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UPDATE 1-CenturyTel Q4 profit beats Street, sees weak Q1 rev

* Q4 adj $0.95 vs est $0.88

* Revenue $1.84 bln in line with Street view

* Raises quarterly dividend

* CenturyTel shares down 3 pct

Feb 25 (Reuters) - CenturyTel Inc CTL.N, which is changing its name to CenturyLink, posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit as revenue nearly tripled due to its acquisition of Embarq, but the rural telephone operator forecast weak first-quarter revenue.

The company also increased its quarterly dividend by 4 pct to 72.5 cents per share.

For the first quarter, CenturyLink expects earnings of 84 cents to 88 cents per share, on revenue of $1.77 billion to $1.80 billion.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 87 cents per share, on revenue of $1.82 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Lower voice-related revenue, primarily due to anticipated access line losses, will hurt earnings in 2010, CenturyTel said.

The company’s fourth-quarter profit rose to $230.2 million or 77 cents per share, from $100.1 million, or $1.00 per share, a year ago, before its purchase of Embarq. Excluding items, it earned 95 cents a share.

The number of outstanding shares more than tripled to 299.2 million from a year ago.

Operating revenue almost tripled to $1.84 billion, with Embarq contributing $1.27 billion.

Analysts were expecting earnings of 88 cents per share on revenue of $1.84 billion.

The company added nearly 47,000 high-speed Internet customers, implying an 8 percent rise sequentially.

Shares of the company were trading down 3 percent at $34.23 Thursday morning on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Mansi Dutta in Bangalore; Editing by Anne Pallivathuckal)

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