Verizon Communications, Inc. (NYSE: VZ – $57.26) reported adjusted earnings for the first quarter of $1.20 per share, up from $1.17 in the same period a year ago and four cents ahead of analysts’ estimates. Total revenue of $32.13 billion was up 1.1% from the same period a year ago, but a bit below what the Street was expecting at $32.3 billion. Cash flow from operations totaled $7.1 billion in first-quarter 2019, an increase of about $400 million year-over-year. Verizon’s Wireless unit reported 61,000 retail postpaid net additions, consisting of 44,000 phone net losses and tablet net losses of 156,000, offset by 261,000 other connected device net additions, primarily wearables. Postpaid smartphone net additions were 174,000. Total Wireline segment revenues decreased 3.9% year over year to $7.3 billion, as growth in high-quality fiber products was offset by pricing pressures on legacy products and technology shifts. Total Fios revenues grew 3.6% year over year to $3.1 billion as the company added a net of 52,000 Fios Internet connections and lost a net of 53,000 Fios Video connections, continuing to reflect the shift from traditional linear video to over-the-top offerings.
Not to be left behind in the streaming entertainment game, Verizon said it entered into an agreement with Google to make YouTube TV available to its customers, while continuing to stay focused on rolling out its 5-G technology. YouTube TV offers cable-free live TV on mobile phones, tablets, TVs and computers and includes more than 70 networks such as ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC. Revenue within Verizon’s Media unit (AOL, Yahoo!, etc.) was $1.8 billion during the quarter, down 7.2% from a year ago. It said the business continued to suffer from declines in desktop advertising revenue, even as its mobile advertising revenue grew.
For full year 2019 the company expects low single-digit percentage growth in adjusted per share earnings, increased from prior guidance anticipating adjusted EPS similar to $4.71 posted in 2018. Analysts had expected $4.65. At the recent quotation, the blue chip shares offer above-average appreciation potential through the early years of the coming decade and the 4.1% dividend yield enhances its total return prospects, making it a darling for the income-seeking crowd as well.