Mediacom Posts Solid Q4


Mediacom Communications Corp. reported solid fourth quarter results, exceeding its guidance for free cash flow generation and adding to its digital, high-speed data and telephony rosters despite a tough economy.
Mediacom ended the year with free cash flow of $103 million (or $1.46 per share), soundly beating its guidance of $1.30 per share. For the quarter, free cash flow was $20.2 million, well ahead of the $6.8 million generated in the same period in 2008.
Fueling that growth was a 5% increase in revenue for the quarter to $372 million and an 8.4% increase in adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization to $138.5 million. Capital expenditures fell 4.4% in the quarter to $69.5 million and were down 18% for the year.
In the quarter, Mediacom lost about 25,000 basic video customers, but added 13,000 digital, 13,000 high-speed data and 13,000 telephone subscribers.
On a conference call with analysts, chairman and CEO Rocco Commisso said that Mediacom's performance was especially strong given the sluggish economy. And he called again for reform regarding retransmission consent laws and programming cost increases.
Mediacom went through its own public retransmission-consent battle earlier this year with Sinclair Broadcast Group.  The two reached a one-year agreement on Jan. 7.
"With respect to retransmission consent, I think both the FCC and the federal government have a responsibility to either make sure the laws already in place work, or to the extent that the laws don't make any sense to go out and change them," Commisso said. "I don't see that as a new way of regulating the business, but as addressing the changes that have taken place in the business over the last 20 years."