Windstream Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:WIN) Q3 2017 Earnings Conference Call - Preliminary Transcript

Nov 09, 2017 • 07:30 am ET

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Windstream Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:WIN) Q3 2017 Earnings Conference Call - Preliminary Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Windstream Third Quarter Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session and instructions will follow at that time.

[Operator Instructions]

As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the call over to your host, Ms. Christie Grumbos, Senior Vice President and Treasurer. Ma'am, you may begin.

Executive
Christie Grumbos

Thank you, Bridget. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining Windstream's third quarter 2017 earnings conference call. Joining me on the call today are Tony Thomas, our CEO; and Bob Gunderman, our CFO. To accompany today's call, we have posted the presentation slides, earnings release and supplemental schedule on our Investor Relations website.

Today's discussion includes statements about expected future events and financial results that are forward-looking and subject to risks and uncertainties. A discussion of factors that may affect future results is contained in Windstream's filings with the SEC which are available on our website.

With that, I'll turn the call over to Tony Thomas.

Executive
Anthony W. Thomas

Thanks, Christie. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. Starting on Slide 4. As I'm sure most of you are aware, in late September, we were engaged by a hedge fund that recently acquired a position in our debt, for the sole purpose of declaring a default related to the Uniti spin-off transaction that occurred over 2.5 years ago.

In response to the alleged default, which we vigorously deny, we initiated a consent process for our bond issues and announced earlier this week that we have successfully obtained consent for our 6.38% issue of 2023 notes, which we believe resolve the allegation of default. More than 50% of the holders of that tranche have now agreed to waive any alleged default claim related to any aspect of the Uniti spin-off transaction.

We will be filing to dismiss the pending lawsuit with respect to the hedge funds claim, given the consent that was received on the tranche and dispute. Because we have an open litigation process, we are precluded from commenting any further due to the pending litigation. In addition to the consent, we also completed a debt exchange, which extended our maturity profile and improved our liquidity position. I wanted to take this opportunity to personally thank our bondholders for their support throughout this process.

On to the business, turning to Slide 5, Windstream's focused operational strategy and targeted network investments continue to drive improvements in the business. During the quarter, we completed the acquisition of Broadview Networks in late July. We launched our proprietary SD-WAN Concierge and OfficeSuite products across our entire footprint. We expanded Enterprise contribution margins, which are now up 170 basis points in the last two quarters. We improved our broadband customer trend sequentially. We achieved our 11th consecutive quarter of Consumer ARPU growth, and we achieved synergies in line with our stated plans.

Our overall strategy continues to deliver solid results. Our