Qwest reports profits after merger

— Qwest Communications International Inc. said today its revenue topped $1 billion for the first time in the third quarter, attributing the increase to a growing demand for Internet and data services.

Excluding one-time costs of $25 million related to its pending merger with U S West, Qwest reported third-quarter net earnings of $19.8 million, or 3 cents per diluted share, compared to a pro forma net loss $11.4 million, or 2 cents per share, in the same period last year.

Pro forma results are calculated as if Qwest's acquisitions of Phoenix, LCI and Icon had been included as of Jan. 1, 1998 and exclude one-time merger-related charges.

Including the merger-related costs, Qwest reported a net loss of $1.8 million breaking even in terms of earnings per share compared to a net loss of 1 cent per share in the third quarter of last year.

The $1.02 billion in total revenue for the third quarter is a 26 percent increase over the third-quarter 1998 figure. Communications services revenue grew by 69 percent. Qwest Chairman and CEO Joseph P. Nacchio called breaking the billion-dollar mark a ''major milestone.''

Qwest said Internet and data services operations remained the company's fastest-growing segment and were up by more than 200 percent over the third quarter of 1998, fueled by ''high demand for dedicated Internet connectivity and broadband applications and services.''

Qwest and Denver-based Baby Bell US West have completed all government filings for their proposed merger, Qwest said in a news release announcing its third-quarter earnings. Shareholders of both companies are expected to vote on the merger Nov. 2.

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