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DirecTV shares down on weak 2Q subscriber numbers
August 02, 2013, 05:00 AM The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Shares of DirecTV retreated Thursday after the country’s No. 1 provider of satellite TV services reported weak subscriber figures, both in the U.S. and Latin America.

DirecTV lost 84,000 U.S. subscribers during the quarter, the worst result ever. After more than a decade of heady growth, the U.S. satellite TV industry has slowed nearly to a standstill. Cable companies are fighting back more effectively, helped by their ability to offer wired broadband, which satellite companies don’t.

Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting the loss of 63,000 subscribers.

DirecTV’s results are usually boosted by its still fast-growing business of providing TV in Latin America, but that slowed in the quarter too. It added just 165,000 subscribers in the continent, the worst result in at least seven years.

Analyst Craig Moffett at Moffett Research said the results suggest that a reassessment of Latin American growth prospects may be needed.

“Brazil’s growth is slowing, competition is becoming more credible, and the myriad macroeconomic problems facing the rest of Latin America are becoming more worrisome (and they were already plenty worrisome),” he wrote in a research report.

On a conference call after the release of the results, DirecTV Chairman Michael White said part of the reason for the weak showing from Latin America was that Sky Brazil stopped issuing certain credits, prompting 200,000 subscribers to leave. The slowing economy in Brazil, along with rising competition, were also factors.

White said net additions in Brazil this year will be half the company’s previous expectation of 1 million.

DirecTV Latin America owns a 93 percent stake in Sky Brasil, and all of PanAmericana. It also owns a 41 percent stake in Sky Mexico, which isn’t included in the subscriber figures.

The company reported net income of $660 million, or $1.18 per share, in the April to June period. That’s down 7.2 percent from $711 million, or $1.09 per share, in the same period a year earlier. DirecTV had fewer outstanding shares in the latest quarter due to stock buybacks, which increased per-share earnings.

The latest results included pre-tax charges due to renegotiation of DirecTV’s ownership in a regional sports network and retirement of debt, making the results difficult to compare with the average analyst earnings estimate of $1.33 per share, as polled by FactSet.

Revenue rose 7 percent to $7.70 billion from $7.22 billion. Analysts expected revenue of $7.75 billion.

The average monthly revenue that DirecTV gets per U.S. subscriber increased 4.6 percent to $98.73 from $94.40.

Shares of the El Segundo, Calif., company fell $1.28, or 2 percent, to close at $62. They have fallen 8.6 percent since hitting their all-time high of $67.85 on July 23.



Tags: percent, directv, latin, results, america, subscribers,

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