Comcast 4th-quarter net income nearly flat
New York — Comcast Corp.’s fourth-quarter net income edged up less than 1 percent as the company added more customers for its cable TV, high-speed Internet and phone services.
The nation’s largest cable provider also raised its dividend and said it would repurchase $10 billion in stock.
Comcast is in the midst of a $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable that is undergoing a regulatory review. Cable providers have been consolidating as more viewers shift to watching video on mobile tablets, computers and smartphones rather than through traditional cable TV stations. Meanwhile, broadband providers are awaiting the decision of federal regulators Thursday over “net neutrality,” which will allow the government more regulatory control over Internet providers.
Comcast said its total customer relationships rose 47 percent to 27 million during the quarter as existing customers picked up more services, including 6,000 video customers, down 87 percent from a year ago, when the company added 46,000 new video customers. In the current quarter it added 375,000 high-speed Internet customers, nearly flat from a year ago, and 123,000 voice customers, down 46 percent from 227,000 additions in the prior-year quarter.
Subscribers to the company’s bundled services including cable, Internet and phone made up 37 percent of total customer relationships, up from 35 percent in the year-ago quarter.
The average monthly customer bill rose 5 percent to $139.95 from $133.52.
For the three months ended Dec. 31, net income rose to $1.93 billion, or 74 cents per share, up from $1.91 billion, or 72 cents per share, a year ago.
Adjusted for costs related to the Time Warner Cable acquisition and tax adjustments, earnings totaled 77 cents per share. Analysts expected 78 cents, according to FactSet.
Revenue rose nearly 5 percent to $17.73 billion from $16.93 billion. Analysts expected $17.67 billion.
Cable revenue rose 6 percent to $11.31 billion, while NBCUniversal division revenue rose 2 percent to $6.62 billion.
Separately, Comcast said it would raise its dividend by 11 percent to 25 cents, with the first dividend payable on April 22 to shareholders of record as of April 1.
It increased its stock repurchase program to $10 billion, with $4.25 billion scheduled to be bought back in 2015. Other stock buybacks will be determined after the Time Warner Cable deal closes.
Comcast shares slipped 25 cents to $57.97 in premarket trading about an hour ahead of the market open.