Comcast Reports Strong Financials

Comcast Corp., drawing strength from its position in digital cable and broadband, reported a fourth quarter profit and was poised for more growth in the new year.

Revenues in the fourth quarter were $4.74 billion--up 58 percent compared to a year ago. President-CEO Brian Roberts said in a conference call that Comcast's results were ahead of its internal projections. Net income was $383 million/17 cents a share, in the quarter compared to a loss of $51 million/3 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

Full-year revenues rose to $18.35 billion in 2003 compared to $8.1 billion in 2002. Comcast earned $3.24 billion/$1.44 a share in 2003, compared to a $274 million loss--25 cents a share--a year earlier.

Revenues are predicted to grow 10 percent in 2004.

Comcast continued its lead in cable and broadband, which was solidified 18 months ago when it merged with AT&T Broadband. It has 21.5 million basic cable subscribers--up 140,000 in the year compared to a loss of 415,000 in 2002. There are 7.7 million digital cable subscribers--up 1 million. Comcast has 5.3 million high-speed Internet subscribers--an increase of 1.7 million.



Debt has dropped by $7 billion in 2003, Roberts said.

In Comcast's other major business--content production--revenues rose 15.4 percent to $885 million in 2003 compared to 2002. Advertising revenues rose at each of the cable networks, although expenses to expand Outdoor Life Network and G4 cut into cash flow. Fourth-quarter revenues were up 13.4 percent to $250 million compared to a year ago.

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