Charter Communications Fourth-Quarter Loss Narrows, But Misses Estimates

Tom Rutledge COO - H 2011
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Tom Rutledge COO - H 2011

The company, led by CEO Tom Rutledge, lost 36,000 video subscribers, down from a 44,000 decline a year earlier.

Cable operator Charter Communications on Friday reported a narrowed fourth-quarter loss and video subscriber losses than in the year-ago period.

The company, led by CEO Tom Rutledge, posted a loss of $40 million, which was higher than Wall Street had expected, but less than the year-ago loss of $67 million. Adjusted operating cash flow, another profitability metric, climbed 1.7 percent to $698 million.

Revenue rose 4.3 percent to $1.91 billion, but programming costs and spending on cable system upgrades also increased, dragging down the bottom line.

Charter lost 36,000 residential video subscribers in the fourth quarter, down from a 44,000 decline in the same period a year earlier. But its residential broadband customer growth slowed from 68,000 to 54,000. Charter also signed up 34,000 new telephony subscribers, up from 27,000 a year earlier.

Residential customer relationships increased by 20,000, in the fourth quarter. For all of 2012, they grew by 108,000, compared to a 2011 loss of 20,000.

"Our fourth quarter results provide early evidence that our strategic changes are working as planned," said Rutledge. "We are providing a more competitive product and service, and as a result, customer relationships are growing and underlying subscription revenue is accelerating. Across both our residential and commercial businesses, our strategies are designed to drive higher market penetration and sustainable growth."

Charter recently agreed to acquire cable systems in four markets for $1.6 billion from Rutledge's former employer Cablevision Systems.


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