Cablevision Posts Big Net Loss

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Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) reported third-quarter 2012 results this morning. The New York City cable provider posted a net loss of $0.01 per share on revenues of $1.69 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported earnings of $0.14 per share on revenues of $1.67 billion. Third-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.16 and $1.69 billion in revenues.

Searching for something encouraging to focus on in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and an unexpected loss, the company’s CEO said:

Looking ahead, we will continue to focus on our customers, improving the products we offer and enhancing the service we deliver both in the ordinary course of business as well as in times of crisis. We have already made substantial progress on several major initiatives, including the completion of our digital conversion and the further expansion of our Optimum WiFi network.

The company’s cable TV revenues rose 1.4% on growth in the number of high-speed data and voice customers, but the numbers of video customers declined. Adjusted operating cash flow fell 5.8% and operating income fell 13% year-over-year, including a $12.9 million settlement in Cablevision’s favor. Without the adjustment, adjusted cash flow would have fallen 9.7% and operating income would have declined by 19.8%. That is just awful.

Cablevision’s loss in the third quarter was driven by a $61 million expense for debt extinguishment as part of a debt refinancing.

The company offered no information on guidance, but the consensus estimate for the fourth quarter calls for EPS of $0.20 on revenue of $1.72 billion. For the full fiscal year ending in December, the estimate calls for EPS of $0.82 on revenues of $6.76 billion. The EPS estimate, at least, surely will be cut, given the third quarter’s dismal number.

The company’s shares are inactive in premarket trading this morning, having closed at $16.53 last night in a 52-week range of $10.76 to $18.85. The consensus target price for the shares was around $17.90 before today’s report.

Paul Ausick

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