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Shentel reports strong Q2

Posted 2 August 2017 5:08 PM by Shentel

EDINBURG, Va., Aug. 01, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Shenandoah Telecommunications Company (“Shentel”) (NASDAQ:SHEN) announces financial and operating results for the three months ended June 30, 2017.

Consolidated Second Quarter Results

For the quarter ended June 30, 2017, the Company reported total revenues of $153.3 million, an increase of 17.6% compared to $130.3 million for the 2016 second quarter. The second quarter of 2016 was the first quarter that included results of the nTelos acquisition and exchange transaction with Sprint completed on May 6, 2016. While all segments reported revenue increases, the Wireless segment had the largest increase in the current quarter. The integration of nTelos’ operations and the transition of its assets and customers is progressing ahead of schedule, and Shentel expects to complete both the migration of nTelos customers to the Sprint platform and its network upgrade by the end of the third quarter of 2017.

Wireless service revenues increased 24% as a result of the nTelos acquisition. Cable segment revenues increased 12.0% due to a 1.1% increase in average Revenue Generating Units (RGUs), video price increases to offset increases in programming costs, and new and existing customers selecting higher-speed data packages. Wireline segment revenues increased 5.3% due to increases in fiber and access contracts.

Total operating expenses were $145.0 million in the second quarter of 2017 compared to $136.5 million in the prior year period. Operating expenses in the second quarter of 2017 included $5.4 million of integration and acquisition costs associated with the nTelos acquisition and exchange transaction with Sprint. An additional $1.7 million of costs were incurred to operate and support the nTelos back office and billing functions until customers can migrate to Sprint platforms. This cost was included in cost of goods and services and selling, general and administrative expenses in the Wireless segment.

For the quarter ended June 30, 2017, the Company reported net loss of $0.1 million, compared to net loss of $7.0 million in the second quarter of 2016 representing an improvement of $6.9 million, or 99% over June 30, 2016. This improvement primarily relates to reductions in the integration and acquisition expenses, partially offset by an increase in depreciation and amortization, and higher interest on the increased balance of outstanding debt as a result of the nTelos acquisition.

Adjusted OIBDA (Operating Income Before Depreciation and Amortization) increased 24% to $69.4 million in the second quarter of 2017 from $55.9 million in the second quarter of 2016. Continuing OIBDA (Adjusted OIBDA less the benefit received from the waived Sprint management fee) increased 21.0% to $60.3 million from $49.8 million in the second quarter of 2016.

During the second quarter of 2017, the Company announced the April 6, 2017 closing of its amended Affiliate agreement with Sprint, which expands its affiliate service territory with a population of 500,000 in the Parkersburg, WV; Huntington, WV and Cumberland, MD basic trading areas. Including this expansion, Shentel has authorization to serve over 6 million POPs in the mid-Atlantic region as a Sprint PCS Affiliate. Shentel has agreed to invest approximately $32 million over the next three years to upgrade and expand the existing wireless network in those regions.

President and CEO Christopher E. French commented, “Our second quarter results demonstrate continued momentum across the business, with revenue growth and improved Adjusted OIBDA in all segments. Our wireless business is driving our growth as we continue to efficiently execute the migration of nTelos customers and operations, which we expect to be completed by the end of the third quarter of 2017. Additionally, we are pleased to have the opportunity to serve an expanded affiliate service territory through our amended affiliate agreement with Sprint, which will allow us to provide enhanced coverage for our subscribers through a broader presence in the Mid-Atlantic.

Wireless Segment

Second quarter wireless service revenues increased $20.8 million or 24.0%, primarily related to the impact of a full quarter of the addition of approximately 560,000 postpaid and prepaid customers from the nTelos acquisition. Additionally, the segment benefited from a reduction in the postpaid management fees retained by Sprint as part of our amended affiliate agreement with Sprint.

Shentel serviced 732,664 wireless postpaid customers at June 30, 2017, up 2.1% over June 30, 2016, and up over 2.1% compared with the first quarter of 2017. Second quarter postpaid churn was 2.0% for the total company and 1.5% in the Legacy area. The Company had a net loss of 3,450 postpaid customers in the quarter with the Legacy area adding 2,845. Tablets were only 9.5% of postpaid gross PCS subscriber additions for the quarter, down from 10.1% in the first quarter of 2017.

Shentel serviced 246,800 prepaid wireless customers at June 30, 2017, a decrease of 42,511 compared to the second quarter of last year. This decrease includes the 24 thousand impact of Sprint defining the length of time an inactive customer would be carried in the customer counts and a 4,300 reduction related to the government's more stringent qualifications for the Assurance service. Total second quarter prepaid churn was 5.5% and 5.4% in the Legacy area. The Company has a net loss of 2,719 prepaid customers in the second quarter of 2017, with the Legacy area losing 134. In the second quarter, Sprint purged approximately 4,300 Assurance customers that didn’t meet the federal government’s more stringent qualifications for service.

During the second quarter, the Company migrated 26,504 postpaid nTelos customers to Sprint’s back office, for a total of 142,852 since the acquisition. As planned, the prepaid migration was completed in late December, and the outsourced prepaid billing arrangement was terminated. At the current pace, Shentel expects to complete migrating the remaining postpaid nTelos customers by the end of the third quarter 2017.

Second quarter Adjusted OIBDA in the Wireless segment was $58.2 million, an increase of 29.4% from the second quarter of 2016. Continuing OIBDA in the Wireless segment was $49.0 million, up $10.1 million from the second quarter of 2016.

Mr. French continued, “During the past year we have more than doubled our wireless customer base with the addition of legacy nTelos customers and we are making solid progress with our ongoing efforts to improve our network and enhance our service offerings, so that we continue to attract new customers. The wireless segment has long been a growth driver for our Company, and we are energized by the many opportunities we’re seeing to bring our reliable coverage and comprehensive service plans to a growing audience of consumers.

Cable Segment

Service revenues in the Cable segment increased $2.7 million or 11.2% to $26.9 million, primarily due to 1.1% growth in RGUs (the sum of voice, data, and video users) to 132,287 as of June 30, 2017, video rate increases implemented in January 2017 to pass through programming cost increases, and new and existing customers selecting higher speed data access packages. Operating expenses increased 2.5% or $0.6 million in the second quarter of 2017. Operating income was $3.7 million compared with $1.2 million in the prior year, primarily due to the continued transformation of our Cable segment from a video focus to broadband.

Adjusted OIBDA in the Cable segment for second quarter 2017 was $9.9 million, up 35.6% from $7.3 million in the second quarter of 2016.

Access to high speed bandwidth is a priority among cable subscribers and our state-of-the-art network provides both the speed and the reliability that our customers demand. This gives us a competitive advantage in attracting new subscribers and in meeting the needs of existing customers looking to upgrade their service packages,” Mr. French stated.

Wireline Segment

Revenue in the Wireline segment increased 5.3% to $19.6 million in the second quarter of 2017, as compared to $18.6 million in the second quarter of 2016. Carrier access and fiber revenue for the second quarter of 2017 was $13.0 million, an increase of 6.1% from the same quarter last year, primarily as a result of new fiber contracts. Increases in broadband service revenue offset the loss of regulated voice service revenue. Operating expenses increased 5.6% or $0.8 million to $14.2 million for second quarter 2017, primarily due to costs to support new fiber contracts.

Adjusted OIBDA in the Wireline segment for second quarter 2017 was $8.6 million, as compared to $8.3 million in second quarter 2016.

Other Information

Capital expenditures were $30.2 million in the second quarter of 2017 compared to $39.6 million in the comparable 2016 period. To date, the company has spent or committed $92.3 or about 59% of the estimated 2017 capital budget.

Cash and cash equivalents as of June 30, 2017 were $59.8 million, compared to $36.2 million at December 31, 2016. Total outstanding debt at June 30, 2017 totaled $844.0 million, net of unamortized loan costs, compared to $829.3 million as of December 31, 2016. At June 30, 2017, debt as a percent of total assets was 58.5%. The amount available to the Company through its revolver facility was $75.0 million.