I suspect investors will be more interested today in hearing about Charter’s plans for the Rocky Mountain cable systems it’s buying from Cablevision. And that may suit management just fine: Charter reports that it had a $40M loss at year end, a 40% improvement from its loss in 2011, on revenues of $1.9B, +4.3%. Revenues were right on target with analysts’ expectations. But the loss per share, at 41 cents, was worse than the 28 cents the Street anticipated. Charter says that it had to shell out $26M more for programming than it did at the end of 2011, contributing to a 5.8% increase in costs and expenses. Outlays for property, plant and equipment also increased 37% to $449M as part of CEO Tom Rutledge’s campaign to upgrade the broadband network and customers’ set top boxes. Still, the company lost 36,000 video customers from the previous quarter, lowering the total to 3.99M. The highly lucrative Internet and phone service operations continued to grow: Charter added 54,000 broadband subscribers for a total of 3.8M, and 34,000 phone subscribers for a total of 1.9M. Also the percentage of customers taking the Triple Play package grew to 29.9% from 28.8%. The results “provide early evidence that our stratgic changes are working as planned,” Rutledge says. “We are providing a more competitive product and service and, as a result, customer relationships are growing and underlying subscription revenue is accelerating.”
Charter Communications Q4 Loss Exceeds Estimates As Costs Rise
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