Comcast Profit Declines 69 Percent in Q4

Feb 2, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Cable giant Comcast Corp. posted a 69 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit Thursday, as lower investment income and a higher tax rate offset a strong performance by the company’s cable operation.

The company reported a fourth-quarter profit of $133 million, compared with a year-earlier profit of $423 million. Revenue rose 9 percent to $5.7 billion. For the year, Comcast’s profit fell 4 percent to $928 million, while revenue climbed 10 percent to $22.3 billion.

The company blamed the lower profit number on a higher tax rate and a lower level of unrealized gains in the company’s investment portfolio, which partly offset strong gains at the cable and programming operations.

Comcast said it added 342,000 digital cable subscribers and gained 40,000 net basic cable subscribers despite losing 20,000 subs to hurricanes.

However, the real bright spot was the high-speed data customer additions, which totaled 378,000 in the quarter, generating a 24 percent increase in revenue from that service to $1.1 billion.

Comcast’s cable-based phone service added 134,000 digital customers, but lost 50,000 circuit-switched customers that Comcast had inherited from the former AT&T Broadband.

The company’s programming operation, which includes cable networks The Golf Channel, OLN, G4 and E! Entertainment Television, reported a 14 percent increase in revenue for the quarter to $235 million, fueled by higher advertising and affiliate-fee revenue. Operating cash flow fell by 38 percent, however, as a result of OLN’s coverage of National Hockey League games.