CenturyLink, Inc.(NYSE:CTL)’s shares slumped as much as 13% in late hours trading as the company posted soft fourth quarter earnings and worse than than estimated revenue for the current quarter.
The company posted profit of 67 cents on revenue of $4.85 billion, missed analysts’ estimates by a penny and revenue by $10 million.
For the first quarter the company projects to earn 67-72 cents a share on revenue of $4.46B-$4.51B, compared to analysts’ target of 66 cents a share on revenue of $4.55 billion.
For the full year 2013, the company expects to earn $2.50-$2.70 on revenue of $18.1B-$18.3B, again missed analysts’ target of $2.64 a share on revenue of $18.2B.
The company authorized a $2 stock buyback program and lowered dividend to $0.54/share from $0.725/share.
Q4 free cash flow was $610M, up from $515M in year-ago period. But 2013 free cash flow expected to fall to $3B-$3.2B from 2012′s $3.33B.
In other news, Fitch Ratings has downgraded the Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) of CenturyLink, Inc. (CenturyLink) and its subsidiaries to ‘BB+’ from ‘BBB-’. The downgrade to ‘BB+’ also applies to CenturyLink’s approximately $6.25 billion of senior unsecured notes and its senior unsecured revolving credit facility.