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Sirius XM Expects Slower Subscriber Growth

Sirius XM (SIRI - Get Report) offered a five-year operational and financial forecast as the company continues discussions with lenders over refinancing a significant amount of debt.

The satellite radio company, formed after the July merger between Sirius and XM Satellite radio, once again said that it is in discussions with several institutions regarding a financing plan to replace its convertible notes due in 2009.

In connection with these discussions, Sirius XM offered projections for the next five years, saying it expects to grow its subscriber count from 19.1 million by the end of 2008 to 28.4 million by the end of 2013. The company said it should finish 2009, which is a critical year for the company as nearly $1.1 billion in debt will come due, with 20.6 million subscribers.

Sirius XM said that current economic conditions, particularly the dramatic and recent slowdown in auto sales, have negatively impacted subscriber growth for this year and next. Earlier this week, General Motors (GM - Get Report) reported a 45% drop in October vehicle sales, with truck sales tumbling 51%. Rival Ford (F - Get Report) said sales slumped 30.2% in the same month from a year ago, while Toyota (TM - Get Report) said light-vehicle sales decreased more than 20% to 152,101.

Previously, Sirius XM said it expected to end 2008 with about 19.5 million subscribers and that it should end 2009 with about 21.5 million subscribers.

By comparison, Sirius ended 2007 as a standalone company with 8.32 million subscribers, up 38% from the end of 2006. When XM operated by itself, it saw its subscriber count jump 18% in 2007 to 9.02 million subscribers.

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