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Strike And Storms Exacerbated FairPoint's 2014 Losses, CEO Says

FairPoint Communications says a four-month strike and a succession of winter storms pushed it deeper into the red in the fourth quarter of 2014.

The company reports a net loss of $43.6 million for the quarter.

For the year, FairPoint lost more than $136.3 million.

In a quarterly earnings conference call, FairPoint CEO Paul Sunu suggested the worst is over now that FairPoint has negotiated new union contracts.

Sunu said to improve the revenue picture, the company has to increase the number of wholesale customers and commercial clients. 

But he acknowledged the loss of residential customers and said company has to do a better job for them.  

“We want to use the benefits gained from our labor agreements to make a noticeable change to our customer service and interaction,” said Sunu. “We believe we provide such service to our business customers, but we want to bring that level of care and attention to our residential customers as well.”

The company was plagued by service delays for residential customers in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine for much of four-month strike, prompting an outcry by customers and a number of state and elected officials. In Vermont, the Public Service Board launched an inquiry into the delays and an outage that resulted in the loss of enhanced 911 emergency services.

FairPoint stock rose to a 52 week high in the wake of the new agreement and a financial analyst said shareholders are pushing for a sale.

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