posted a third-quarter loss from continuing operations Thursday and boosted its broadband subscriber growth target for 2003.
The Philadelphia-based cable giant posted a loss from continuing operations of $153 million, or 7 cents a share, reversing the year-ago profit of $24 million, or 3 cents a share. Revenue for the period ended Sept. 30 jumped to $4.55 billion from $1.7 billion a year earlier, reflecting the company's acquisition last fall of AT&T Broadband systems.
The company's net income for the latest period was $3.18 billion, or $1.41 a share. That figure includes a $3.3 billion gain on its September sale of its 57% stake in the QVC home shopping channel to cable magnate John Malone's
. That inflow is counted in the discontinued operations line on the income statement.
Other metrics were impressive. "Operating cash flow from our cable business exceeded $1.6 billion this quarter, a 35% increase over the prior year, and our operating cash flow margin continues its rapid improvement from 30% last year to 37% this quarter," Comcast said in a press release. The company added 472,000 high-speed Internet customers during the quarter and boosted its 2003 net-addition target to 1.7 million customers from the previous 1.6 million.
The company also added 318,000 digital cable subscribers, bringing its total to 7.3 million.
Comcast shares rose 38 cents in premarket action to trade at $34.