Mediacom Solid Despite Economy

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Mediacom Communications
reported solid fourth-quarter results on
Friday (Feb. 26), exceeding guidance for
free cash flow generation and adding to
digital, high-speed data and telephone
rolls despite a tough economy.

Mediacom ended the year with free
cash flow of $103 million ($1.46 per
share), soundly beating 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.

Revenue rose 5% in the quarter to
$372 million and an adjusted operating
income before depreciation and amortization
rose 8.4% to $138.5 million.
Capital expenditures fell 4.4% to $69.5
million in the quarter and declined 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.

Chairman and CEO Rocco Commisso
told analysts during a call that Mediacom’s
performance was especially
strong given the economy.

He renewed a call for reform regarding
retransmission-consent laws and
programming-cost increases.

Mediacom had a retransmission-consent
spat earlier this year, with Sinclair
Broadcast Group, which ended with a
one-year deal reached on Jan. 7.

“With respect to retransmission consent,
I think both the [Federal Communications
Commission] 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.”

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