By Ben Fox Rubin
DirecTV's (>> DIRECTV) fourth-quarter income jumped 31% as the satellite-television operator's subscriber base and revenue in Latin America saw strong growth.
The company's board also authorized a new $4 billion buyback program. The company's market value is currently $31.2 billion, according to FactSet.
DirecTV has focused on Latin America as a source of growth, as the company also hones in on high-value customers in the maturing U.S. pay-TV market. Although the company has aggressively gained market share in countries such as Mexico, Brazil and Columbia, it could face new competition from Dish Network Corp. (>> DISH Network Corp.), which has been looking to expand into Brazil.
DirecTV's Latin American segment reported revenue of $1.67 billion for the quarter, up 22% from a year earlier. The unit added 658,000 new subscribers, compared with 590,000 subscriber additions in the region a year earlier. The company now has about 10.3 million subscribers in Latin America, up from 7.9 million a year ago.
In DirecTV's U.S. business, which is still much larger, revenue for the quarter rose 4.8% to $6.32 billion. The unit tacked on 103,000 subscribers, down from 125,000 subscriber additions a year earlier. The U.S. subscriber base stood at 20.1 million at the end of the quarter, up 1% from a year ago.
For the latest quarter, average monthly subscriber churn, or subscriber turnover, in the U.S. was 1.43%, down from 1.52% a year ago. In Latin America, the total churn rate was up at 1.75%, from 1.65% a year earlier.
DirecTV reported a profit of $942 million, or $1.55 a share, up from $718 million, or $1.02 a share, a year earlier. Revenue grew 7.9% to $8.05 billion.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had most recently forecast a profit of $1.13 a share on revenue of $8.03 billion.
Shares closed Wednesday at $51.67 and were inactive premarket. The stock is up 7.1% over the past three months.
Write to Ben Fox Rubin at firstname.lastname@example.org
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