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Alaska Communications shares soar on 2Q turnaround

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Shares of Alaska Communications soared 23 percent Friday after the broadband provider delivered a major turnaround during its second quarter.

The company, based in Anchorage, Alaska, benefited from a recent acquisition, lower costs, more customers and higher roaming revenue. It also got a boost from a reversal of a previous reserve for an ongoing tax matter. It increased its total revenue, moved to a profit and slashed its debt during the quarter.

Alaska Communications earned $37.7 million, or 80 cents per share, for the quarter. That is compared with a loss of $787 million, or 2 cents per share, in the same quarter last year. Its revenue increased to $97.7 million from $90 million, with a big boost from higher roaming revenue.

The quarter's results blew past market forecasts. Analysts polled by FactSet, on average, were anticipating earnings of 7 cents per share on revenue of $91.4 million.

Alaska Communications said that it launched plans during the quarter that will significantly improve its broadband capabilities for business customers, which it believes will sustain its long-term growth. It plans to roll out the new service in Anchorage this year and expand it to other areas of the state over the next couple of years.

The company expects its revenue for the year will fall between $340 million and $350 million. Analysts are anticipating revenue of $350.8 million.

Shares of Alaska Communications Systems Group Inc. jumped by 58 cents to $3.13 at midday. Its stock traded as high as $3.61 earlier in the day, hitting levels seen since late 2011.