Abovenet Closes Books on 2009 Comeback

March 10th, 2010 by · 4 Comments

Metro fiber comeback story abvt reported its Q4 earnings this morning, closing the book on what was one of the few unequivocally positive stories amidst the economic turmoil of 2009.  Revenues, EBITDA, and capex were all inline with guidance and perhaps slightly above analyst expectations.  Earnings per share of $7.96 included a huge non-cash income tax benefit, probably due to advance recognition of NOLs – GAAP can be strange sometimes.  Here is a quick table putting their results in context.

$ in millions Q1/09 Q2/09 Q3/09 Q4/09 2010 Guidance
Revenue $85.4 $88.0 $92.4 $94.3 $395-400
COS $29.4 $32.3 $33.9 $35.1
SG&A $20.7 $20.1 $20.3 $21.4
Adj. EBITDA $38.2 $38.5 $40.7 $39.2
EBITDA Margin 44.7% 43.8% 44.0% 41.6% inline with 2009
Capex $21.1 $32.4 $26.5 $38.7 $150-160
EPS (diluted) $1.11 $0.98 $0.88 $0.921

1Not including the non-cash tax benefit

If there is anything to complain about, it is that expenses rose more quickly than in past quarters, as seen in the lower EBITDA margin number.  ‘Lower’ but certainly not ‘low’, as it remains above 40% and guidance is for similar margins overall in 2010.  Capex also increased, although guidance did predict a rise.  Overall, it appears to me that this spending represents preparations for the further expansion the company has been telegraphing in 2010.  More sales personnel, more equipment, etc.

You can see that in capex guidance as well, which implies that Q4’s higher capex number will be the norm this year – nearly 40% of revenue.  Their business is making more and more cash, and they are obviously planning to take that cash and plow it back in for future growth.  They have guided revenue growth at about 10% for 2010, which is a nice conservative number given the continued uncertain economic outlook.

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Categories: Financials · Metro fiber

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4 Comments So Far

  • Stock is on sale, get it while it lasts.

  • Rob Powell says:

    In the CC presentation, they reveal the markets they are considering expansion to: Toronto, Miami, Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt. Miami seems like a no-brainer.

  • Dave Rusin says:

    This business model has years to run … it’s clean … it’s new age data/IP — no legacy — efficient — PREDICTABLE and immune to government rules since they OWN metro fiber …

    • en_ron_hubbard says:


      ABVT dropped 12% today. While I generally agree with the thesis of dense metro fiber assets as being of superior long term value, two things seem to be weighing on the stock. First thing, Q4 results were not up to snuff– at least not good enough to support the premium valuation they currently have (which is not to say that a quarter makes a trend). Second, it must be being weighed down by the implied value of the RCN metro business. Recognizing that the RCN cable business is in competition with FIOS, still it must be valued in the 4-5 EBITDA range, even with a low growth, high CapX outlook. This implies a 6-7 value range for the RCN metro fiber. Perhaps the current bid gets topped ( I think it likely will) but at present it puts a market test lid on any assessment of metro fiber values. ABVT has suffered as a result.

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