Time Warner Cable had some positive news to report in what may be its last earnings report before being consumed by Comcast later this year.
In the fourth quarter, the nation’s second-largest cable operator reported its best quarterly subscriber numbers in seven years, which included the loss of just 38,000 basic video subscribers, which was less than analysts had projected.
Also setting high-water quarterly marks over the past seven years were total customer relationship net additions of 67,000, the addition 168,000 data subscribers, and voice additions of 295,000, the latter of which was Time Warner Cable’s best fourth quarter ever. The residential triple play net additions of 273,000 also marked the best fourth quarter in that category as well.
“Our fourth quarter marked a strong finish to a really positive year for Time Warner Cable,” Time Warner Cable Chairman and CEO Rob Marcus said. “As a result of record Q4 subscriber net adds and the investments we made all year in our plant, products and customer care, we enter 2015 with tremendous operating momentum.”
In January of last year, prior to Comcast closing its $42.5 billion deal to buy Time Warner Cable a month later, Marcus first outlined the company’s TWC Maxx initiative. TWC Maxx included all digital conversions in the Las Angeles and New York City markets, which led to faster data tiers (including 300 Mbps down) more VOD choices and an improved whole-home DVR offering.
Also last year Time Warner Cable completed the speed upgrade of TWC Maxx in Austin, with the all-digital portion slated to be finished early this year. This year TWC Maxx, which contributed to Time Warner Cable’s improved fourth quarter results, will touch down in Charlotte, Dallas, Hawaii, Kansas City, Raleigh, San Antonio and San Diego.
Time Warner Cable said full-year capital expenditures of $4.1 billion reflected the company’s accelerated investment in “TWC Maxx,” improved customer experience and network expansion.
On the customer experience side, Time Warner Cable deployed more than eight million new set-top boxes, digital-to-analog converters and advanced modems in customers’ homes last year. It also posted record “on-time” performance with technicians arriving at more than 97 percent of customer appointments within the designated one-hour appointment window during the fourth quarter.
Time Warner able earned $554 million, or $1.95 per share, for the period ended Dec. 31. A year earlier it earned $540 million, or $1.89 per share.
Earnings, adjusted for costs related to mergers and acquisitions, came to $2.03 per share.
The results fell short of Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $2.07 per share.
Time Warner Cable’s revenue increased to $5.79 billion from $5.58 billion. Analysts expected $5.8 billion, according to Zacks.
For the year, Time Warner Cable earned $2.03 billion, or $7.17 per share compared with $1.95 billion, or $6.70 per share, in the previous year. Its adjusted profit was $7.56 per share while annual revenue increased to $22.81 billion from $22.12 billion.
Time Warner Cable and Comcast had said in October that they expected the merger to be completed early this year. Comcast and Time Warner Cable have extended the end date for the merger from Feb. 12 to Aug. 12 of this year.
“We continue to expect the Comcast merger to close soon,” Marcus said Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.