Comcast posts widening loss for 2nd quarter Telecommunications

August 14, 1998|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

PHILADELPHIA -- Comcast Corp.'s second-quarter loss widened because of its investment in a wireless telephone venture, as its main cable television and home shopping businesses reported gains.

Comcast, the fourth-largest U.S. cable company, reported a loss of $84.8 million, or 25 cents a share, yesterday. That is more than five times its loss before a charge of $14.6 million, or 5 cents, in the year-ago period.

Revenue rose 12 percent, to $1.32 billion from $1.18 billion.

The company's overall operating cash flow -- or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization -- rose 8 percent to $408 million when adjusted for acquisitions and divestitures.

The Philadelphia-based company's cable business added 78,000 subscribers, or 1.8 percent, and has about 4.5 million subscribers. The cable operation's cash flow increased 10 percent to $275.9 million, partly because of the growth of digital and Internet services.

Comcast's QVC home shopping cable channel reported a 23 percent rise in cash flow to $92.7 million. One reason for the increase is expansion overseas, particularly into the United Kingdom.

The results were in line with a loss of 25 cents a share predicted by analysts in a survey by First Call.

Comcast's earnings continue to be hurt because of its stake in Sprint PCS. The venture is a partnership involving Sprint Corp., Cox Communications Inc. and Tele-Communications Inc. to offer services such as wireless voice and data transmission using advanced digital technology.

In the year-ago period, a charge of $22.8 million, or 7 cents a share, resulted in a final loss of $37.4 million, or 12 cents a share.

Comcast's shares closed unchanged yesterday at $46.50 in trading of 207,300 shares.

Pub Date: 8/14/98

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