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Level 3 Posts Wider Loss, Cuts Forecasts

Telecommunications carrier Level 3 Communications posted a wider quarterly loss Tuesday and lowered its forecasts for full-year 2007 and 2008, sending its shares down 9 percent in premarket trade.

Level 3 has struggled to integrate acquisitions and respond efficiently to customer orders. The company said on Tuesday such issues would continue to weigh on earnings.

The company's third-quarter net loss widened to $174 million, or 11 cents per share, compared with a loss of $138 million, or 12 cents per share, a year earlier. Level 3 had more shares outstanding in the 2007 third quarter.

Revenue rose to $1.061 billion from $875 million a year before.

Analysts on average had forecast a loss of 12 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

The company is a communications and Internet backbone provider, and offers a large network of interconnected routes covering the U.S. and Europe.

"We are disappointed by our performance, particularly given the strength of the current market," Level 3 Chief Executive James Crowe said in a statement.

Level 3 said that its acquisition of network companies and their integration into its business delayed its ability to set up services for customers, leading to the wider loss.

"We believe we have identified the underlying causes of our provisioning constraints, and we have begun to implement additional changes," he said.

The company lowered its view for adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the full year 2007 to a range of $813 million to $833 million from a previous forecast of $860 million to $920 million.

In 2008, the company now expects adjusted EBITDA of $950 million to $1.1 billion from a previous view of $1.15 billion to $1.3 billion.

Level 3 shares fell to $3.93 in early trading from its close of $4.32 on Monday.