news digest


Record customer adds lift Comcast

Comcast Corp. on Thursday reported a second-quarter profit that increased 28% on record customer additions despite a basic subscriber decline and weaker-than-expected high-speed Internet user additions. "We are again reporting double-digit growth in cable revenue, our 28th consecutive quarter of double-digit operating-cash-flow growth and our fourth consecutive quarter of record-breaking revenue-generating unit additions," Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said. The stock fell 4.7% on Thursday to $27.21 as analysts wondered whether the second half will be as strong as Comcast management is projecting, especially in broadband user growth. Roberts predicted "accelerating" cable unit growth in the second half. Comcast posted a second-quarter profit of $588 million, compared with $460 million a year ago on a 31% rise in revenue to $7.7 billion.

Fandango sale fuels Regal in Q2

Movie theater operator Regal Entertainment Group reported Thursday a second-quarter profit that more than tripled on the sale of its stake in ticketing service Fandango, but lower attendance raised eyebrows on Wall Street. "We are pleased with the solid year-to-date boxoffice performance," Regal CEO Mike Campbell said. "We are also encouraged by the early third-quarter boxoffice results and the outlook for the balance of the year." The exhibitor posted a profit of $52.7 million, compared with $16.6 million a year ago. The Fandango sale added $17 million in the latest period, while the year-ago quarter included a $19 million loss on debt retirement. Regal's second-quarter revenue declined 0.2% year-over-year to $683.4 million. Admissions revenue rose from $452.5 million to $457.9 million, while concession revenue improved from $185.2 million to $197.4 million. Attendance in the latest quarter amounted to 61.7 million, down 5.3% from 65.2 million a year ago. Regal shares fell fractionally Thursday to $21.34.

XM narrows loss on new-car subs

XM Satellite Radio on Thursday narrowed its quarterly losses as the hefty number of subscribers coming from new-car sales offset the lackluster amount of consumers who bought at stores. The company added 942,000 gross subscribers, or 338,000 net, in the second quarter for a total of 8.3 million, up from 6.9 million a year ago. Rival Sirius Satellite Radio, which is trying to merge with XM, had 6.6 million subscribers. XM said its net loss in the quarter was $175.7 million, down from a loss of $229.1 million a year ago. On a per-share basis, and not including a 12-cent charge related to its investment in Canadian Satellite Radio, XM lost 45 cents, a penny worse than analysts expected. Revenue rose 22% to $277 million, about $2 million more than analysts predicted. Shares of XM sunk 8% on Thursday to $11.13. Sirius shares were off 6% on Thursday to $2.91.

TW increases quarterly dividend

Time Warner Inc. said Thursday that it is boosting its quarterly cash dividend from 5.5 cents to 6.25 cents per share. The world's largest media conglomerate said its board has approved management's recommendation to increase the dividend by about 13.6%. The higher dividend will be payable Sept. 15 to stockholders of record at the close of business Aug. 31. "It highlights our strong confidence in the company's business prospects and our clear commitment to return value directly to our shareholders," chairman and CEO Richard Parsons said.
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