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GCI Reports Third Quarter 2015 Financial Results

Consolidated Revenue of $259 million; Adjusted EBITDA of $97 million


Published:

November 4, 2015, Anchorage, Alaska - General Communication, Inc. ("GCI") (NASDAQ: GNCMA) today reported its third quarter 2015 results.

Growth in broadband data subscribers and ARPU coupled with strong wireless roaming drove consolidated revenues for the third quarter of 2015 to $259 million, an increase of $18 million or seven percent when compared with the third quarter of 2014.

Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $97 million, growing $3 million or four percent compared with the third quarter of 2014. EBITDA for the quarter was negatively affected by $4 million in AWN-related transition costs and the absence of political advertising, which was particularly strong in the third quarter of 2014. On a comparative basis, quarterly EBITDA benefited from $8 million in equipment installment plan revenue versus $7 million in the second quarter of 2015 and none in 2014.  As more customers take our equipment installment plans, we are seeing a reduction in ARPU which dampens the EBITDA benefit of equipment installment revenue.

"We are pleased with our strong quarter led by roaming and backhaul revenues of $45 million", said Ron Duncan, GCI's president and Chief Executive Officer.  "We anticipate that this quarter will represent the high water mark of those revenues for the foreseeable future.  We have been working with our largest carrier customers to offer them a competitive alternative that will reduce their rates, eliminate the seasonality in our revenues, and retain significant traffic on our network. If we're successful, we will have the majority of our roaming traffic on long-term contracts but cash receipts from roaming and backhaul could decrease by approximately 20 percent for 2016 as compared to 2015."

Transition Highlights

The AWN transition remains on track.  As of the end of the third quarter, we had transitioned nearly half of the newly acquired customers from the legacy billing platform onto our billing platform and LTE network. 

Operating and Financial Highlights

Wireless:

The wireless segment posted revenues of $80 million for the quarter, representing a five percent increase over the third quarter of 2014 and an 18 percent increase over the prior quarter. Year-over-year growth was due to exceptionally strong roaming activity. Sequential growth was due to the seasonal nature of roaming.

The Wireless segment revenue detail is as follows:

 

($ millions)

3Q15

3Q14

2Q15

Wholesale Wireless

21

25

21

Roaming and Backhaul

45

38

34

USF Support

14

13

13

Total Wireless Revenue

80

76

68

 

Wireless segment adjusted EBITDA was $57 million for the quarter, an increase of $10 million or 21 percent over the third quarter of 2014, and a sequential increase of $12 million or 26 percent over the second quarter of 2015. Adjusted EBITDA growth was primarily driven by strong roaming revenue.

Wireline:

The wireline segment posted revenues of $178 million, a $14 million or eight percent increase over the third quarter of 2014 and a $1 million or one percent decline over the prior quarter.

Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $39 million. EBITDA declined by $7 million or 15 percent year-over-year.  The EBITDA decline year-over-year was driven by AWN transition costs and the decline in cable advertising revenues due to strong political advertising in 2014.

Wireline - Consumer:

Consumer revenues were $88 million for the quarter, a year-over-year increase of $15 million or 21 percent. Revenue growth was driven by the inclusion of acquired wireless subscribers, equipment installment plan revenues, and strong growth in data subscribers and data ARPUs.  On a sequential basis revenues were down $2 million.  This was driven by a decline in wireless ARPUs, which are down due to migrating our acquired customers onto better plans and the effect of equipment installment plans.

Our high speed data product offerings continue to lead the market.  In September, we strengthened that leadership position by launching our Gigabit red consumer data service in Anchorage.  By the end of the year, all Anchorage homes passed by our cable plant will have access to this service, a first in the nation.

Wireline - Business Services:

Business Services revenues, which include broadcast and cable advertising revenues, were $52 million for the quarter, representing an $8 million or 13 percent decline over the third quarter of 2014 and a $1 million or two percent decline sequentially. 

Year-over-year declines were driven in large part by a $6 million decline in video revenues associated with the strong political advertising market in 2014. The remainder of the decline is a result of rate compression in the commercial data market.

Wireline - Managed Broadband:

Managed Broadband revenues were $38 million for the quarter, representing a $6 million or 20 percent increase year-over-year and a $1 million or two percent increase sequentially. Managed Broadband continues to benefit from our significant infrastructure investments in rural Alaska.

SG&A

SG&A expenses were $83 million in the third quarter of 2015, up $10 million or 14 percent from a year ago and down slightly sequentially. Year-over-year growth is a result of AWN transition costs and incremental costs to serve our acquired wireless customers.

Other Events

During the quarter, GCI repurchased 0.4 million shares of its Class A common stock bringing the total shares repurchased in 2015 to 2.8 million.

Capital expenditures for the quarter totaled $47 million bringing our total for the year to $126 million.

2015 Guidance

Our 2015 guidance remains unchanged; however, we are expecting to end the year near the top of the revenue and EBITDA range.

  • Revenues are unchanged and in the range of $920 - 970 million.
  • Adjusted EBITDA remains at $310 - $335 million.
  • Core capital expenditures are unchanged and will be approximately $170 million.

Conference Call

The company will hold a conference call to discuss the financial results on Thursday, November 5, at 2:00 p.m. (Eastern). To access the call, call the conference operator between 1:45-2:00 p.m. (Eastern) at 844-850-0551 (International callers should dial +1-412-902-4197) and identify your call as "GCI".

In addition to dial-up access, GCI will make available net conferencing. To access the call via net conference, log on to gci.com and follow the instructions.

A replay of the call will be available for 72-hours by dialing 877-344-7529, access code 10069357 (International callers should dial +1-412-317-0088).

Forward-Looking Statement Disclosure

The foregoing contains forward-looking statements regarding GCI's expected results that are based on management's expectations as well as on a number of assumptions concerning future events. Actual results might differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements due to uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside GCI's control. Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements is contained in GCI's cautionary statement sections of Forms 10-K and 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

About GCI

GCI is the largest Alaska-based and operated, integrated telecommunications provider, offering wireless, voice, data, and video services statewide. Learn more about GCI at www.gci.com.

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