Today Internet service provider
EarthLink Inc. turned in its fourth quarter and full year results for the periods ending December 31. The company noted growing revenues and improved earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or what’s referred to as EBITDA. Basically, EarthLink said that it’s still losing money — but it’s losing a lot less than it did last year.
EarthLink said that revenues grew to US$327.2 million in Q4, up 14.1 percent for the same quarter year over year. That contributed to an annual revenue of $1.245 billion, up $25.2 percent from 2000. EBITDA totaled $9.1 million for the quarter, which EarthLink noted was a $46.3 million improvement year over year.
For the entire 2001 year, EBITDA was negative $16.1 million. That’s up from negative $155.3 million in 2000. Excluding acquisition and merger-related expenses, EarthLink reported a net loss was negative $19.5 million, compared with negative $52.2 million for Q4 2000. Net loss for the year was negative $112.3 million, compared with negative $179.5 million the year before. EarthLink ended the year with more than 4,843,000 subscribers.
EarthLink CEO Garry Betty said that the company focused on improving operating margins and expanding its market presence during the fourth quarter. “For the year, EarthLink’s considerable efforts to improve EBITDA were carefully balanced with our company’s strategic mission to provide the highest levels of award-winning service while building a growing position in such emerging access methods as broadband, wireless and Internet appliances,” said Betty.
Betty also said that the company would be “a formidable leader” in non-PC-related Internet service provision.
If you’re interested in how people are using EarthLink, the company said almost $1 billion of its $1.245 billion in annual revenues for 2001 came from so-called “narrowband” (or dial-up) users. High-speed access saw growth, though — $49.9 million in quarterly revenues came from folks accessing EarthLink via high-speed connections, up 117.4 percent compared with last year’s fourth quarter. By the end of the year, said EarthLink, 471,000 subscribers had high-speed access, compared with 215,000 at the end of last year.
EarthLink also saw $13.5 million from clients hosting Web sites on the service, a downturn of $17 million. The number of customers serving Web sites via EarthLink stayed about the same, however.
Highlights for the fourth quarter included high-speed Internet service deployment to another 18 Time Warner Cable markets, the first phase of deployment in an agreement it established with AOL Time Warner. Access for Blackberry wireless handheld devices was also introduced, and the acquisition of wireless access provider OmniSky was set in motion. The company also acquired Cidco Inc., a maker of network appliances. EarthLink also noted the establishment of what it called “important retail partnerships” with national retailers OfficeMax and Circuit City.
Surely no surprise, EarthLink said that its goal for 2002 is to grow it subscriber base and improve profitability. The company is still anticipating taking a hit, though, with net loss to be somewhere in the $0.05 – $0.25 per share range. It also expects revenues to be fairly flat, at somewhere between $1.4 and $1.5 billion.
EarthLink said that it has about $594 million banked in cash and cash equivalents.