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Shenandoah Telecommunications Company Reports Third Quarter 2019 Results

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EDINBURG, Va., Oct. 31, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Shenandoah Telecommunications Company ("Shentel") (NASDAQ:SHEN) announced third quarter results, an increase in its cash dividend, a share repurchase program, and commencement of its Fiber to the Home service.

Highlights

  • Free cash flow of $35.9 million in the third quarter 2019 and $86.4 million for year to date 2019.
  • Record third quarter Wireless postpaid net additions of 11,698.
  • Dividend to increase 7.4% to $0.29 per share representing the 7th consecutive year of an annual increase.
  • Authorization of $80 million for a share repurchase program.
  • Launch of Fiber to the Home ("FTTH") business with initiation of Glo Fiber service in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

"Our company's growth was led by record net additions of Wireless postpaid services in the quarter. The commencement of Glo Fiber service in Harrisonburg reflects the start of our latest growth initiative as we continue to expand our footprint and service offerings," said President and CEO Christopher E. French. "We continue to generate strong free cash flow, which along with our solid operating results, enables us to return value to our shareholders with both an increase in our cash dividend and initiation of a share repurchase program. The continuing dispute over the travel fee with Sprint caused uneven financial results, but we have triggered the dispute resolution process with Sprint which we expect will lead to a resolution by early 2020."

Please refer to our Third Quarter 2019 Earnings Presentation Supplement available at https://investor.shentel.com/ for additional information, including matters that will be referenced during the Company's conference call. Included in this release are certain non-GAAP financial measures that are not determined in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. Please refer to additional information for non-GAAP measures provided herein.

Consolidated Third Quarter 2019 Results

  • Operating revenue in the third quarter of 2019 was $155.2 million compared with $158.7 million in the third quarter of 2018 driven by continued dispute of the travel fee with Sprint in the Wireless segment, partially offset by growth in the Cable segment.
  • Adjusted OIBDA in the third quarter of 2019 was $62.8 million compared with $69.5 million in the third quarter of 2018 due to a decline in the Wireless segment.
  • Operating income for the third quarter 2019 was $25.4 million compared with $28.3 million in the third quarter of 2018.
  • Net income in the third quarter of 2019 was $14.4 million or $0.29 per diluted share compared with $15.5 million or $0.31 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2018.

Wireless

  • Shentel's network served 823,417 wireless postpaid subscribers at September 30, 2019, representing an increase of 4.8% compared with 785,537 subscribers as of September 30, 2018. Third quarter 2019 postpaid gross adds increased 25.7% to 60,477 and churn increased 15 basis points to 1.99% compared to third quarter 2018.  At September 30, 2019, tablets and data devices represented 11.0% of the postpaid base.
  • Shentel's network served 271,551 wireless prepaid subscribers at September 30, 2019, representing an increase of 6.3% compared with 255,462 subscribers as of September 30, 2018. Third quarter 2019 prepaid churn was 4.38%, representing an improvement of 24 basis points compared with the prior year.
  • Wireless operating revenue decreased $5.7 million to $110.4 million for the third quarter of 2019 from $116.1 million in the third quarter of 2018. Sprint travel Revenue declined $4.5 million due to the continuing dispute over the resetting of the travel fee.  Subscriber revenue declined $1.1 million from the third quarter 2018 due to a combination of higher contract asset amortization from higher gross adds over the past year, reduced variable revenue resulting from increased bad debt write-offs in the West Virginia market, lower postpaid Average Revenue Per User ("ARPU") of $1.67, partially offset by an increase of 37,880 postpaid subscribers.
  • Wireless operating expenses in the third quarter of 2019 were $86.7 million compared to $88.7 million in the third quarter of 2018. This decrease was primarily due to a $3.2 million decline in depreciation and amortization expense as certain assets acquired from nTelos became fully depreciated and $1.7 million in lower advertising, offset by $2.8 million in higher tower rents due to an increase of 132 cell sites in our network.
  • Wireless Adjusted OIBDA in the third quarter of 2019 was $50.9 million, compared with $57.7 million for the third quarter of 2018.
  • Wireless operating income in the third quarter of 2019 was $23.7 million, compared with $27.4 million for the third quarter of 2018.

Cable

  • Total Revenue Generating Units ("RGUs") as of September 30, 2019 were 150,191, representing an increase of 3% and includes the addition of approximately 4,800 RGUs obtained through the Big Sandy acquisition that occurred in the first quarter of 2019.  Please note that we have changed the computation of bulk RGUs to conform to industry standards.  Revised RGUs for current and past periods are presented in the supplemental information in this earnings release.
  • Cable operating revenue for the third quarter of 2019 was $35.1 million, representing an increase of 9.1% from $32.2 million in the third quarter of 2018. The increase was primarily attributable to a full quarter of results from the Big Sandy acquisition and growth in ARPU from an increase in video rates.
  • Cable operating expenses in the third quarter of 2019 were $28.8 million, representing an increase of 9.3% from $26.3 million for the third quarter of 2018. The increase was primarily due to $0.8 million of expenses incurred that were associated with starting our FTTH product offering, higher repair and maintenance expenses of $0.8 million associated with maintaining our growing network, higher sales and marketing expenses of $0.6 million and $0.2 million in higher programming costs. We expect to continue to incur expenses related to the initiation of FTTH in select markets, in advance of generating revenue from this new product.
  • Cable Adjusted OIBDA for the third quarter of 2019 was $12.5 million, representing an increase of 4.9% from $11.9 million for the third quarter of 2018.
  • Cable operating income for the third quarter of 2019 was $6.3 million, representing an increase of 7.9% from $5.8 million for the third quarter of 2018.

Wireline

  • Wireline operating revenue for the third quarter of 2019 was $19.1 million, representing a decrease of $0.5 million from $19.6 million in the third quarter of 2018. The decrease in operating revenue was primarily attributable to the timing of receiving regulatory support funds.  Cable and fiber revenues grew 11.8% to offset the 8.3% decline in RLEC revenues.
  • Wireline operating expenses in the third quarter of 2019 were $14.2 million, consistent with operating expenses in the third quarter of 2018.
  • Wireline Adjusted OIBDA for the third quarter of 2019 was $8.0 million, representing a decrease of $0.6 million from $8.6 million in the third quarter of 2018.
  • Wireline operating income for the third quarter of 2019 was $4.9 million, representing a decrease of $0.2 million from $5.1 million in the third quarter of 2018.

Other Information

  • Capital expenditures were $107.0 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 compared with $92.3 million in the comparable 2018 period due to a $6.0 million increase in Wireless spending to support the expansion of the network and an $8.7 million increase in Cable segment spending required to support the launch of our FTTH initiative.
  • Outstanding debt at September 30, 2019 totaled $740.6 million compared with $760.5 million and $785.2 million as of June 30, 2019 and December 31, 2018, respectively.  As of September 30, 2019, the Company had liquidity of approximately $172.4 million, including $75.0 million of revolving line of credit availability.  Our interest rate decreased by 25 basis points starting in September 2019 as our net leverage ratio declined below the lowest threshold as defined in our credit facility resulting in approximately $1.8 million of expected annual savings.

Conference Call and Webcast

Teleconference Information:

Date: October 31, 2019   
Time: 8:30 A.M. (ET)
Dial in number: 1-888-695-7639

Password: 6872816
 
Audio webcast: http://investor.shentel.com/

An audio replay of the call will be available approximately two hours after the call is complete, through December 7, 2019 by calling (855) 859-2056.

About Shenandoah Telecommunications
Shenandoah Telecommunications Company (Shentel) provides a broad range of diversified communications services through its high speed, state-of-the-art network to customers in the Mid-Atlantic United States. The Company's services include: wireless voice and data; cable video, internet and digital voice; fiber network and services; and regulated local and long distance telephone. Shentel is the exclusive personal communications service ("PCS") Affiliate of Sprint in a multi-state area covering large portions of central and western Virginia, south-central Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and portions of Maryland, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Ohio. For more information, please visit www.shentel.com.

This release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to various risks and uncertainties. The Company's actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of unforeseen factors. A discussion of factors that may cause actual results to differ from management's projections, forecasts, estimates and expectations is available in the Company's filings with the SEC. Those factors may include changes in general economic conditions, increases in costs, changes in regulation and other competitive factors.

CONTACTS:
      Shenandoah Telecommunications Company
      Jim Volk
      Senior Vice President - Chief Financial Officer
      540-984-5168
      Jim.Volk@emp.shentel.com

Or
      John Nesbett/Jennifer Belodeau
      IMS Investor Relations
      203-972-9200
      jnesbett@institutionalms.com



SHENANDOAH TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANY AND SUBSIDIARIES
UNAUDITED CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(in thousands, except per share amounts)

  Three Months Ended
September 30,
  Nine Months Ended
September 30,
  2019   2018   2019   2018
Operating revenue:              
Service revenue and other $ 138,832     $ 142,768     $ 424,122     $ 419,819  
Equipment revenue 16,320     15,963     48,787     49,551  
Total operating revenue 155,152     158,731     472,909     469,370  
Operating expenses:              
Cost of services 50,164     47,886     149,179     146,362  
Cost of goods sold 15,825     15,036     46,336     46,007  
Selling, general and administrative 27,178     27,452     83,070     86,117  
Depreciation and amortization 36,626     40,028     120,158     124,632  
Total operating expenses 129,793     130,402     398,743     403,118  
Operating income 25,359     28,329     74,166     66,252  
Other income (expense):              
Interest expense (7,505 )   (9,001 )   (22,981 )   (27,184 )
Other 1,099     1,054     3,562     2,882  
Income before income taxes 18,953     20,382     54,747     41,950  
Income tax expense 4,599     4,848     13,333     10,207  
Net income $ 14,354     $ 15,534     $ 41,414     $ 31,743  
               
Net income per share, basic and diluted:              
Basic net income per share $ 0.29     $ 0.31     $
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