Comcast Q4 Net Income Up Nearly 200%

Feb 1, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Comcast said it is adding customers at a record-setting pace while reporting a nearly 200 percent increase in net income for the fourth quarter.

The nation’s biggest cable company said it expected that even more customers would be adding its video, high-speed Internet and phone services in 2007, but that it would have to make bigger capital investments as well, which caused Comcast stock to fall after the earnings announcement was released.

“The company reported strong 4Q06 results with impressive RGU [revenue generating unit] growth and encouraging trends on basic subscriber outperformance,” analyst Aryeh Bourkoff of USB said in a report Thursday morning. “However, investors will likely focus on the higher 2007 capex [capital expenditure] guidance and somewhat conservative EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization] growth guidance.”

Comcast also said it planned 3-for-2 stock split, the 11th time the company has split its stock.

Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast, said that 2006 may have been the best year ever for the company, which was founded by his father, Ralph. But, speaking on a conference call, he said, “We are investing to prepare for new businesses” and innovative and differentiated products.

“We think we can capture market share now” while new competition from the telephone companies is still trying to gain traction, he said.

Among its investments, Comcast plans to pour about $120 million into providing service to small and mid-sized businesses. Mr. Roberts said that business could grow into a $2.5 billion business in five years.

The company also plans to test more forms of interactive advertising and provide more video-on-demand programming in high definition.

In its outlook for 2007, Comcast said it expected cable revenue growth of at least 12 percent; RGU net additions of 6.5 million, compared to 5 million in 2005, and consolidated revenue growth of at least 11 percent, but said consolidated free cash-flow growth would be flat.

In the fourth quarter, Comcast’s net income was $390 million, up from $133 million a year ago. Revenues were up 30 percent to $7 billion in the fourth quarter.

For the year net income was $2.5 billion compared to $928 million in 2005. Revenues were up 18 percent to $25 billion.

Comcast stock traded at $43.15 Thursday morning, down $1.19.

(Editor: Gilbert)