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Cablevision Swings to Profit

Sales rise 12.5%.
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swung to a fourth-quarter profit on a 12.5% rise in sales as strength in its telecom and sports units offset a lower contribution from cable programming.

Cablevision earned $54.1 million, or 19 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with a loss of $305.8 million, or $1.06 a share, a year ago. On a continuing operations basis, earnings were 17 cents a share in the latest quarter. Revenue was $1.49 billion, up from $1.32 billion a year ago.

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In the telecom segment, revenue rose 16% from a year ago to $949.7 million. At MSG, revenue rose 13% to $338.2 million. At Rainbow, revenue fell 4% to $212.4 million.

Overall, operating income for the quarter was $212.8 million compared to a fourth-quarter operating loss of $50.2 million, while adjusted operating cash flow rose 49.2% to $479.7 million.

Within cable, revenue rose 16.1% to $909.6 million, operating income increased 38.6% to $168.0 million and adjusted operating cash flow rose 16.6% to $361.7 million. The gains came mainly from growth in video, high-speed data and voice customers.

Cablevision's basic video customers rose 0.6% in the quarter, while digital video customers rose by 6.5%. Optimum online high-speed data customers rose 5.9%, while Optimum voice customers rose 21.6%. The division's overall revenue-generating units rose 5.1% in the quarter compared with a year ago.

For 2006, within cable television, the company expects basic video subscriber growth of 2% to 2.5%; revenue generating unit net additions of 1 million to 1.25 million; and total revenue growth in the midteens.