Yesterday, TelephonyOnline had a great article on the growing gap between those CLECs handling the recession well and those still suffering. Upon reading it, I wished I had a visual aid showing how each company's revenue has progressed over the last year or two so I could get a better idea of the recession's relative impact on the sector. There is a tendency by many (myself included) to depend on the words used to characterize each company's performance moreso than the actual data, and so I like to keep grounded now and then. So I went out and collected the information and produced this chart of relative growth trends since Q1/2008:
Now of course revenue isn't everything, that's what profits are for and in a later post I will look at EBITDA trends as a window into that. But from revenue trends we can still get a sense of both who is pushing growth, who is backpedaling, where the economy has hurt, and where it hasn't.
The biggest feature on the upside is the huge Q4/08 for abvt and the sequential drop in Q1/09, I think however that Q4 was simply an outlier and that the lower Q1 and Q2 numbers follow their earlier trend more accurately. Taking that into account, their revenue growth trend has been largely unperturbed, much as RCN Metro's and TW Telecom's - the three of which - [edit: AFS added also to this group] are the most metro fiber oriented of the public companies in the sector. Somewhat surprisingly, XO Holdings (news, filings) has also seen little damage to sales trends from the recession. Cogent Communications (NASDAQ:CCOI, news, filings) saw its previous high growth rate tail off before the bottom fell out, but has seen some recovery lately. And it isn't just metro fiber that is doing well on the revenue front, cbey has managed to hold growth quite strong through the churn.
The recession has had a substantial impact though on a few players according to the chart. The wildest path has been traveled by glbc, but much of this has been foreign exchange related so it's hard to draw too many conclusions, and they did see some recovery this quarter. itcd and PAETEC (news, filings) have been struggling hard to maintain their current revenue levels - the latter with a bit more success - and have seen no recovery so far. But it is obvious that on the sales front, nobody is hurting more than Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings).
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