Verizon profits beat forecasts as lockdowns boost internet demand

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Verizon Communications topped Wall Street’s second-quarter financial estimates on strong demand for its phone and internet services by housebound customers.

The telecom giant said Friday that coronavirus-induced stay-at-home orders prompted a shift to remote working and learning, helping it add 173,000 postpaid phone customers, well above analysts’ estimate of 61,200.

But even as more customers were stuck at home, Verizon said it continued to lose pay TV subscribers as cord-cutting accelerated. Chief executive Hans Vestberg said the company lost 81,000 net pay TV subscribers for its FiOS consumer video service in the second quarter, compared with a loss of 52,000 in the year-ago period.

At Verizon’s media division, which includes Yahoo, HuffPost and TechCrunch, the impact of the coronavirus throttled advertising and sent revenue for the unit down 24.5 percent from the year-ago period to $1.4 billion. Verizon said it saw revenue trends improving a bit in June, however.

Overall, Verizon’s net income rose 18.9 percent to $4.84 billion, or $1.13 a share, for the quarter ended June 30.

Excluding items, Verizon earned $1.18 a share. Quarterly revenue slid 5 percent to $30.4 billion.

The company said the decrease in revenue was due to the fact that it temporarily closed its retail stores since mid-March amid the coronavirus outbreak. At the end of June, Verizon said, roughly 60 percent of its stores were open.

Nonetheless, Verizon bested analysts’ predictions of EPS of $1.15 on sales of $29.93 billion.

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