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Lumen Technologies Inc(LUMN-N)
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Lumen Stock Is Soaring Today but Still Down 97% From Its High. Is It a Buy for 2024?

Motley Fool - Fri Jan 26, 11:46AM CST

Shares of Lumen(NYSE: LUMN) are posting big gains in Friday's trading. The telecom company's share price was up 11.6% as of 11:40 a.m. ET today, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Yesterday, Lumen published a press release announcing some major refinancing and credit news. The news should give the company a greater degree of financial flexibility and help to minimize near-term bankruptcy risks.

Per the announcement, Lumen has reached agreements with a group of its lenders to extend maturities on its debt. The group of creditors that Lumen has come to updated terms with holds $12.5 billion of its outstanding debt, representing 70% of the amount of debt that had been scheduled to come due through 2027.

As part of the new agreement, debt maturities on loans held by these creditors will largely be pushed back to come due in 2029. The group will also provide an extra $1.325 billion in financing to Lumen and give it access to another revolving credit facility of roughly $1 billion.

Is Lumen stock a smart buy right now?

Lumen ended last year's third quarter with long-term debt of approximately $19.7 billion. The company is scheduled to publish its fourth-quarter results after the market closes on Feb. 6, and the recent financing announcement is an encouraging sign for the business ahead of the upcoming report.

The adjustment of outstanding loan terms and extension of new financing could represent a significant vote of confidence in Lumen from its creditors. At the very least, the debt restructuring and new credit lines give the telecom a lot more financial leeway as it moves to reshape its business and lessen any bankruptcy risks. The company is trying to halt sales declines and drive growth through networking-as-a-service offerings, edge computing, and other initiatives.

Despite trading down roughly 97% from its peak, Lumen remains a risky investment. If the company can successfully orchestrate its turnaround and show that it's capable of paying off its debt, the telecom specialist's share price will likely skyrocket above current levels.

For highly risk-tolerant investors seeking potentially explosive turnaround plays, the stock could be a worthwhile portfolio addition at current levels. But if you're looking for telecom investments backed by solid businesses and financials, there are other candidates in the industry that are much safer right now.

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Keith Noonan has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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