Clearwire Posts Narrower Loss Than Estimated on Cost Cuts

Clearwire Corp. (CLWR), the high-speed Internet partner of Sprint Nextel Corp. (S), reported a narrower third-quarter loss than estimated after adding subscribers and cutting expenses.

The loss from continuing operations was 7 cents a share, the Bellevue, Washington-based company said today in a statement. Analysts had predicted a loss of 28 cents on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Sales slipped 5.5 percent to $313.9 million, topping the estimate of $311.9 million.

Even as Clearwire improves its finances, investors are speculating that its long-term future is tied to joint-venture partner Sprint. Tokyo-based Softbank Corp. (9984) agreed last week to pay $20 billion for a 70 percent stake in Sprint, giving the company cash for acquisitions. Sprint, the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier, already owns 50.3 percent of Clearwire.

Clearwire cut its 2012 capital spending forecast by more than half to about $125 million to $175 million. The savings arise from its decision to delay construction of its long-term evolution network as the company aligns with Sprint’s own LTE schedule, Clearwire Chief Executive Officer Erik Prusch said on a call with analysts today.

Spending Cut

The spending cut will help reduce a projected 2012 adjusted loss in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization by about $25 million, according to the company’s statement. Clearwire now expects to post an adjusted Ebitda loss of about $150 million to $200 million.

Clearwire’s third-quarter loss was $41.3 million, compared with a loss of $83.5 million, or 34 cents a share, a year earlier. Including discontinued operations, the loss was $213.8 million, due primarily to Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC) and Comcast Corp. converting their shares during the period.

Clearwire shares were little changed in after-hours trading following the report. The stock had fallen 3.7 percent to $1.80 at the close in New York.

The company’s subscribers rose 10 percent to about 10.5 million last quarter. Clearwire also spent less on retail marketing. The retail cost of adding subscribers was $191 apiece, compared with $288 a year earlier.

To contact the reporter on this story: Scott Moritz in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Crayton Harrison at

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