Cox Posts Jump in Profit - TheStreet

Cox Communications

(COX)

swung to a profit in its fourth quarter, helped by strong subscriber growth in digital services.

The fifth-largest U.S. cable operator posted earnings of $179.6 million, or 28 cents a share, compared with a loss of $105.2 million, or 18 cents a share, the previous year.

Revenue climbed 18% to $1.34 billion from $1.13 billion a year earlier.

Cox said its income got a boost from a strategy to bundle multiple services to customers. The number of bundled customers grew 53%, reaching 1.7 million in 2002.

Cox added 67,190 new telephone subscribers and 84,410 new customers to its digital network, in line with analysts' estimates. But the company's 1% growth in basic cable, to 6.3 million subscribers, lagged expectations.

For 2003, the company said it is set to "realize its goal of being free cash-flow positive." It generated $85.6 million in free cash flow during the fourth quarter of 2002. Cox expects revenue to increase by 14% to 15% this year.

Cox Communications shares rose 0.5% to $27.71 in early afternoon trading.