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BellSouth Earnings Rise 15 Percent

January 22, 1998

ATLANTA (AP) _ BellSouth Corp. said Thursday its fourth-quarter earnings rose 15 percent, boosted by strong demand for extra phone lines and a solid economy in the Southeast.

Earnings for the last three months of 1997 were $729 million, or 73 cents per share on a diluted basis, up from $633 million, or 64 cents per diluted share, in the same quarter a year earlier.

The earnings beat analysts’ expectations by about 2 cents a share, according to a survey by First Call Corp. BellSouth’s shares rose $1.68 3/4 to close at $60.31 1/4 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Revenues were $5.60 billion, compared to $5.05 billion a year earlier.

The Atlanta-based company added 1,066,000 lines in 1997, including 233,000 during the fourth quarter. Residential lines grew 4.6 percent in 1997, and business lines grew 5.3 percent.

BellSouth also reported rapid growth in sales of special features, such as Caller ID Deluxe, and in its worldwide cellular customer base.

The fourth-quarter income included $23 million from sale of Bellcore, a telecommunications research company, which was partially offset by a charge of $9 million for retiring the debt.

For the year, net income was $3.26 billion, or $3.28 a diluted share, up from $2.86 billion, or $2.87 a diluted share, for all of 1996. Full-year revenues rose to $20.5 billion from $19.0 billion.

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