Cox: Double-Digit Growth in ’04 - Multichannel

Cox: Double-Digit Growth in ’04

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New York -- Cox Communications Inc. officials advised Wall Street Thursday that 2004 should see 11.5%-12.5% revenue growth and 14%-15% cash-flow growth, in line with or a little ahead of analysts’ expectations.

Chief financial officer Jimmy Hayes also said at UBS Warburg LLC’s Media Conference here that basic-subscriber growth is projected at "just under" 1%, also about what analysts had penciled in before.

In early trading Thursday, Cox stock was at $33.59, up 24 cents.

Guidance on capital expenditures was also in line with prior views: $1.35 billion-$1.4 billion.

Cable analyst Niraj Gupta said Citigroup Smith Barney figures that Cox is the best-positioned MSO versus coming heightened competition from big regional phone companies, and he believes Cox "will be the most successful MSO in deploying IP [Internet-protocol] telephony to its footprint of homes, given its extensive experience in circuit-switched telephony."

He added, "In that regard, we expect Cox to better withstand increased RBOC [regional Bell operating company] competition than most of its peers, based on the broad availability of its bundle, superior customer service and the company’s fully integrated IT [information technology]/back-office platform."

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