updated 10/21/2004 9:42:27 AM ET 2004-10-21T13:42:27

SBC Communications Inc. said Thursday that third-quarter earnings nearly doubled year-over-year due to a hefty gain on the sale of its stake in directory operations in Illinois and northwest Indiana.

Net income totaled $2.09 billion, or 63 cents per share, from $1.22 billion, or 37 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding a gain of $827 million, or 25 cents per share, SBC reported earnings of $1.25 billion, or 38 cents per share, in the latest quarter.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were looking for the company to post earnings of 38 cents per share on sales of $12.81 billion in the latest period.

The company said it is solidly on track to reach a target of more than 5 million DSL lines in service by year's end.

SBC's revenues totaled $10.29 billion in the third quarter, up 1.4 percent year-over-year, driven by solid data growth and progress in consumer bundling. Third-quarter results include an increase to revenue of about $60 million from regulatory and other matters, including the California Public Utilities Commission's September decision on UNE-P rates.

Including results from Cingular Wireless, revenue would have totaled $12.8 billion for the latest quarter, up 2.1 percent from a year ago. SBC's third-quarter wireline revenues totaled $9.3 billion, up 1.7 percent, with wireline consumer revenues up 2.8 percent versus the year-ago third quarter.

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