Bell Atlantic Corp., the nation's largest local telephone company, reported yesterday that in the fourth quarter it earned $1.06 billion, or 65 cents per diluted share.
This was a 12.7 percent increase from the same quarter in 1997, when New York-based Bell Atlantic had net income of $940 million, or 60 cents per diluted share.
When one-time costs such as expenses from the 1997 merger with Nynex Corp. are excluded, Bell Atlantic's net income for its most recent quarter rises to $1.1 billion, 69 cents per diluted share.
This is 14.9 percent more than 1997's fourth-quarter adjusted net income, which was $970.9 million or 62 cents per diluted share.
Bell Atlantic, which dominates local telephone service in the lucrative, densely populated region from Maine to Virginia, had strong growth in the dynamic wireless and data markets.
"The underlying drivers look very strong for the company," said Michael J. Balhoff of Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc. in Baltimore.
"Bell Atlantic has been plagued by relatively slow revenue growth compared to its peers," Balhoff said. "So these numbers bode pretty well for 1999."
The earnings figures matched Wall Street's expectations. Bell Atlantic's stock gained 18.75 cents yesterday to close at $55.75.
The company had revenue of $8.1 billion in the last quarter of 1998, a 4.5 percent rise from the $7.7 billion in adjusted total revenue that the company garnered in the same period the previous year.
Pub Date: 1/28/99