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Subject:  Altel, anyone? Date:  5/12/2002  11:35 PM
Author:  PhoolishPhilip Number:  1360 of 1936

Call me crazy for even suggesting a telcom company (that isn't LVLT, of course), but it looks to me like Altel just entered value territory. One might also make an argument for SBC as well. Let me lay out the argument for Altel.

Altel is a wireless and wireline telecommunications company serving primarily rural telcom markets. Here is a graphic of Altel's wireless and wireline footprint:

http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/NYS/AT/presentations/GoldmanSachs5_8/sld005.htm

Altel has been the best performer of the local phone companies over the past several years, and it has been the only telcom company I'm aware of to avoid getting axed by Mr. Market--that is until now. It looks to me like the debt problems of all the other telcom companies, but especially Worldcom, have started to taint Altel as well. Does Altel deserve to be whacked? Let's look at the numbers.

EPS AVG PE Price/Sales Price/Book Net Margins Debt/Equity ROE

Current $2.92 16.2 2.0 2.6 11.7 0.65 16.2
Dec-01 $3.34 17.7 2.5 3.4 13.8 0.69 18.8
Dec-00 $6.20 10.5 2.8 3.8 27.8 0.91 38.6
Dec-99 $2.47 30.0 4.1 6.2 12.4 0.89 18.6
Dec-98 $1.89 26.4 3.2 5.2 10.1 1.07 16.1
Dec-97 $2.70 13.2 2.3 3.4 15.6 0.85