* Sees ‘09 EBITDA at high end of $4.25 bln-$4.4 bln range
* Sees cash flow in range of $1.6 bln-$1.7 bln
* Says Q4 business CPE sales similar to Q3 improved trend
* Qwest shares up 0.5 pct (Adds quotes from interview; update shares)
NEW YORK, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Qwest Communications International Inc Q.N expects to meet its financial targets for the year and is seeing momentum picking up going into the first quarter, its chief financial officer said on Thursday.
Joseph Euteneuer said there were some signs demand was improving among enterprise clients but said he was still cautious about where the economy goes from here.
Euteneuer said that improved trends in customer premise equipment (CPE) sales to enterprise customers appeared to continue from the third quarter to the current quarter.
“As we’re exiting 2009 we saw our CPE sales at our enterprise business be at a good level for the third quarter. The fourth quarter is looking similar,” he told Reuters.
While some of the improvements may be coming from clients looking to spend their budgets by year end after a weak start to the year, Euteneuer said equipment sales often spur service revenue improvements.
“Historically those have been somewhat (of an) indicator of future growth in recurring revenue,” he said.
As for any improvements in Qwest’s consumer business, Euteneuer said that this would depend on the housing market, which has yet to come back in Qwest’s operating region.
The executive said the company had spent less then $100 million wiring new houses with communications services this year compared with a more typical spend of $400 million.
One worry for next year will be whether customers are confident enough that the recession is behind them.
“If the economy turns worse just a little bit, is the impact... just that moment in time, or does it create a bigger pause,” he said. “That’s the one thing that nobody seems to have an answer to.”
Euteneuer said during a webcast of an investor conference earlier in the day that the company would meet the upper end of its previously announced forecast range of $4.25 billion to $4.4 billion for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.
He said that cash flow should be in a range of $1.6 billion to $1.7 billion for the year. as previously expected.
Qwest shares were up 2 cents at $3.95 in afternoon trade on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Sinead Carew, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Tim Dobbyn) ((email@example.com; + 1 646 2236186))