Charter Communications posts Q4 profit

Thanks to gains from emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy

NEW YORK -- Charter Communications swung to a fourth-quarter profit thanks to gains from its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy late last year.

The cable operator on Tuesday reported a quarterly profit of $12.7 billion, compared with a year-ago loss of $1.5 billion. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization climbed 2.1% to $633 million, leaving the full year up 7.5%. Assuming the company had owned the same set of assets in both years, pro forma EBITDA rose 2.4% for the fourth quarter and 7.8% for the year.

Revenue rose 3.3% over the year-ago quarter to $1.7 billion, leaving the full-year 2009 figure up 4.3%.

On a pro forma basis, revenue was up 3.5% and 4.5%, respectively.

Charter lost about 56,900 basic video subscribers in the fourth quarter to end 2009 with more than 4.8 million users, but it gained digital, broadband and telephony customers.

Mike Lovett is running Charter as interim president and CEO after the recent departure of Neil Smit who joined Comcast Corp. He lauded "strong operating results throughout the year" and said the financial restructuring in bankruptcy "better positions us for the future."
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