The alternative bandwidth provider Cogent Communications (NASDAQ:CCOI, news, filings) posted its fourth quarter numbers this morning. Revenue was basically inline, EBITDA and margins were above expectations, and earnings per share was a bit light. But the steady improvement in the company's performance since last Spring gave them enough to boost their dividend by another 10% up to $0.12 per share. Here are Cogent's numbers in some context:
|$ in millions||Q4/11||Q1/12||Q2/12||Q3/12||Q4/12|
|Earnings per share||0.12||-0.05||-0.04||0.00||-0.01|
|Adj. EBITDA Margin||35.2%||29.3%||32.6%||32.9%||34.6%|
In the wake of the market's reaction to CenturyLink's dividend cut last week, Cogent's move to raise its own dividend again for the second straight quarter makes a clear point. And whether it was intentional or not, it was certainly delicious enough to put in the PR's headline. Looking for a place where revenues, margins, *and* dividends are going up? Tear your eyes away from the copper and legacy voice already...
Of course, Cogent's dividend is at least partly its way of returning all that cash they have on their balance sheet to shareholders given the lack of places to spend it. As CEO Dave Schaeffer discussed in a recent interview here on Ramblings, Cogent doesn't really see attractive M&A opportunities out there and is looking at further expansion by going deeper into their current on-net footprint moreso than via new buildouts and fiber purchases.
With EBITDA margins approaching 35% again and a growth trend back in place, Cogent's EPS looks ready to turn positive for good this coming year.
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