Charter Cuts Sub Losses

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Charter Communications Inc. released preliminary fourth-quarter results late Tuesday, saying that it expects to cut its basic-subscriber losses four-fold.

In a statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission after market close Tuesday, Charter said pro forma revenue for the quarter should be $1.34 billion-$1.35 billion, an increase of 5.5%-6.2% over the same period in 2004. Pro forma cash flow is expected to be $490 million-$500 million, a decrease of 2%-3.7% compared with the same period last year.

Charter said it lost 21,800 basic subscribers in the fourth quarter -- a big improvement over the same period in 2004, when it shed 82,600 basic customers. Digital-cable subscribers are expected to increase by 47,200 in the most recent quarter, while high-speed-Internet additions should number 76,400. Charter also said in the filing that it added 31,600 telephony customers in the period.

Capital expenditures are expected to be $270 million-$280 million, below the $285 million spent in the same period of 2004. Capex for the full year is expected to be about $1.1 billion, which includes $40 million-$45 million related to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Charter said in the filing that it released its results early because it expects to provide this information to potential investors as part of a private-placement offering in the near future.

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