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AT&T: Supply chain, finances looking good amid pandemic

AT&T said that its financial situation remains solid despite the ongoing market turmoil caused by the spread of COVID-19. The company also said that it does not expect any major impact to its supply chain.

"Over the past several years, the company has worked with its suppliers to ensure a geographically diverse supply chain to reduce risk in these types of situations," AT&T said in a release. "While the COVID-19 pandemic is subject to rapid change, in general, the company believes its exposure to near-term equipment shortages is limited."

AT&T's statements on its supply chain largely dovetail with a similar announcement from wireless networking equipment vendor Ericsson last month. The CEO of the networking giant said that "the short-term impact of the coronavirus on our supply chain has been limited to none."

However, the spread of the new coronavirus has clearly affected AT&T's primary businesses in the short term. The company has shuttered thousands of retail stores, and Wall Street analysts widely expect the service provider – as well as other wireless network operators – to report a significant fall-off in new wireless customer acquisitions during its next quarterly update, scheduled for April 22.

Moreover, the media business AT&T acquired via the purchase of Time Warner is also taking a significant financial hit alongside the rest of Hollywood as movie and TV productions remain shuttered.

Nonetheless, AT&T said its current financial situation remains relatively solid. The company said it had about $12 billion in cash on hand at the end of 2019. And AT&T said Tuesday it scored a $5.5 billion term-loan agreement "at competitive rates with 12 banks" to provide additional financial flexibility

AT&T added that its pension trust remains funded.

As a result, AT&T said it expects it will be able to "provide cash from operations that will support network investments, dividend payments and debt retirement, as well as the ability to invest in business opportunities that arise as the economies recover."

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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