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Qwest affirms ’03 guidance

The Associated Press

DENVER — Qwest Communications International Inc. reaffirmed its prediction for its 2003 financial results Wednesday, saying it expected a mid-single digit percentage drop in revenue.

Full fourth-quarter and 2003 results will be released Feb. 19.

Qwest said its rate of access line losses was slowing, and that it has been adding long-distance phone and high-speed Internet DSL customers. New marketing programs in the fourth quarter led to higher marketing expenses.

The Denver-based telecommunications company said it was releasing the information in anticipation it might look for debt funding.

Qwest has more than $3 billion of debt maturing between 2004 and 2005, and using extra debt funding to refinance maturing debt could improve cash flow and give Qwest flexibility to go after acquisitions, UBS analyst John Hodulik wrote Wednesday.

Qwest shares were down 8 cents to $4.12 at closing Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.