UPDATE 2-Cablevision loses customers after Superstorm Sandy; stock falls
Feb 28 (Reuters) - Cablevision Systems Corp took a $100 million hit on costs related to Superstorm Sandy and posted deeper video customer losses than expected, shedding 50,000 net subscribers in the fourth quarter.
At the end of the third quarter, the U.S. Northeast, which is Cablevision's main operating region, was hit by Sandy, which caused widespread flooding and power outages that disrupted cable and telephone services.
Its shares fell 8.4 percent, or $1.39, to $14.09 in Thursday morning trading.
Cablevision had promised to give customers a rebate for their time without cable service. The company said on Thursday it paid out $33.2 million in credits and that its consolidated adjusted operating cash flow decreased about $110 million because of storm costs.
"The enormous challenges of Superstorm Sandy had a strong negative impact on our fourth-quarter results," Cablevision's Chief Executive James Dolan said.
Cablevision said it lost 50,000 net video subscribers in the quarter, much higher than a loss of 12,000 that Wall Street analysts were expecting, said Brean Capital analyst Todd Mitchell.
"The subscriber impact clearly seems be more extreme than expected," Mitchell said.
The cable provider still posted higher quarterly net income, due to a $200 million payment from Dish Network Corp it received as part of a legal settlement. In October, Dish, the second-largest U.S. satellite operator settled a 4-year-old breach-of-contract lawsuit with Cablevision and AMC Networks over a joint HD channel venture called "Voom HD." Dish agreed to pay $700 million in cash to the two New York-based companies, which are both controlled by the Dolan family.
The cable service provider on Thursday posted net income for the fourth quarter of $116 million, or 45 cents per share, compared with net income of $60 million, or 22 cents per share in the fourth quarter a year ago.
Revenue fell to $1.66 billion from $1.69 billion a year earlier, just missing Wall Street expectations of $1.68 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.