Alltel 4Q Loss Result of Going Private

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- The cost of going private showed up Thursday in Alltel Corp.'s fourth-quarter earnings report, in which the wireless company lost $525 million and cited $619 million in takeover costs.

Two private equity firms closed the $24.7 billion purchase of Alltel in November. The $619 million in costs came before taxes, Alltel said. The Little Rock-based company is continuing to report its earnings because it still has public debt.

Alltel had revenue for the quarter ending Dec. 31 of $2.27 billion, up 8 percent from $2.09 billion a year prior, a gain of $179.8 million. The $525 million loss stands in contrast to its $216 million profit from the same period last year.

With the buyout by TPG Capital and GS Capital Partners, Alltel took on $23 billion in debt.

"While Alltel's ownership has changed, our focus remains the same - continuing to strike the balance between growing value for our shareholders over the long term while continuing to provide outstanding service for our customers," Alltel President and CEO Scott Ford said.

Despite the cost and debt burdens, Alltel continues to grow.

For the first time in a single quarter, Alltel added over 1 million gross customers without acquiring any other companies. That customer growth represents a 14 percent increase from a year ago. Net customer additions were 342,684, up 50 percent from last year's fourth quarter.

Average revenue per wireless customer was up 3 percent to $54.59 for the quarter. Data revenue per customer was up 63 percent to $6.74.

For the fiscal year, Alltel's profit was $183.2 million, down 84 percent from $1.29 billion the year before. The company's annual revenue was $8.80 billion, up 12 percent from $7.88 billion a year earlier.

It had an average of 12.25 million customers for the year, up 10 percent from 11.21 million the year before. Gross internal customer additions were 3.59 million for the year, with a net increase of 961,255.

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