If Traffic Growth and Spending Cutbacks Collide

February 23rd, 2009
 

Reading the news these days is not unlike being hounded by the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Rather than being named Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death, this time they are named Depression, Nationalization, Foreclosure, and Bankruptcy. From the point of view of telecom and internet infrastructure, the whole thing is a bit surreal because for the sector there just hasn't been much pain so far.  Sales may be wobbly in some corners and capex may be slowing, and a few companies with large existing problems may have succumbed, but with the telecom nuclear winter of 5-9 years ago still fresh in our minds this is like snow flurry so far.    This can't continue forever, something has to give. [Read more →]

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TheJuice's Projections for Level 3 in 2009

February 21st, 2009
 

Hello everyone. I backed up the truck so to speak at .72 cents on Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings) equity on Friday so I thought I would take a minute to update a few spreadsheets and get my vision of the future out there for discussion.

First I did a quick and dirty ev/ebitdas calculation based on what I think is market price on the equity and debt which came out under 5. I've also included the calculation assuming face value of the debt, which came out under 7. I wanted an entry point under these numbers. Here's that spreadsheet. I posted something close to this on the IV board however after going back through the 2009 numbers I'm a bit more [Read more →]

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COLT Reports, Looks to Raise Cash

February 21st, 2009
 

European alternative fiber operator Colt Group (LON:COLT, news) reported Q4 and full year 2008 earnings today.  Total revenue increased to €427.5M from €420.7M in the third quarter.  Overall in 2008 on a constant currency basis revenues increased 2.4%, the company has been driving data revenues while churning off voice revenues for several years now.  Data revenues in Q4 rose to 55% of the total.  It remains unclear just how long the company will run in place in terms of total revenue, but the economy surely won't help. [Read more →]

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Rackspace Shows Its Muscle

February 20th, 2009
 

Webhosting specialist Rackspace Hosting (NYSE:RAX, news, filings) announced solid Q4 and full year 2008 earnings today. Revenues of $143.1M were up 3% sequentially despite being affected by negative foreign exchange swings in the UK and Europe where about one fourth of their revenues derive. Overall, revenues for 2008 grew at a 46.9% clip, an enviable number by any measure let alone during a recession. Costs fell across the board, resulting in a profit of $0.06/share, well above estimates. [Read more →]

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Sprint's Tourniquet Not Helping Yet

February 19th, 2009
 

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S, news, filings) reported earnings today and continued to excel - at redefining the word 'gruesome'.  Fortunately, I think the street was expecting the new definition.  Revenues were $8.430B, down another 4.3% from $8.816B in Q3 and a bit more than the street expected.  For many quarters now the company has lost revenue rapidly, yet managed to generally maintain its cost of revenue - it's just not a good combination.   The adjusted loss per share of $(0.01) was actually a bit better than the $(0.03) the street was expecting.  The company continued to generate positive cash flow at a reasonable clip, however, adding $536M during the quarter, and expects to [Read more →]

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Fiberlight Progresses in Virginia

February 19th, 2009
 

Metro fiber specialist Fiberlight offered an update yesterday on its progress building a new metro ring in northern Virginia.  The ring, which will connect the new NAP of the Capital region facilities that Terremark (news, filings) [a subsidiary of Verizon (NYSE:VZ, news, filings)] is building in Culpeper, is 50% done and on-target for completion in the spring as planned.  It's nice to see that while the financial world may have ground to a halt and the pundits think the end is nigh on a daily basis, the world does keep on turning.  [Read more →]

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A Scramble for Datacenter Space?

February 18th, 2009
 

According to an intriguing Data Center Knowledge article today, the credit crisis is having a somewhat surprising effect in the market for data center square footage: increased leasing activity and shortened decision times.  That's right, less available cash for IT projects, yet more spending.  One might even call it hoarding.  Well, not on all things, just on space. What's going on?  It seems to be an object lesson in what happens when a red-hot industry [Read more →]

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Switch & Data Keeps Rolling

February 18th, 2009
 

Colocation specialist sdxc reported earnings after the bell, facing down the economy without a flinch.  They finished the year with 25% revenue growth and 33% EBITDA growth despite the economic turmoil and they did not revise 2009 guidance.  There can be no doubt that the datacenter space will feel the effects of the economy, but if a recession like this one merely causes your growth to pull back from 25% to 21-22% then you are doing pretty darn [Read more →]

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Happily Propagating Instability

February 17th, 2009
 

According to several reports, the entire internet became unstable last night for about an hour.  Ordinary denizens of the web noticed somewhat, but it really got the attention of network operators.  Renesys has an excellent description of what happened which I found both entertaining and explanatory, but here is the quick version.

A small ISP in the Czech republic called SuproNet made a small, somewhat silly change to the configuration of its routers, which then propagated the change to its neighbors.  Routers being routers, they did one of two things:  [Read more →]

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Currency Storm Clouds Global Crossing's Quarter

February 17th, 2009
 

International network and IP services company glbc reported earnings overnight, meeting all the guidance they had previously given. However, as with Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings) last week, the financial crisis left its mark with foreign exchange adjustments large enough to make everything really hard to read. Full year guidance for both revenue and EBITDA appeared trivial to reach based on strong performance in the first three quarters. Indeed they made it, but because of the turbulence [Read more →]

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Zayo's New Capital

February 16th, 2009
 

Last week Telecom Ramblings broke the news here that metro and regional fiber specialist Zayo Group (news, filings) had apparently managed to raise yet more money, and in fact they did with a series B equity round.  We don't get too many scoops around here, so far anyway!  Of course, Zayo didn't actually tell us how much they raised yet, more information is to come later.  But let's make a guesstimate of $50M based on CEO Dan Caruso's comment: [Read more →]

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Qwest Builds More Metro Fiber

February 16th, 2009
 

In their Q4 earnings conference call last week, q announced that they will deploy metro fiber rings in six new markets outside their home region, hoping to "improve their out-of-region cost structure and competitive position."  No kidding, Qwest has always lacked sufficient on/off ramps outside its home turf, it was a strategic mistake that originated back in the bubble that has weighed on the non-RBOC part of the company ever since. Qwest says the move is "a little bit of offense, and a little bit of defense". [Read more →]

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TheJuice's Level 3 Communications 2008 Wrapup

February 15th, 2009
 

It's annual report card time for me, so here are a few thoughts re Q408 as well a look at full year numbers versus my expectations. Q109 and FY09 model update will come later (although I did say that I thought 1050 to 1150 was a good conservative ebitdas range for FY09 prior to the Q408 con-call, so I think I'm starting off in relatively the right place). [Read more →]

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Charter Surrenders

February 13th, 2009
 

Cable MSO Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR, news, filings) finally cried uncle yesterday, coming to an agreement with its debt holders to restructure its debt load through a prepackaged bankruptcy. The company's future had been looking quite dim lately, at least for common shareholders, due to the frozen credit markets and Charter's coming debt maturities.

In the agreed upon deal which involves a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by April, [Read more →]

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Equinix Injects Some Caution

February 12th, 2009
 

It's been a busy earnings week.  Yesterday datacenter specialist Equinix (NASDAQ:EQIX, news, filings) reported earnings, with fourth quarter revenues of $190.7M inline with guidance and adjusted EBITDA of $84.1M which was a little better than guidance.  Diluted net income per share of $2.74 was inline with expectations.  However, the company reduced its revenue projections slightly for 2009, to $855M-875M from their original projection or $870M-892M in October.  This still represents 23% growth during a [Read more →]

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Tata Pours $430M Into Asia-Pacific

February 12th, 2009
 

Tata Communications (news, filings), the telecom arm of the Indian conglomerate Tata Group,  announced today a $430 investment plan in the Asia-Pacific region.  The plans two key features are a new 'flagship' datacenter in Singapore called the Tata Communications Exchange, and further development of its TGN-Intra-Asia undersea cable system, hooking up Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and also Vietnam and the Phillipines.  Tata's TGN cable systems began [Read more →]

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DuPont Fabros Raises $180M, Reports Strong Earnings

February 12th, 2009
 

Colocation facility specialist Dupont Fabros Technology (NYSE:DFT, news, filings) managed to find a crack in the credit markets this week, raising a total of $180M. That was enough to pay off a $135.1M construction loan, clearing up near term balance sheet issues. This will allow them to restart the development of their ACC5 facility in Ashburn VA, completion is now anticipated in the third quarter.  Construction remains halted at its Piscataway NJ and Santa Clara CA sites I suppose, but it's the first step back to [Read more →]

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Currency Woes Dampen Level 3 Results

February 11th, 2009
 

Telecommunications carrier Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings) reported earnings this morning, with mixed results.  They reported a profit of $0.03, something that doesn't happen every day, but of course this was mostly due to one time benefits.  The fingerprint of the recession was clear  however, the company's revenues were hit by unfavorable foreign currency exchange by $14M over the third quarter.  That's enough to raise some eyebrows, currency fluctuations are something my models do not handle yet so this did catch me off guard, although in hindsight the troubles in the UK were clear enough.  EBITDA, when adjusted for all the one time items, was $271M.  My projection of $260 included a $12M charge for severance, it would have been $272 otherwise and was actually very close.  The positive free cash flow of $124M was [Read more →]

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Zayo Raises Yet More Capital

February 11th, 2009
 

According to a reliable source from within metro and regional fiber operator Zayo Group , the company has again defied the credit crisis and raised a significant amount of new capital.  This is the second time the company has raised money during the teeth of the recession, they added 35M at the end of September apparently as a cushion for the impending recession.  Any money raised now is surely expensive money, valuations are very low and available interest rates for corporate debt are high even for large profitable companies.  Supposedly, the money is not slated for day to day operations, their balance sheet is in good shape.  That of course raises the question:  then what is it for? [Read more →]

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TheJuice's LVLT Model for Q4

February 10th, 2009
 

Here's my model prior to the call tomorrow.  Essentially I'm looking at 265 in ebitdas and 100M of FCF, no earnings of course.  My data is not much different from Rob's except in that I'm a bit more optimistic on the wholesale voice area and perhaps in working capital (which is a total crap shoot and an area I have been way wrong on for each q).  I expect they will say they will be FCF for all of 2009 as their ebitdas margins should [Read more →]

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TW Telecom Advances Against the Wind

February 10th, 2009
 

TW Telecom (NASDAQ:TWTC, news, filings) reported Q4 and full year 2008 earnings yesterday, and lo and behold the sky didn't fall there either. In fact, the company managed to grow revenues sequentially to $294.6M, up $3M in the fourth quarter despite the economic headwinds. Revenue growth came almost entirely from Data and Internet Services. EBITDA of $104.2M was also up sequentially, with modified EBITDA margins increasing again to 35.4%. Earnings per share of $0.03 showed no deterioration either. [Read more →]

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Level 3 Earnings Primer

February 10th, 2009
 

It's almost that time again for followers of Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings), since the company reports earnings tomorrow.  What should we expect, looking into the teeth of a recession?  If the rest of the sector so far is any indication, the story will almost certainly be that Q4 wasn't disastrous, and that guidance for 2009 will be disappointing.  My model for Level 3's operations is of limited value under these economic conditions, because the effects of the macroeconomic environment are a real wildcard and affect each of the company's segments differently.  But of course, that won't stop me from trying, so without further ado: [Read more →]

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Global Crossing Tests the CDN Waters

February 9th, 2009
 

Contentinople reports today that glbc is the latest carrier looking to enter the CDN business, according to a Yankee Group report on the subject.  Supposedly, rather than build their own, buy someone else's, or partner their way in, Global Crossing is planning to simply resell CDN services from several carriers.  The first lucky CDN is Edgecast, which has had quite a run as a wholesaler after deals with both Deutsche Telecom AG (ETR:DTE, news, filings) and Navisite (NASDAQ:NAVI, news, filings) [a subsidiary of Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC, news)] .  Global Crossing could be a powerful reseller for CDN services outside the US, leveraging [Read more →]

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