Driven by surprisingly strong results from its theme parks,
The Walt Disney Co., parent company of ESPN and Disney Channel, said its net income rose
18 percent in its fiscal first quarter.
Disney -- which also cited ad-revenue gains at ESPN and
subscriber growth at Disney Channel -- said its net income rose to $755 million, compared
with $641 million in the same period a year ago. Revenue rose 9 percent, to $6.3 billion
from $5.9 billion a year ago.
Disney's share price rose to $102.93 from $97.38 on
the news last Tuesday, and it ticked up again on Wednesday. Salomon Smith Barney analyst
Jill Krutick said in a report last week that she projects the stock rising to $110 per
share this year and $125 in 1999.
In Disney's broadcasting unit, which includes the ABC
network and the cable networks, revenue rose 10 percent, to $2 billion from $1.88 billion,
and operating income rose 8 percent, to $505 million from $469 million.
The results were 'spectacular,' said Sanford C.
Bernstein & Co. analyst Tom Wolzien.
'In this market, anyone who meets expectations is very
In other earnings news last week, The Washington Post Co.
said its Cable One cable division's revenue rose 12 percent in 1997, to $257.7
million from $229.7 million, and cash flow rose 4 percent, to $105.4 million from $100.9
million in 1996. The company did not break out the quarter's results. Cable operating
income fell 8 percent, to $51.5 million from $56 million.
And CSG Systems International Inc. said its fourth-quarter
net income rose 11 percent, to $6.2 million (24 cents per share) from $5.6 million (22
cents) a year ago, on a pro forma basis. That excludes a $121.9 million ($4.78 per share)
charge to acquire the SummiTrak billing system from Tele-Communications Inc. Including
that charge, CSG lost $116.2 million, or $4.56 per share, in the quarter, compared with
net income of $3.8 million (15 cents) a year ago.
CSG's quarterly revenue rose 23 percent, to $48.9
million from $39.8 million in the same period a year ago.