Comcast (CMCSA) more than doubled fourth-quarter sales on new video and Internet customers, sending its shares higher.
The company also announced on Wednesday a 44% increase in its annual cash dividend, to 65 cents, bringing its quarterly dividend to 16.25 cents, payable on April 25 to shareholders of record on April 4.
The Philadelphia-based cable provider reported operating income of $2.92 billion, or 47 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier $2 billion, or 36 cents. The results were ahead of average analyst estimates of 41 cents in a Thomson Reuters poll.
Revenue for the three-month period was $14.04 billion, up almost 55% from $9.7 billion a year ago, but missing the Street’s view of $14.87 billion. The gains were led by 10% growth to $2 billion in high-speed Internet and a 36.8% increase to $364 million in business services.
Video, Comcast’s biggest segment by revenue, climbed 1.3% to $4.8 billion, partially offset by a 9.3% decline in political advertising during the quarter. The gains reflect a 12.3% increase, or 465,000, in video, high-speed Internet and voice customers, as well as growth in cable networks and broadcast television.
The U.S. cable TV provider, which bought NBC Universal from General Electric (GE) last year, also announced a new share buyback program of $6.5 billion.