UPDATE 3-Time Warner Cable profit beats, warns of slowdown

Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:22am EDT

Related Topics

* Q2 EPS 89 cents up from 85 cents year-earlier

* Q2 rev up 4 pct to $4.47 bln, ahead of expectations

* To launch 4G wireless service in four U.S. cities

* Sees slowdown in rev, profit growth in 2nd half

* Shares down 2.7 percent

(Adds byline, executives quotes, background)

By Yinka Adegoke

NEW YORK, July 29 (Reuters) -Time Warner Cable Inc (TWC.N), posted a better-than-expected rise in quarterly profit on Wednesday but warned it expects a slowdown in revenue and profit growth in the second half of the year.

Chief Financial Officer Rob Marcus said the weak economy has intensified already stiff competition among cable, phone, and satellite companies. Time Warner Cable's shares dipped 2.7 percent in Wednesday trading.

"Given the slow subscriber growth in recent quarters we expect that revenue growth will slow in the second half of the year," Marcus said on a conference call with analysts." He said faster-than-expected growth in programming and marketing expense costs will also hamper operating profits.

Not only is Time Warner Cable facing price wars with phone and satellite TV companies, but it is also beleaguered by the weak U.S. housing market. As fewer Americans move home there is less opportunity for pay-TV operators to sell new services.

Time Warner Cable executives also said the U.S. recession led customers to 'cut the cord' on their home phone service and use only mobile phones.

Chief Executive Glen Britt said the company will launch its 4G wireless service this fall in four cities including Charlotte, North Carolina and Dallas, Texas.

Time Warner Cable and Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) formed a 4G partnership with wireless company Clearwire Corp CLWR.O last year, which is expected to yield faster wireless Internet speeds than current connections.

Britt also said the company would soon introduce its 'Wideband' Internet service in homes in its New York City market.

The plans, like the previously announced Web TV trial 'TV Everywhere', are part of a strategy for the cable company to make its services available to customers beyond the home.

PROFIT BEATS

Second quarter net profit rose to $316 million, or 89 cents per share, from $277 million, or 85 cents per share, a year earlier.

Time Warner Cable's adjusted profit excluding items came in at 91 cents a share compared with analysts' forecasts of 79 cents according to a poll by Reuters Estimates.

Revenue rose by 4 percent to $4.47 billion. Analysts had been expecting revenue of $4.44 billion.

Time Warner Cable added 88,000 residential high-speed Internet subscribers and 54,000 digital video subscribers.

Analysts at Bernstein Research were expecting 90,000 Internet additions and 27,000 new digital video customers.

The New York-based cable company also added 103,000 home phone subscribers compared with Bernstein's forecasts 105,000.

But it lost 57,000 basic video subscribers hurt by competition and the weak economy but offset by around 60,000 additions in the quarter which the company said were due to the U.S. government-mandated digital TV transition. Bernstein forecast losses of 105,000 basic subscribers.

Time Warner Cable executives had previously warned that they were seeing slower subscription sales early in the second quarter. The company said in the first quarter it had benefited from the U.S. government mandated digital TV transition which was later delayed till the second quarter.

Time Warner Cable was separated from Time Warner Inc (TWX.N) on March 12.

Shares were down 91 cents to $32.98 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Yinka Adegoke; Editing by Derek Caney)

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