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Charter sees revenues increase, profits drop in third quarter

October 26, 2017 GMT

STAMFORD — Charter Communications’ revenues rose and profits fell in the past three months as it presses on with the integration of the two companies it acquired last year, according to its third-quarter earnings released Thursday.

Revenues hit $10.46 billion, a 4 percent increase from the total in the same period last year. A $48 million profit represented a nearly 75 percent plunge from the bottom line in the third quarter of 2016. The Stamford-based company attributed the drop to fiscal changes including higher depreciation and amortization, greater interest expenses and fewer gains on financial instruments.

In an earnings call Thursday, Charter officials said they remained bullish about the company’s direction since closing in May 2016 on a $55 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable and a $10 billion purchase of Bright House Networks. Those deals made Charter the No. 2 cable carrier in the country after Philadelphia-based Comcast.

“We’re creating one company with a unified and centralized operating approach, which puts Charter on a path to grow faster over a multi-year period,” Tom Rutledge, Charter’s CEO and chairman, said on the call. “The integration is going well and remains on schedule.”

Charter now serves about a total of nearly 27 million residences and small and medium-sized businesses. Its customer base in the past quarter grew by around 200,000.

The company’s number of internet and voice customers increased, respectively, by 249,000 and 27,000. But the number of video accounts dropped by 104,000.

“We still think we can grow the video business going forward and expect to grow the video business going forward,” Rutledge said. “It’s true there are many pressures on the video bundle, the biggest pressure being price.”

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma slightly tamped down the company’s earnings in the past quarter, Charter officials said.

Among new initiatives, the company plans to launch its wireless service in 2018, Rutledge said.

Reflecting its growth, the company announced earlier this month that it planned to relocate its Stamford headquarters from its current downtown base at 400 Atlantic St., to what would be a new 500,000-square-foot building at 406 Washington Blvd. Charter plan to makes the move in 2019.

While it continues to expand, the company has weathered recent controversy. It resolved last week a contractual dispute with Viacom, which distributes to Charter about two-dozen channels including Comedy Central, MTV, BET and VH1.

Charter still faces a strike of about 1,800 technicians in New York and New Jersey who are unhappy with the new contract terms that the company has offered.

pschott@scni.com; 203-964-2236; twitter: @paulschott