AT&T's Back In The Black - InformationWeek

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AT&T's Back In The Black

It earned $340 million in the fourth quarter despite a 12.8% decline in revenue.

NEW YORK (AP) -- AT&T Corp. earned $340 million in the fourth quarter, topping deflated analyst expectations, as revenue declined 12.8% as the telephone industry remained under assault from price wars and rival technologies such as cell phones.

The quarterly profit amounted to 43 cents per share for the October-December period. That compared with a loss of $611 million, or 79 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2002, which included more than $1.2 billion in charges to reflect the plunging value of certain company assets.

Analysts had expected a quarterly profit of 40 cents per share, according to a survey by Thomson First Call.

Revenue totaled $8.10 billion, which included $5.87 billion from the business-services unit and $2.22 billion from the consumer-services division. In the same period a year earlier, revenue totaled $9.29 billion, including $6.58 billion from AT&T Business and $2.74 from AT&T Consumer.

For the current year, the company said it expects revenue to decline another 7% to 10%.

AT&T also announced that its board has authorized the repurchase of up to $3 billion of debt, subject to market conditions and other relevant considerations. The company ended the year with net debt of about $8.8 billion.

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