Windstream Corp. CEO Jeff Gardner appeared on CNBC's Mad Money with Jim Kramer show Monday night to discuss the Little Rock-based telecom's business strategy.
Gardner talked about the much-covered transition Windstream is making from a traditional rural wireline telephone company to a fiber-based and cloud-based enterprise firm.
“We're a different company, Jim,” Gardner said. “We are focused on the enterprise space. You said it earlier, we are not an EPS (earnings per share) company. We generated $1.60 in cash flow per share. Our dividend is very comfortable.”
Gardner said that Windstream's investments in fiber-to-the-tower, which is boosting cellular companies' abilities to serve more data customers using smartphones, has been a huge growth area for the company.
“We've got great opportunities this year to invest in parts of the business that are going to grow into the future,” Gardner said. “We have over 5,000 contracts with some of the biggest carriers in the country. That's offering us great opportunities.”
Gardner also hyped
Windstream's investments in cloud computing, which allows data storage and networking services for companies in a secure, off-site location.
“We are making big investments in the cloud. Sometimes while these may not be popular in the short run, we are trying to build a business for the long run,” he said.
He also played up the recent acquisition of New York-based PAETEC, which expands Windstream's size and geographic reach.
“What's remarkable since the deal you and I talked about in December of 2011 we have access today to companies we have never had access to before. Fortune 50, Fortune 10 companies,” Gardner said. “We sell today not only digital voice, we sell to cloud, we sell network. We have 140,000 miles of fiber. We have a cloud business growing at 18% a year in our company today. So this is a patient story. One that is not at risk in the long-run.”
You can access the full interview here.