PORTLAND, Maine — FairPoint Communications posted a $23.9 million loss for the first quarter of 2017, marking a turn from four profitable quarters last year.
The company’s stock was down more than 3 percent on the news Thursday morning, with losses attributed to declining landline phone revenues and health care benefits paid for retirees.
The company’s revenue from voice services dropped by about 9.2 percent, to $68.9 million for the quarter. The company’s costs for “other post-employment benefits” rose $42.7 million, driving much of the additional cost for the quarter.
The latest earnings also came on lower revenue overall, down to about $201.9 million from about $206.8 million for the first quarter of 2016.
In 2016, the company posted its first profitable year since its bankruptcy restructuring completed in 2011. Those profits followed a 131-day strike started in 2014, the country’s longest labor dispute started in that year.
The company said it increased revenue from what it considers growth areas, focused mostly on broadband internet services for homes and businesses.
The company succeeded last year in shedding some of its landline obligations in Maine, with lawmakers passing a bill to gradually free the company from a requirement to provide landline service in some of the state’s most populous areas.
The Illinois-based Consolidated Communications also is in the process of buying FairPoint. Paul Sunu, FairPoint’s CEO, said Thursday that the company remains on track to complete the merger by the middle of this year.
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FairPoint, based in North Carolina, has also cut jobs across its service area, which is mostly in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. As of March 31, 2017, the company had 2,471 employees, down by 233 from one year ago.