BROOMFIELD - Telecommunications company Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT) on Wednesday reported its first quarterly profit since the end of 2008.

Broomfield-based Level 3's revenue for the fourth quarter of 2013 declined by a few million dollars from the same period a year earlier to about $1.6 billion. But the company reported a fourth-quarter profit of $14 million, an improvement of $70 million compared with 2012's fourth-quarter loss of $56 million.

The profit amounted to 6 cents per share.

Level 3, an operator of global fiber-optic networks, had posted quarterly losses for 19 quarters in a row dating back to a profit for the fourth quarter of 2008. The fourth quarter of 2008 then marked the company's first profit in six years.

Level 3 shares were trading at $34.56 by mid-afternoon Wednesday, up 10 percent from their previous close.

Fourth quarter 2013 revenue was up $33 million from the third quarter, when the company reported a loss of $21 million.

Despite the positive fourth quarter, Level 3 still posted a loss of $109 million, or 49 cents per share, for the year on total revenue of $6.3 billion. But that loss was about a quarter of 2012's loss of $422 million on $6.4 billion in revenue.

 "We had a strong finish to 2013 as our fourth-quarter revenue benefited from both underlying growth and seasonal strength," Level 3 president and chief executive Jeff Storey said in the earnings release. "Level 3's global network and differentiated customer experience continue to resonate with enterprises, leading to solid (core network services or CNS) enterprise growth of 6.8 percent for the full year 2013. We are well-positioned for improved growth in 2014."

Level 3 managed to shed some costs in the second half of the year via layoffs. The company announced in August that it was laying off 700 employees worldwide, including 150 locally. The company at that time employed about 2,700 people in Broomfield.

However, the company believes revenue prospects also look strong going forward. Chief financial officer Sunit Patel said in the earnings release that CNS revenue is expected to grow at a faster rate in 2014 than it did in 2013.

"In 2014, we look forward to building on the strong foundation for growth in revenue," adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) and free cash flow that we laid in 2013," Patel said.