Charter reports $1.5B Q4 loss before April 1 bankruptcy

Charter Communications, the nation's fourth-largest cable operator, reported a widening loss year-over-year. One of its subsidiaries also will not make an interest payment on debt because the company is going into a prearranged bankruptcy April 1.

Poor Charter hasn't made a profit since going public in 1999. In the fourth quarter, the company recorded a loss of $1.5 billion ($3.96 per share) as compared to only (!) $468 million ($1.27 per share) in Q4 2007. 

Charter's most recent results include a $1.52 billion impairment charge. If not for high interest payments on its debt, Charter could have posted a profit for several quarters. In Q4, it paid a whopping $486 million in interest. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization came to $620 million in the quarter, up 10 percent.

For the full year, Charter posted a lost of $2.45 billion ($6.56 a share), compared to a loss of $1.62 billion ($4.36 per share) in 2007.

If you wanted good news, revenues for the company grew 6.6 percent, from $1.5 billion to $1.66 billion, driven by growth in phone and high-speed broadband services. Demand for DTV service and its entry into the SMB market have also helped. ARPU per subscriber rose by 10 percent to $108.27.

As of Dec. 31, 2008, Charter had $21.7 billion in total debt. Even after it goes through bankruptcy, it will still have $13 billion of mostly bank debt coming due from 2013 to 2016.

For more:
- AP via The Google. Article.

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