on the terms and conditions described in this press release or at all. If Alaska Communications commences the tender offer, the tender offer will be made solely by an Offer to Purchase, the Letter of Transmittal and related materials, as they may be amended or supplemented. Stockholders should read Alaska Communications’ commencement tender offer statement on Schedule TO expected to be filed with the SEC in connection with the tender offer, which will include as exhibits the Offer to Purchase, the Letter of Transmittal and related materials, as well as any amendments or supplements to the Schedule TO when they become available, because they will contain important information. If Alaska Communications commences the tender offer, each of these documents will be filed with the SEC, and, when available, stockholders may obtain them for free from the SEC at its website (www.sec.gov) or from the Company’s information agent in connection with the tender offer. 

 

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