In an industry battered by poor economics, telecom provider US LEC Corp. continues to report positive financial news.

US LEC cut its third-quarter net loss to $12.8 million, or 48 cents per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $22.8 million, or 85 cents per diluted share, in the same period last year.

Revenue also improved for the Charlotte-based company, increasing 39 percent to $63.9 million. Last year, revenue for the quarter totaled $46 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were $4 million, compared with $2.1 million in the third quarter of 2001.

Jennifer Sharpe, a spokesperson for US LEC, says the company attributes several factors to its success. Sharpe says US LEC focuses heavily on customer care and on placing multiple products with each customer, offering “just the right mix” of voice, data and Internet services.

“US LEC has never strayed from our original business plan of being a reliable local provider,” Sharpe continues. “US LEC caters to its customer niche…medium to large sized businesses. We don’t try to be all things to all customers.”

Finally, Sharpe says US LEC has kept its growth in check. Both internally and externally, she says “everything is controlled.”

For the first nine months of 2002, US LEC reported a net loss of $52 million, or $1.96 per diluted share. That compares with a net loss of $59.5 million, or $2.17 per diluted share, for the first nine months of 2001.

Revenue was $176.6 million for the first nine months. That’s 39 percent more than revenue of $127.1 million in the first nine months of 2001. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciations and amortization were $6.7 million, excluding the $9.5 million provision for accounts related to WorldCom. That compares with a $13.6 million loss, excluding a $5 million provision for doubtful accounts, during the first nine months of last year.

“Now, we are focused on keeping customers happy and on becoming cash flow positive,” Sharpe adds. “We have everything we need to get there.”