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Charter, Cablevision post losses

Sun, 08/08/2004 - 8:00pm
Jeffry Bartash

Copyright 2004 MarketWatch.com Inc., All Rights Reserved

Charter Communications and Cablevision on Monday both reported second-quarter losses, though revenue increased at both cable operators. Cablevision also boosted its sales forecast.

Charter's loss widened to $415 million, or $1.39 a share, from a loss of $38 million, or 13 cents, a year ago, largely owing to one-time expenses. The company was expected to lose 50 cents a share, according to the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Revenue edged up 2 percent to $1.24 billion from $1.22 billion a year earlier, though it rose 6 percent on an adjusted or "pro forma" basis.

The St. Louis-based cable operator added 58,400 high-speed Internet accounts and 4,900 phone customers during the quarter, but Charter lost 66,000 TV subscribers.

Charter also incurred a $200 million loss that in the past had been allocated to a minority interest in the company. Yet Charter eliminated that ownership structure in December, so it will now absorb future losses.

In addition, the company took $85 million in charges to settle class-action lawsuits.

Cablevision, meanwhile, posted a second-quarter loss of $187 million, or 65 cents a share, compared with net income of $158 million, or 54 cents, in the year-ago period.

Revenue surged 25 percent to $1.2 billion from $973 million based on growth at its telecommunications services unit and its AMC and IFC channels.

The company was expected to post a loss of 40 cents a share on revenue of $1.14 billion, according to a survey of analysts by Thomson First Call.

The company added 50,110 high-speed Internet users and 44,235 phone customers. Cablevision also gained 109,990 digital video subscribers and 7,490 basic video customers.

The Bethpage, New York cable TV operator upped its 2004 revenue outlook to growth of 13–15 percent from an earlier forecast of 12–14 percent.

Also, the company said it's close to wrapping up financing for its Rainbow Media unit, which it plans to spin off shortly.

In addition, the company also named Michael Huseby as chief financial officer. Huseby joined Cablevision from Charter.

In early Monday trading, shares of Charter (CHTR) added 8 cents to $3.17, while Cablevision (CVC) rose 4 cents to $17.18.

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