Bell Atlantic celebrates 7.7% increase in earnings

July 21, 1995|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,Sun Staff Writer

Bell Atlantic Corp. rang up a 7.7 percent earnings gain during an almost blemish-free second quarter, the company reported yesterday.

Led once again by its surging cellular business, the Philadelphia-based telecommunications giant posted net income of $447.1 million, or $1.02 a share, compared with $415.4 million, or 95 cents a share, during the same quarter of 1994.

Revenues grew by $3.6 billion, up from $3.4 billion the year before.

Bell Atlantic reported that its revenues from the wireless side of its business, which has since merged with Nynex Corp.'s cellular subsidiary, grew 35 percent when adjusted for a restructuring of an earlier partnership with Nynex. The company reported that it added 162,900 subscribers during the quarter, for a 55 percent growth rate.

While it couldn't match the fireworks from the cellular side of the business, Bell Atlantic's earthbound network also posted comfortable gains. The number of access lines, a key indicator of growth, increased 3.1 percent over the total a year ago. Network operating revenues gained 3.3. percent, to $3.1 billion.

William Vogel, a telecommunications analyst for NatWest Securities Corp. in New York, said the growth in access lines was unusually high for Bell Atlantic.

"There's a secular trend for people to add faxes and modems to their homes," said Mr. Vogel, adding that most customers who do so end up ordering a second phone line.

Bell Atlantic's good news extended to Mexico, where its investment in the Grupo Iusacall cellular company forced it to take charges against earnings totaling $38.6 million over the past two quarters.

The only smudge on the earnings report was a 10.3 percent drop in revenues from local toll service, a line of business in which it is facing increasing competition from AT&T Corp. and other carriers.

The drop was easily offset by gains in other markets, but Mr. Vogel said the decrease is a cause for concern. Without a stabilization of its earnings from toll calls, the company will have a hard time reaching its goal of $3.85 a share in earnings for the year, he said.

For the first two quarters of 1995, Bell Atlantic reported income of $861.6 million, or $1.97 a share, compared with $804.6, or $1.86 a share, for the first half of last year. Revenues totaled $7 billion, up from $6.8 billion.

Bell Atlantic's stock yesterday closed at $57.75, up 88 cents.

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