Enter multiple symbols separated by commas

AT&T Earns 61 Cents a Share, Beating Estimates

AT&T, the nation's top telecom company, said on Thursday fourth-quarter earnings rose, bolstered by growth in Internet and wireless subscribers.

The San Antonio company also raised its forecast on the expected benefits from its merger with BellSouth, a deal that closed in late December and reinforced its position as the biggest U.S. phone company.

AT&T said profit, excluding merger-related costs and other special items, rose 38.5% from a year earlier, to $2.4 billion, or 61 cents a share. The results include AT&T's 60% stake in Cingular Wireless -- a stake that rose to 100% when AT&T acquired BellSouth, which had owned the remaining 40% in Cingular. Results exceeded a Thomson Financial consensus estimate by two cents.

Including costs such as those related to recent mergers, AT&T's net income rose 17.1% from the same quarter a year earlier to $1.9 billion, or 50 cents per diluted share.

AT&T will host a webcast at 10 am to discuss results.

Formed through a merger of SBC Communications and AT&T in 2005, the company's acquisition strategy has given it a competitive advantage to offset declining sales of traditional phone lines, analysts say.

Cingular, which is being rebranded as AT&T, said on Wednesday its fourth quarter profit nearly quadrupled, boosted by stronger-than-expected customer additions. It was the last quarter Cingular will report as a standalone entity.

The wireless unit earned $782 million, compared with $204 million in the same quarter of 2005. The company reported revenue of $9.8 billion for the fourth quarter of 2006.

AT&T also said its high-speed Internet subscribers totaled 8.5 million, up 23.4% from a year earlier.

AT&T said it realized $1.1 billion in total synergies from the SBC merger, compared to its forecast last year for $600 million to $800 million in synergies.

The company said it expects synergies from the BellSouth merger to be higher than previously forecast. It said it expects total synergies to be $0.8 billion to $1.2 billion in 2007, up from a previously expected $0.5 billion to $0.8 billion.

It said it now sees the net value of the synergies to be around $22 billion, up from a previous estimate of $18 billion.

The company now expects to deliver double-digit percentage growth in adjusted earnings per share in 2007 and 2008, it said.

Contact U.S. News


    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    Please choose a subscription

    Please enter a valid email address
    To learn more about how we use your information,
    please read our Privacy Policy.

Don't Miss

U.S. Video

  • Hero miles for military members: Real estate magnate's plea

    Chairman of the Fisher House Foundation, Ken Fisher, discusses the Hero Miles program with CNBC's Dina Gusovsky. During Military Appreciation Month, Fisher is asking every traveler to donate 1,000 of their miles to replenish the Hero Miles programs that is in danger of running out.

  • Cramer shuts down this market's haters

    "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer on why this market can't stop, won't stop.

  • From the battlefield to the boardroom

    Your Grateful Nation is dedicated to helping Special Forces veterans enter the corporate world and Knot Standard provides complimentary suits to vets. Mad Money's Jim Cramer spoke with Rob Clapper, Your Grateful executive director; John Ballay, Knot Standard co-founder and president; Tej Gill, retired U.S. Navy Seal; and Darren McB, active duty U.S. Navy Seal.