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CORRECTED - UPDATE 1-Qwest expects 09 earnings at upper end

(Corrects throughout to reflect earnings, cash flow forecasts were for 2009, not 2010)



Ian Sherr

January 6, 2010


SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Qwest Communications International Inc (Q.N) said that it expects its full-year 2009 pre-tax earnings to come in near the higher end of its forecast range, and forecast higher free cash flow and lower pension costs.

In a regulatory filing, the communications company said it expected 2009 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to come in at the upper end of its guidance of $4.25 billion to $4.4 billion. Analysts on average are expecting $4.36 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company also said adjusted free cash flow for 2009 will exceed the upper end of its previous guidance of $1.6 billion to $1.7 billion, and that capital expenditures will remain at $1.6 billion or less.

Analysts on average are expecting capital expenditures of around $1.51 billion.

Qwest also said it expects pension expenses for 2010 to be below 2009 levels, due in part to recent decisions to cut management employee pension accruals at the beginning of the year.

Shares of the Denver-based company rose nearly 1 percent to $4.55 in after-hours trading, after closing at $4.51 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)