This article was co-produced with Chuck Walston.
When it comes to Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), the bears are mauling the bulls. Bears will point to the fact that VZ has a hefty debt load, and the company is grappling with a bulked up T-Mobile (TMUS) and a slimmed down AT&T (T).
Furthermore, every quarter since Q2 2020, Verizon has lost market share in total phones and postpaid phones. During the first nine months of this year alone, Verizon lost 16,000 wireless subscribers. In that same time frame, AT&T added 1.7 million net subscribers, and T-Mobile added 1.1 million.
That largely explains why T-Mobile shares have soared, AT&T’s have surged, and the stock of VZ is down around 26% over the last twelve months.
However, while losses of subs and high debt levels support the bear argument, there are some positives to support the bulls. In some respects, VZ is the better company of the three, and one must wonder if the drop in share price provides an investment opportunity.
Why The Share Price Fell So Far
Shares of Verizon were chugging along rather handsomely, outperforming the markets by a wide margin until Q1 22 results hit in late April.
Net income and EPS dropped year-over-year, dragged down by higher operating expenses. Cash flow from operating activities of $6.8 billion were down $2.9 billion year-over-year. Capex increased more than fourfold, and the firm’s prodigious debt inched up by $1.9 billion.
As is common for the company during each Q1, Verizon lost net postpaid phone customers (36,000), although that marked the lowest first quarter loss since 2018.
All in all, there were few positives in the report. However, I will posit the main cause of the decline in the share price was a disappointing outlook for 2022.
Management guided for reported wireless service revenue growth, adjusted EBITDA growth, and adjusted EPS were all projected to fall at the lower end of the previous range.
Following those earnings, Verizon investors experienced the worst one-day…
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