Horsham, Pa. -- Powered by strong digital sales,
cable-equipment maker General Instrument Corp.'s earnings per share rose 30 percent
in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, and its operating income grew by 65 percent.
During the quarter, GI shipped 580,000 digital set-top
terminals -- up 38 percent from the second-quarter figure -- and 40 digital-headend
systems. GI said about 1.5 million digital boxes have been installed in subscriber homes,
out of 2 million shipped since 1996. GI now expects to ship about 2 million digital boxes
in 1998 alone.
"The real key here is that subscribers like this
product," GI chairman and CEO Ed Breen told analysts in a conference call late last
GI started shipping its latest digital set-top, the
DCT-2000, in October, and it expects to ship about 200,000 units during the fourth
Analog shipments were lower in the quarter than a year ago
or in the second quarter, mostly due to international weakness.
Overall, GI's sales rose to $518 million in the
quarter, up from $465 million in the third quarter of 1997 and $489 million in the second
quarter. Orders logged in the quarter rose to $575 million from $442 million a year ago
and $550 million in the second quarter.
Net income rose to $39.4 million, or 22 cents per diluted
share, from a pro forma $24.5 million (17 cents) a year ago. Operating income rose to
$60.8 million from $36.6 million.
GI officials said the company bought about 3.7 million of
its own shares during the quarter and more than 6 million to date this year. The company
ended the quarter with $116 million in cash, some of which went toward the share
repurchases in October.