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FTR > SEC Filings for FTR > Form 10-Q on 8-May-2014All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS CORP

Form 10-Q for FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS CORP


8-May-2014

Quarterly Report


Item 2. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

Forward-Looking Statements

This quarterly report on Form 10-Q contains forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the statements. Statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "believe," "anticipate," "expect" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements (including oral representations) are only predictions or statements of current plans, which we review continuously. Forward-looking statements may differ from actual future results due to, but not limited to, and our future results may be materially affected by, the following potential risks or uncertainties. You should understand that it is not possible to predict or identify all potential risks or uncertainties. We note the following as a partial list:

Our ability to complete the acquisition of the Connecticut operations from AT&T;

The ability to successfully integrate the Connecticut operations of AT&T into our existing operations;

The risk that the cost savings from the AT&T Transaction may not be fully realized or may take longer to realize than expected;

The sufficiency of the assets to be acquired from AT&T to enable the combined company to operate the acquired business;

Failure to enter into or obtain, or delays in entering into or obtaining, certain agreements and consents necessary to operate the acquired business as planned;

The failure to obtain, delays in obtaining or adverse conditions contained in any required regulatory approvals for the AT&T Transaction;

The effects of increased expenses incurred due to activities related to the AT&T Transaction;

Disruption from the AT&T Transaction making it more difficult to maintain relationships with customers or suppliers;

The effects of greater than anticipated competition from cable, wireless and other wireline carriers that could require us to implement new pricing, marketing strategies or new product or service offerings and the risk that we will not respond on a timely or profitable basis;

Reductions in the number of our voice customers that we cannot offset with increases in broadband subscribers and sales of other products and services;

Our ability to maintain relationships with customers, employees or suppliers;

The effects of ongoing changes in the regulation of the communications industry as a result of federal and state legislation and regulation, or changes in the enforcement or interpretation of such legislation and regulation;

The effects of any unfavorable outcome with respect to any current or future legal, governmental or regulatory proceedings, audits or disputes;

The effects of changes in the availability of federal and state universal service funding or other subsidies to us and our competitors;

Our ability to successfully adjust to changes in the communications industry and to implement strategies for growth;

Continued reductions in switched access revenues as a result of regulation, competition or technology substitutions;


PART I. FINANCIAL INFORMATION (Continued)

FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES

Our ability to effectively manage service quality in our territories and meet mandated service quality metrics;

Our ability to successfully introduce new product offerings, including our ability to offer bundled service packages on terms that are both profitable to us and attractive to customers;

The effects of changes in accounting policies or practices adopted voluntarily or as required by generally accepted accounting principles or regulations;

Our ability to effectively manage our operations, operating expenses and capital expenditures, and to repay, reduce or refinance our debt;

The effects of changes in both general and local economic conditions on the markets that we serve, which can affect demand for our products and services, customer purchasing decisions, collectability of revenues and required levels of capital expenditures related to new construction of residences and businesses;

The effects of technological changes and competition on our capital expenditures, products and service offerings, including the lack of assurance that our network improvements in speed and capacity will be sufficient to meet or exceed the capabilities and quality of competing networks;

The effects of increased medical expenses (including as a result of the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) and pension and postemployment expenses, such as retiree medical and severance costs, and related funding requirements;

The effects of changes in income tax rates, tax laws, regulations or rulings, or federal or state tax assessments;

Our ability to successfully renegotiate union contracts;

Changes in pension plan assumptions and/or the value of our pension plan assets, which could require us to make increased contributions to the pension plan in 2014 and beyond;

The effects of economic downturns which could result in difficulty in collection of revenues and loss of customers;

Adverse changes in the credit markets or in the ratings given to our debt securities by nationally accredited ratings organizations, which could limit or restrict the availability, or increase the cost, of financing to us;

Our cash flow from operations, amount of capital expenditures, debt service requirements, cash paid for income taxes and liquidity may affect our payment of dividends on our common shares;

The effects of state regulatory cash management practices that could limit our ability to transfer cash among our subsidiaries or dividend funds up to the parent company; and

The effects of severe weather events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms or other natural or man-made disasters, which may increase our operating expenses or adversely impact customer revenue.

Any of the foregoing events, or other events, could cause financial information to vary from management's forward-looking statements included in this report. You should consider these important factors in evaluating any statement in this report on Form 10-Q or otherwise made by us or on our behalf. The following information is unaudited and should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and related notes included in this report. We have no obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements and do not undertake to do so.

Investors should also be aware that while we do, at various times, communicate with securities analysts, it is against our policy to disclose to them selectively any material non-public information or other confidential information. Accordingly, investors should not assume that we agree with any statement or report issued by an analyst irrespective of the content of the statement or report. To the extent that reports issued by securities analysts contain any projections, forecasts or opinions, such reports are not our responsibility.


PART I. FINANCIAL INFORMATION (Continued)

FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES

Overview

See Note 3 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part I, Item 1 of this report for a discussion of The Transactions.

The Company is the largest communications company providing services predominantly to rural areas and small and medium-sized towns and cities in the United States. The Company currently operates in 27 states and will also operate in Connecticut after consummation of the AT&T Transaction. The Company is the nation's fourth largest Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC), with 3.1 million customers, 1.9 million broadband connections and 13,700 employees as of March 31, 2014.

Regulatory Developments

In October 2009, the FCC issued a proposed rulemaking looking at rules to "Preserve a Free and Open Internet," (i.e., net neutrality), including a reconsideration of the legal classification of broadband and proposed restrictions on broadband network management practices. On December 21, 2010, the FCC adopted an order imposing some regulations on Internet service providers. These regulations affect fixed and mobile broadband providers differently. These regulations became effective November 20, 2011, and we are in compliance with these regulations. On January 14, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit vacated the portions of the FCC's rules that prohibited blocking and required non-discriminatory treatment. The Chairman of the FCC has stated his intention to preserve the spirit of the vacated rules. The D.C. Circuit's ruling may be appealed or the FCC may take other regulatory actions to implement "Open Internet" policies. The future state of these regulations and their effect on us is unknown.

On November 18, 2011, the FCC adopted an Order to reform the Federal Universal Service High-Cost Fund (USF) and Intercarrier Compensation (the Order). The Order changed how federal subsidies are calculated and disbursed, with these changes being phased-in beginning in July 2012. These changes transition the USF, which supports voice services in high-cost areas, to the Connect America Fund (CAF), which supports broadband deployment in high-cost areas. CAF Phase I, implemented in 2012, provided for ongoing USF support for price cap carriers capped at the 2011 amount. In addition, the FCC in the first round of CAF Phase I made available for price cap ILECs an additional $300 million in incremental high-cost broadband support to be used for broadband deployment to unserved areas. In 2012 and early 2013, we received $71.9 million in CAF Phase I funds and initially recorded such funds as increases to Cash and Other liabilities in the balance sheet. The $71.9 million in the first round of CAF Phase I support is expected to enable an incremental 92,877 households for broadband service and was accounted for as Contributions in Aid of Construction. We are required to implement, spend and enable these 92,877 households no later than July 24, 2015. We spent $6.4 million of these CAF funds on network expansion during the first quarter of 2014 and $44.0 million of the CAF funds to date through March 31, 2014, enabling 70,000 households.

On May 21, 2013, the FCC released a Report and Order authorizing a second round of CAF Phase I. As part of this May 2013 Report and Order, the FCC expanded the areas eligible for funding to include those that lack service of 3Mbps download and 768 kbps upload. In 2013, Frontier applied for funds from the second round of CAF Phase I and in December 2013 the FCC awarded $57.6 million to us to serve 94,899 locations in our high-cost, unserved and underserved areas across multiple states. The FCC also announced on January 10, 2014, that Frontier was eligible for an additional $3.7 million in funding to serve 6,815 locations. We received these funds in February 2014. The second round of CAF Phase I includes certain accompanying spending requirements from the Company, and our capital expenditure plans take this into account. The CAF funds received are accounted for as Contributions in Aid of Construction and were initially recorded as increases to Cash and Other liabilities on the balance sheet.

The Order also reformed Intercarrier Compensation, which is the payment framework that governs how carriers compensate each other for the exchange of interstate traffic, and it began a multi-year transition in July 2012, with the second step implemented in July 2013. The transition will move terminating traffic to a near zero rate by 2017. Frontier expects to be able to recover a significant portion of those revenues through end user rates and other replacement support mechanisms. The Order has been challenged by certain parties in court and certain parties have also petitioned the FCC to reconsider various aspects of the Order. Accordingly, we cannot predict the long-term impact at this time but believe that the Order will provide a stable regulatory framework to facilitate our ongoing focus on the deployment of broadband into our rural markets.

Effective December 29, 2011, the Order required providers to pay interstate access rates for the termination of VoIP toll traffic. On April 25, 2012, the FCC, in an Order on Reconsideration, specified that changes to originating access rates for VoIP traffic will not be implemented until July 2014. The Order has been challenged by certain parties in court and certain


PART I. FINANCIAL INFORMATION (Continued)

FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES

parties have also petitioned the FCC to reconsider various aspects of the Order.
The net impact of the Order during the period from July 2012 through March 2014 was immaterial.

Certain states also have their own open proceedings to address reform to intrastate access charges and other intercarrier compensation and state universal service funds. Although the FCC has pre-empted state jurisdiction on most access charges, many states could consider moving forward with their proceedings. We cannot predict when or how these matters will be decided or the effect on our subsidy or switched access revenues.


PART I. FINANCIAL INFORMATION (Continued)

FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES

The following should be read in conjunction with Item 7. "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013.

(a) Liquidity and Capital Resources

As of March 31, 2014, we had cash and cash equivalents aggregating $954.2 million, excluding total restricted cash, primarily representing funds escrowed for future broadband expansion and service quality initiatives, of $13.4 million. Our primary source of funds continued to be cash generated from operations. For the three months ended March 31, 2014, we used cash flow from operations, cash on hand and debt proceeds to fund principally all of our cash investing and financing activities, primarily capital expenditures, dividends and debt repayments.

We have a revolving credit facility with a line of credit of $750.0 million that we believe provides sufficient flexibility to meet our liquidity needs. As of March 31, 2014, we had not made any borrowings under this facility.

At March 31, 2014, we had a working capital surplus of $267.5 million. We believe our operating cash flows, existing cash balances, and existing revolving credit facility will be adequate to finance our working capital requirements, fund capital expenditures, make required debt payments, pay taxes, pay dividends to our stockholders, and support our short-term and long-term operating strategies for the next twelve months. However, a number of factors, including but not limited to, losses of customers, pricing pressure from increased competition, lower subsidy and switched access revenues, and the impact of the current economic environment may negatively impact our cash generated from operations. In addition, based on information available to us, we believe that the financial institutions syndicated under our revolving credit facility would be able to fulfill their commitments to us, but this could change in the future. As of March 31, 2014, we had $245.4 million of debt maturing during the last nine months of 2014; $262.5 million and $348.1 million of debt will mature in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Cash Flows provided by Operating Activities

Cash flows provided by operating activities declined $46.4 million, or 13%, for the three months ended March 31, 2014, as compared with the prior year period. The decrease was primarily the result of lower revenue and net income before depreciation and amortization.

We received $4.9 million in cash tax refunds during the first three months of 2014 as compared to $0.9 million in net cash taxes paid during the first three months of 2013. Our 2013 cash taxes paid reflected the continued impact of bonus depreciation in accordance with the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Absent any legislative changes, we expect that in 2014 our cash tax payments for the full year will be approximately $130 million to $160 million for our current business operations, taking into account our estimated pre-close integration expenditures relating to the AT&T Transaction.

In connection with the pending AT&T Transaction, the Company recognized $10.6 million of acquisition and integration costs incurred during the first three months of 2014 and $7.5 million of interest expense related to the Bridge Facility commitment. The Company expects to incur operating expenses of approximately $140 million to $170 million in 2014 related to integration activities for the pending AT&T Transaction.

Cash Flows used by Investing Activities

Capital Expenditures

For the three months ended March 31, 2014 and 2013, our capital expenditures were $145.4 million and $189.0 million (including $10.3 million of integration-related capital expenditures for the three months ended March 31, 2014 for the AT&T Transaction), respectively. In addition to the capital expenditures mentioned above, network expansion funded by previously received CAF funds amounted to $6.4 million and $1.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2014 and 2013, respectively. We anticipate capital expenditures for business operations to decrease in 2014 related to our currently owned properties to approximately $575 million to $625 million, as compared to $634.7 million in 2013. We anticipate an additional $85 million to $105 million of capital expenditures in 2014 related to the integration activities of the pending AT&T Transaction.


PART I. FINANCIAL INFORMATION (Continued)

FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES

Cash Flows used by and provided from Financing Activities

Debt Financings

During the first three months of 2014, we entered into secured financings totaling $10.7 million with four year terms and no stated interest rate for certain equipment purchases.

Debt Reduction

During the first three months of 2014 and 2013, we retired an aggregate principal amount of $14.5 million and $517.1 million, respectively, of debt consisting of $14.4 million and $517.0 million, respectively, of senior unsecured debt and $0.1 million of rural utilities service loan contracts for each period.

We may from time to time make additional repurchases of our debt in the open market, through tender offers, exchanges of debt securities, by exercising rights to call or in privately negotiated transactions. We may also refinance existing debt or exchange existing debt for newly issued debt obligations. We do not expect the additional financing of $1.9 billion that will be used for the AT&T Transaction to affect our current refinancing plans.

Bridge Facility

On December 16, 2013, we signed a commitment letter for a bridge loan facility (the Bridge Facility) and recognized interest expense related to this commitment of $7.5 million during the three months ended March 31, 2014. On January 29, 2014, we entered into a bridge loan agreement with the Lenders party thereto and JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., as administrative agent (the Bridge Loan Agreement), pursuant to which the Lenders have agreed at closing of the AT&T Transaction to provide to us an unsecured bridge loan facility for up to $1.9 billion for the purposes of funding (i) substantially all of the purchase price for the AT&T Transaction and (ii) the fees and expenses incurred in connection with the transactions contemplated by the stock purchase agreement for the AT&T Transaction. Pursuant to the Bridge Loan Agreement, if and to the extent we do not, or are unable to, issue debt securities yielding up to $1.9 billion in gross cash proceeds on or prior to the closing of the AT&T Transaction, we shall draw down up to $1.9 billion, less the amount of the debt securities, if any, issued by us on or prior to the closing of the AT&T Transaction, in aggregate principal amount of loans under the Bridge Facility to fund the purchase price of the AT&T Transaction.

Bank Financing

The Company has a credit agreement with CoBank, ACB, as administrative agent, lead arranger and a lender, and the other lenders party thereto, for a $575.0 million senior unsecured term loan facility with a final maturity of October 14, 2016 (the Credit Agreement). The entire facility was drawn upon execution of the Credit Agreement in October 2011. Repayment of the outstanding principal balance is made in quarterly installments in the amount of $14.4 million, which commenced on March 31, 2012, with the remaining outstanding principal balance to be repaid on the final maturity date. Borrowings under the Credit Agreement bear interest based on the margins over the Base Rate (as defined in the Credit Agreement) or LIBOR, at the election of the Company. Interest rate margins under the facility (ranging from 0.875% to 2.875% for Base Rate borrowings and 1.875% to 3.875% for LIBOR borrowings) are subject to adjustments based on the Total Leverage Ratio of the Company, as such term is defined in the Credit Agreement. The current pricing on this facility is LIBOR plus 2.875%.

Revolving Credit Facility

The Company has a revolving credit agreement with JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., as administrative agent, the lenders party thereto and the other parties named therein (the Revolving Credit Agreement), for a $750.0 million revolving credit facility (the Revolving Credit Facility) with a scheduled termination date of November 3, 2016. As of March 31, 2014, no borrowings had been made under the Revolving Credit Facility. Associated commitment fees under the Revolving Credit Facility will vary from time to time depending on the Company's debt rating (as defined in the Revolving Credit Agreement) and were 0.400% per annum as of March 31, 2014. During the term of the Revolving Credit Facility, the Company may borrow, repay and reborrow funds, and may obtain letters of credit, subject to customary borrowing conditions. Loans under the Revolving Credit Facility will bear interest based on the alternate base rate or the adjusted LIBO Rate (each as determined in the Revolving Credit Agreement), at the Company's election, plus a margin based on the Company's debt rating (ranging from 0.50% to 1.50% for alternate base rate borrowings and 1.50% to 2.50% for adjusted LIBO Rate borrowings). The current pricing on this facility would have been 1.00% or 2.00%, respectively, as of March 31, 2014. Letters of credit issued under the Revolving Credit Facility will also be subject to fees that vary depending on the Company's debt rating. The Revolving Credit Facility is available for general corporate purposes but may not be used to fund dividend payments.


PART I. FINANCIAL INFORMATION (Continued)

FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES

Covenants

The terms and conditions contained in our indentures, the Credit Agreement, the Revolving Credit Agreement and the Bridge Loan Agreement include the timely payment of principal and interest when due, the maintenance of our corporate existence, keeping proper books and records in accordance with U.S. GAAP, restrictions on the incurrence of liens on our assets, and restrictions on asset sales and transfers, mergers and other changes in corporate control. We are not subject to restrictions on the payment of dividends either by contract, rule or regulation, other than that imposed by the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware. However, we would be restricted under the Credit Agreement, the Revolving Credit Agreement and the Bridge Loan Agreement from declaring dividends if an event of default occurred and was continuing at the time or would result from the dividend declaration.

The Credit Agreement and the Revolving Credit Agreement each contain a maximum leverage ratio covenant. Under those covenants, we are required to maintain a ratio of (i) total indebtedness minus cash and cash equivalents (including restricted cash) in excess of $50.0 million to (ii) consolidated adjusted EBITDA (as defined in the agreements) over the last four quarters not to exceed 4.50 to 1.

The Credit Agreement, the Revolving Credit Agreement, the Bridge Loan Agreement and certain indentures for our senior unsecured debt obligations limit our ability to create liens or merge or consolidate with other companies and our subsidiaries' ability to borrow funds, subject to important exceptions and qualifications.

As of March 31, 2014, we were in compliance with all of our debt and credit facility covenants.

Dividends

We currently intend to pay regular quarterly dividends. Our ability to fund a regular quarterly dividend will be impacted by our ability to generate cash from operations. The declarations and payment of future dividends is at the discretion of our Board of Directors, and will depend upon many factors, including our financial condition, results of operations, growth prospects, funding requirements, applicable law, restrictions in agreements governing our indebtedness and other factors our Board of Directors deem relevant.

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

We do not maintain any off-balance sheet arrangements, transactions, obligations or other relationships with unconsolidated entities that would be expected to have a material current or future effect upon our financial statements.

Future Commitments

In our normal course of business we have obligations under certain non-cancelable arrangements for services. During 2012, we entered into a "take or pay" arrangement for the purchase of future long distance and carrier services. Our remaining commitments under the arrangement are $145.5 million and $140.8 million for the years ending December 31, 2014 and 2015, respectively. As of March 31, 2014, we expect to utilize the services included within the arrangement and no liability for the "take or pay" provision has been recorded.

To satisfy all or part of certain capital investment commitments to three state regulatory commissions, we placed a total of $115.0 million in cash into several escrow accounts and obtained a letter of credit for $190.0 million in 2010. Another $72.4 million of cash in an escrow account was acquired in connection with the 2010 Transaction to be used for service quality initiatives in the state of West Virginia. As of March 31, 2014, $176.3 million had been released from the escrow accounts. As of March 31, 2014, the Company had a restricted cash balance in the remaining escrow account of $11.4 million, including interest earned. The aggregate amount of this escrow account will continue to decrease over time as we make the required capital expenditures in West Virginia. In September 2013, the letter of credit for the remaining $20 million expired.

In addition, the FCC and certain state regulatory commissions, in connection . . .

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