Comcast (NASDASQ: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.
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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 (NYSE:GE) last year, also announced a new share buyback program of $6.5 billion.