Charter Turns 4Q Profit on Stronger Revenue

By EarningsFOXBusiness

Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) swung to a profit in the fourth quarter, as last year’s acquisition of Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) assets boosted revenue.

Charter, which was engaged in a hostile takeover attempt for Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), reported on Friday a profit of $39 million, or 35 cents a share, versus a year-ago loss of $40 million, or 41 cents a share.

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Revenue climbed 12% to $2.15 billion, helped by the addition of Cablevision’s western U.S. cable systems, Optimum West. The $1.6 billion deal was completed in July 2013.

Analysts were anticipating per-share earnings of 24 cents and revenue of $2.16 billion.

Charter’s decline in video subscribers eased in the latest period. Adjusted to account for the Cablevision deal, the company lost 2,000 customers after shedding 36,000 a year earlier. Charter added 93,000 net Internet subscribers and 56,000 voice customers, outpacing year-ago gains.

Higher marketing and programming costs sent expenses up 14%.

More competitive offerings, including additional HD channels and packages for advanced services, helped lift subscriber numbers, Charter said. According to chief executive Tom Rutledge, the company expects to complete its all-digital TV initiative this year.

“We now deliver a competitive, highly valuable suite of products and services to our customers, and we are beginning to execute at a high level, evidenced by improving trends through the year,” Rutledge said.

The Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA)-backed company made a proposal early this year to acquire Time Warner Cable for $132.50 a share. Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) jumped in with a $45.2 billion offer, or nearly $159 a share, thwarting Charter’s attempt to buy the second-largest U.S. cable provider.

On a conference call with analysts, Rutledge said Charter remains interested in “wisely” acquiring subscribers through mergers and acquisitions.

Shares of Charter, the No. 4 cable company, slipped 5% to $125.29 on Friday morning.