EarthLink posts 4-Q loss, predicts flat dial-up growth

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While EarthLink said on Jan. 30 its fourth-quarter loss was less than expected, due to an influx of high-speed/broadband Internet subscribers, the No. 2 Internet service provider in the U.S. warned of little growth this year in its dial-up business. In a statement, EarthLink said its first-quarter loss would be wider than Wall Street's estimates, and projected that its total paying subscriber base will total about 5 million this year, up only six percent from a year earlier and below expectations.

For the fourth quarter, EarthLink said its loss before acquisition-related costs widened to $52.2 million, or 40 cents a share, from $25.6 million, or 22 cents a share, a year earlier. Wall Street analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial had on average expected a loss of 51 cents a share. After charges, the company said the loss widened to $113.6 million, or 87 cents a share, in the fourth quarter from $64.2 million, or 55 cents a share, a year-ago. Revenues during the quarter rose 15 percent to $286.8 million as the company's paying subscriber base grew to 4.7 million as of Dec. 31, 2000, from 4.6 million at the end of the third quarter and 3.1 million a year earlier. As of Dec. 31, EarthLink said it held cash and cash equivalents of $675 million.

Copyright January 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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