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Cablevision: Sandy hit 4th quarter results

Cablevision Systems Corp. reported Thursday that it had

Cablevision Systems Corp. reported Thursday that it had a fourth-quarter operating loss and missed revenue estimates after superstorm Sandy devastated New York-area homes. (Feb. 28, 2013) Credit: Bloomberg News

Cablevision Systems Corp., the fifth-largest U.S. cable provider by subscribers, posted higher fourth-quarter earnings Thursday thanks to a lawsuit settlement, but its revenue slipped, hurt by superstorm Sandy.

"The enormous challenges of superstorm Sandy had a strong negative impact on our fourth-quarter results," said James Dolan, president and chief executive of the Bethpage-based company. Sandy, which knocked out power to more than 1 million customers, added costs of $111 million in the period, including credits of $33 million to customers whose service was interrupted.

Cablevision had 3.6 million total customers at the end of December, down by 39,000 from the end of September. This decline included a loss of about 11,000 customers the company can't contact in areas most affected by Sandy, the company said.

Cablevision earned $116.5 million, or 45 cents per share, in the October-December period. That's up from $60.6 million, or 22 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier. The latest quarter's results included a gain of 78 cents per share from a lawsuit settlement with Dish Network.

The company's net loss from continuing operations, which excluded the gain from the lawsuit, was $83.7 million, compared with a profit of $60.5 million a year earlier.

Revenue slipped 2 percent to $1.66 billion from $1.69 billion. Analysts, on average, were expecting revenue of $1.7 billion, according to a poll by FactSet.

For the year, Cablevision's net income fell to $233.5 million, or 87 cents per share, from $291.9 million, or $1.02 per share, a year ago. Annual revenue was almost steady at $6.7 billion.

Shares of the company, Newsday's parent, fell 9.6 percent to $13.99 in trading Thursday.

-- Combined wire services

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