TWC Ends Year on Strong Note

Time Warner Cable ended what could be its last quarter as a fully independent cable operator on a high note, reporting its best video and high-speed data customer metrics in years in the fourth quarter.

TWC added 54,000 basic video customers in the period and 32,000 for the year, its first 12-month positive customer growth in that segment since 2006. The cable giant also added 281,000 high-speed data customers in the quarter, 1 million for the full year, as its TWC Maxx all-digital upgrade initiative continued to gain steam. The company also added 227,000 voice customer in the quarter and 1.04 million for the year.

The cable operator said it completed the TWC Maxx rollout, including all digital conversion and Internet speed increased up to 300 Megabits per second in Austin, Texas; Kansas City; Dallas; Raleigh, N.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; and San Antonio, Texas and has begun deploying the service in Hawaii; Wilmington, N.C.; Greensboro, N.C.; and San Diego.

Revenue for the period rose 4.9% to $6.1 billion, in part because of the improved subscriber growth, and 3.9% to $23.7 billion for the year. Operating income before depreciation and amortization was flat for the quarter at $2.1 billion and down 1.1% to $8.1 billion for the full year, reflecting an 8.9% increase in operating and programming costs.

The company announced its year-end subscriber growth earlier in the month.

 “I’m incredibly proud of everything we achieved this quarter and in 2015, TWC chairman and CEO Rob Marcus said in a statement. “We made our network more reliable, our products more compelling and our customer service better. And, importantly, our subscriber improvement over the last eight quarters, including our record subscriber performance in 2015, has begun to show up in our financial results. As we begin 2016, we intend to continue to improve the customer experience and build value for our shareholders.”

This could be the last quarter that Time Warner Cable reports quarterly results as a separate publicly traded company. In May it agreed to be purchased by Charter Communications in a transaction valued at $78.7 billion. That deal is currently going through the regulatory approval process, which the company hopes will be completed before the end of March. While the deal has attracted some heated opposition, it is expected to pass regulatory muster, albeit with some federal imposed conditions.

TWC Is scheduled to hold a conference call with analysts to discuss fourth quarter results at 8:30 am today.