Cablevision Swings To Loss On Higher Costs

Operator Working To Reconnect Customers After Hurricane Sandy
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As it attempts to recover from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, Cablevision Systems reported a net loss for the third quarter on a small increase in revenue.

Cablevision’s net loss was $3.8 million or 1 cent a share, compared to net income of $39.3 million or 14 cents a share a year ago.

Third quarter consolidated net revenue grew 1.2% to $1.685 billion

The company said consolidated adjusted operating cash flow decreased 6.6%, to $503.8 million, and consolidated operating income declined 19.3%, to $219.8 million, all compared with the prior year period. A year ago, the company had a $12.9 million favorable settlement with a voice carrier. A year ago, the company also had about $16 million of costs related to Hurricane Irene. Excluding these items, the company said consolidated net revenue would have increased 0.4% while cash flow and consolidated operating income would have declined 11.6% and 28.3%, respectively.

Cablevision delayed its earnings report because of Hurricane Sandy last week. “The effects of last week’s storm have had a devastating impact on residents in much of our service area. As we report our third quarter results today, Cablevision crews continue to work around the clock to restore service to our customers as quickly as possible,” Cablevision CEO James Dolan said in a statement. “Our number one challenge continues to be Cablevision households without electrical power and we are moving quickly to restore our service once power returns.  In addition, as of today, the vast majority of our Optimum WiFi hotspots are operational across the tri-state region and providing service to our customers.”

Dolan added that: “Looking ahead, we will continue to focus on our customers, improving the products we offer and enhancing the service we deliver both in the ordinary course of business as well as in times of crisis.  We have already made substantial progress on several major initiatives, including the completion of our digital conversion and the further expansion of our Optimum WiFi network. We also strengthened our balance sheet and extended our debt maturity profile through a number of successful financing transactions, which together with our operational initiatives will help us to enhance shareholder value over the long term."

Cable quarterly net revenue rose 1.4% to $1.511 billion, principally due to continued growth of high-speed data and voice customers and partially offset by fewer video customers, the company said. Cash flow decreased 5.8% to $518.8 million and operating income decreased 13.0% to $280.0 million. The cash-flow results reflect higher operating expenses, primarily programming and non-executive employee related costs.

Cablevision said that during the quarter its total number of commercial relationships increased by about 5,000. It lost about 10,000 video customers, but gained 28,000 more high speed Internet subscribers and 22,000 more phone customers.

Average monthly revenue per basic video customer rose 2.1% to $154.83.

Cable advertising revenue growth of 12.3%, compared to the prior year period.