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Windstream shares fall after profit declines 30 percent

By TROY L. SMITH
 - 11/8/2012 3:14:49 PM

Profit at Windstream Corp. fell more than 30 percent during the third quarter, in part because of merger, integration and restructuring charges.

Arkansas-based Windstream, which acquired Paetec Holding Corp. last December, reported a net income of $53.7 million, or 9 cents per share, for the quarter, down from $78.1 million, or 15 cents a share, a year ago.

The company logged revenues of $1.55 billion, up from $1billion a year ago, but down 1 percent on a pro forma basis, which includes Paetec results and excludes merger and acquisition costs related to strategic transactions.

Analysts expected revenues of $1.56 billion and earnings of 13 cents a share.

Windstream officials said results for the quarter included $7.8 million in after-tax merger and integration expenses, and $7.5 million in restructuring costs. Excluding those charges, earnings would have been 12 cents a share for the quarter, the company said.

Windstream’s total cost and expenses were $1.3 billion, up from $750 million last year. The company said it has completed restructuring of its management organization during the third quarter, which it estimated will result in annual savings of approximately $40 million.

“Our business continues to perform well, and I am confident in our ability to deliver strong free cash flow long-term to support our dividend,” said Jeffery Gardner, president and CEO of Windstream, in a statement. “The dividend is a key component of our investment thesis, and we believe it is the best way to provide returns to our shareholders.”

Shares of Windstream stock (NasdaqGS: WIN) were trading Thursday midday at $8.61, down nearly 9 percent, or 81 cents, from Wednesday’s close.

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