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Analysts Like What They See in Charter Results

May 3, 2005  •  Post A Comment

If Charter Communications’ first-quarter results are any indication, the troubled cable operator may be turning a corner.

Though the debt-addled cable company that is controlled by billionaire Paul Allen reported a widened first-quarter loss, analysts were generally upbeat about the company after it posted a gain in revenue and recorded a smaller-than-expected loss in subscribers.

Charter reported red ink of $352 million, compared with a year-earlier loss of $293 million, while revenue advanced 5 percent to nearly $1.3 billion.

However, it was the subscriber loss numbers that really got analysts’ attention. Analysts had been expecting basic subscriber losses in the tens of thousands, but Charter reported losing fewer than 7,000 subscribers. At the same time, the company added 94,000 high-speed data customers and nearly 20,000 digital cable subscribers-both of which beat many analysts’ projections.

At the same time, Charter officials said they are continuing to explore selling off cable systems to help pay down debt, which is at nearly $19 billion. Though they wouldn’t say which systems could be up for sale, Charter executives did say that the systems in question are not considered geographically strategic and tend to be in rural areas.