UPDATE 1-DirecTV forecasts strong growth, Latam to lag

Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:07pm EST

(Adds forecasts on Latin America)

Dec 12 (Reuters) - Satellite TV provider DirecTV said on Thursday it expects compound annual growth of more than 15 percent in earnings per share by 2016, while also flagging slower than expected revenue growth in the important Latin American region.

DirectTV said strong subscriber additions would help it reach earnings per share of $8 by 2016, slightly ahead of Wall Street forecasts.

The company's projections exclude results from Venezuela due to the country's huge currency devaluation.

At the same time, the DirecTV acknowledged that Latin America, long seen as a big potential growth area, would remain troubled, depressed by currency weakness in Brazil and Argentina as well as Venezuela, as well as costs related to the soccer World Cup and capacity expansion.

Revenue for the region is now seen at $8 billion to $9 billion, down from a prior forecast of $10 billion, with margins seen at around 30 percent and capital expenditures unchanged from the previous forecast at $1.6 billion.

At the same time Latin America Chief Financial Officer Fazal Merchant said he expected significant improvement in cash flow starting in 2014 and an acceleration in those improvements through 2016.

The company added 139,000 net subscribers in the United States in the third quarter, nearly double the gain of 70,000 that analysts expected.

Earnings per share for 2016 is seen at $7.62, according to the Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S consensus, while fully reported EPS is seen at $7.34. (Reporting by Soham Chatterjee and Liana Baker; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Leslie Gevirtz)

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