Cable Operators

Charter Sub Losses Continue in 3Q

10/07/2004 6:27 AM Eastern

Charter Communications Inc. released preliminary third-quarter results Thursday, stating that cash-flow growth is expected to be flat and that the St. Louis-based MSO is expected to lose 55,000-60,000 basic subscribers in the period.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday, Charter said third-quarter pro forma revenue is expected to rise 7.5% and cash flow would be flat. In the filing, the MSO added that third-quarter revenue growth was offset by increased programming, customer-care and service-related expenditures.

On an annual basis, Charter said revenue is expected to exceed the 6% growth the company posted in 2003, but cash-flow growth will likely fall short of the 7% increase in 2003.

Digital-subscriber growth is also expected to slow. Charter said net gains will be 35,000-40,000 digital subscribers, compared with a gain of 58,500 in 2003.

And high-speed-data additions will be down to an increase of 105,000-110,000 in the third quarter, compared with a gain of 137,400 in 2003.

This would be the third consecutive quarter of basic-subscriber losses for Charter. The MSO gained 11,000 customers in the third quarter of 2003, but it lost a total of 105,800 basic customers in the three quarters since.

Charter stock was down 11 cents each to $2.60 per share in afternoon trading Thursday.

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