On Thursday, Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE:CVC) announced costs from Superstorm Sandy could hit $100 million. As a result, its cash flow is expected to fall as its programming costs increase.
In reaction to the news, the company’s shares fell 10 percent.
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For customers who went without cable service during the storm, Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE:CVC) had promised them rebates. On Thursday, it announced credit payments of $33.2 million while its consolidated adjusted operating cash flow dropped about $110 million from costs of the storm.
Another fallout from the storm included the loss of customers. Cablevision said around 39,000 subscribers left in the third quarter. While billings had been temporarily placed on hold after the storm, the cable still lost about 50,000 video unit subscribers, which produces a large portion of its revenue. The company also saw about 5,000 defections from its high-speed data customers and 10,000 in its voice subscribers.
As a result, its cable-television revenue dropped 2.2 percent to $1.47 billion primarily from the storm’s impact as well as having less video customers than the previous time period.
ISI analyst Vijay Jayant noted while Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE:CVC) had been heavily impacted by the storm, Thursday’s stock sell off came from its 2013 outlook on its financial health.
“While Sandy impacted the quarter, the stock is reflecting some of the commentary about operating fundamentals. They suggested longer term growth rates of free cash flow had maybe been reduced,” Jayant said to Reuters,
He added that in the fourth quarter Cablevision also did not buyback shares and do not have any plans to do so in this first quarter, which could affect its share price.
As for its rising programming costs, Cablevision executives said in the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call on Thursday, they had expected them to rise up around 12 percent in 2013.
Chief Financial Officer Gregg Seibert noted that he sees pressure in the first quarter on Cablevision’s operating cash flow but in the second quarter, it should see improvements.
Seibert added that capital expenditures should stay “at elevated levels” in 2013 but look for improved budgeting on them.
Analysts had hoped to hear Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE:CVC) would undergo improved financial performance in 2013, reported Reuters, after the company believed it was investment year with its steady prices and investments for a quicker Internet service. This comes as the cable provider has faced greater competition from its rival, Verizon FiOs (NYSE:VZ).
Looking to help its balance sheet, earlier in the month Cablevision announced the $1.6.25 billion sale of its Optimum West business, previously referred to Bresnan, to Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHTR). The business reaches approximately 360,000 Western U.S. customers and when it purchased the company two years ago, Cablevision paid approximately $1.4 billion.
The close is expected in the third quarter and its proceeds should cut the overall leverage for Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE:CVC), said Seibert.
Cablevision is currently down 8.12 percent and is trading at $14.12.