Earnings at United Video Satellite Group Inc. increased by
34 percent during the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 -- to $17.7 million, or 24 cents per
share -- spurred by the addition of a C-band satellite business and a gain from the sale
of common stock in a former subsidiary.
Revenue rose by 19 percent during the quarter, to $155.2
million, compared with $130.7 million in the same period last year. Cash flow (earnings
before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, also known as EBITDA) also
increased during the period, to $30.97 million.
For the year, consolidated net income was up by 42 percent
to $64.8 million, or 87 cents per share, on sales of $598.4 million.
The biggest impact on earnings for the year -- $13.4
million -- was the addition of Turner Vision's (no relation to Turner Broadcasting
System Inc.) C-band business to UVSG's Superstar/Nextlink Group joint venture, the
A one-time gain of $10.4 million on the sale of Gemstar
International Group Inc. common stock also helped to boost earnings for the year.
"We are very pleased with the strong operating and
financial performance of the company during 1998," said Peter C. Boylan III,
UVSG's president and chief operating officer, in a prepared statement.
"We have continued to invest heavily in our future
with the pending TV Guide transaction, along with our ongoing investment in the
interactive guide business and the planned launch of our new interactive-wagering
horse-racing network," Boylan added.
The company also announced that it anticipates closing its
previously announced acquisitions of TV Guide from News Corp. and of certain
programming interests from Liberty Media Group in the next 30 days.
UVSG will change its name to TV Guide Inc., upon
shareholder approval and closing of the acquisitions, and News and Liberty will be equal
investors in the company. On a pro forma basis for these two acquisitions, UVSG's
revenues and cash flow for the year ended Dec. 31 would be $1.3 billion and $287 million,
On a quarterly basis, revenue at most of the company's
segments rose, including Prevue Networks, which climbed by 20 percent to $20.8 million
during the period; Superstar, which rose by 24 percent to $110.8 million; and
common-carrier UVTV, which increased by 11 percent to $11.1 million.
Cash flow increased significantly in the quarter within the
Superstar segment, by 43 percent, to $20.5 million. But cash flow dropped by 34 percent at
Prevue, to $4 million, and by 32 percent at the company's SSDS unit.
However, the cash-flow gains were less dramatic when partnerships were taken into account. Attributable cash flow after deducting the portion of EBITDA that relates to minority interests was $19.3 million for the quarter, down 17 percent.