Share prices for EchoStar Communications Corp. rose more than 10
percent Thursday after the company reported strong 2001 subscriber
growth in an earnings report early Thursday.
The company said it had reached the 7 million-subscriber milestone for its
Dish Network direct-broadcast satellite service in February, and it predicted
that it would hit 8 million by the end of this year.
EchoStar added 400,000 net new subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2001.
The company narrowed its operating loss during the quarter compared with the
same period in 2001 to $43 million, or 9 cents per share.
For calendar-year 2002, the company expects to have positive operating
income, it said in an earnings call Thursday afternoon.
EchoStar chairman Charlie Ergen said he was somewhat disappointed with last
year's subscriber additions and churn. 'We expected the economy to be a little
more robust than it was,' Ergen said.
He added that he was not as optimistic as Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan
Greenspan was about the state of the economy.
Ergen noted that Dish subscribers continue to downgrade
their service, and potential new customers have had trouble getting credit.
EchoStar's stock closed Thursday at $26.12 per share, up