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Cox Reports Q3

Total revenues for the third quarter of 2005 were $1.8 billion, an increase of 8% over the third quarter of 2004

November 10, 2005

8 Min Read

ATLANTA -- Cox Communications, Inc. today reported financial results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2005.

"This was another strong quarter for Cox, fueled by some excellent product performances," said President and CEO Jim Robbins. "Churn continues to decline across all products and we experienced record sell-in for digital cable, high-speed Internet and bundled services.

"The simplicity and convenience of the Cox bundle remains popular with our customers and has helped us surpass yet another milestone. More than one million customers subscribe to the Cox bundle of voice, video and Internet services. This success will serve us well as we expand our product bundle to include a wireless offering."

THIRD QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS

For the third quarter of 2005, Cox:

  • Generated $1.2 billion in net cash provided by operating activities and $208.0 million in free cash flow (net cash provided by operating activities less capital expenditures).

  • Generated 8% and 10% revenue growth during the quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2005, respectively, compared with the same periods in 2004.

  • Generated an operating loss of ($356.9) million and 17% operating cash flow growth (operating income before depreciation and amortization) during the quarter ended September 30, 2005 and an operating income decline of 84% and 15% operating cash flow growth during the nine months ended September 30, compared with the same periods in 2004.



RECENT EVENTS

During the third quarter of 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused damage to Cox's operations in Louisiana. Cox's cable system in the New Orleans area experienced significant damage, business interruption and an indeterminate loss of customers. Cox believes a significant portion of these losses will be covered by insurance, subject to a deductible amount of approximately $6 million. As of September 30, 2005, Cox had met the overall deductible amount.

As of October 31, 2005, Cox and Cebridge Connections, Inc., a company managed by Cequel III, LLC, entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of Cox cable systems serving approximately 940,000 basic cable subscribers. The agreement includes Cox's cable systems in West Texas (serving Lubbock, Midland, Amarillo, San Angelo and Abilene areas), North Carolina (serving Greenville, Rocky Mount, New Bern and Kinston areas), Humboldt County and Bakersfield, California, and much of Middle America Cox (MAC) (primarily comprised of operations in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas). MAC also includes certain systems in Oklahoma, Mississippi and Missouri. Excluded from the sale are some MAC operations serving Northwest Arkansas and Lafayette, Louisiana.

OPERATING RESULTS

Three months ended September 30, 2005, compared with three months ended September 30, 2004.

Total revenues for the third quarter of 2005 were $1.8 billion, an increase of 8% over the third quarter of 2004. This was primarily due to growth in advanced-service subscriptions (which include digital cable, high-speed Internet access and telephony) and higher basic cable rates.

Cost of services, which includes programming costs, other direct costs and field service costs, was $703.3 million for the third quarter of 2005, an increase of 5% over the same period in 2004. Programming costs increased 7% to $347.6 million, primarily reflecting rate increases. Other direct costs and field service costs in the aggregate increased 4% to $355.7 million, primarily resulting from growth in total RGUs over the last twelve months, partially offset by cost savings achieved through successful field service initiatives.

Selling, general and administrative expenses were $370.5 million for the third quarter of 2005, a nominal decrease over the comparable period in 2004. This was due to a 5% increase in marketing expense. The increase in marketing expense primarily related to a 6% increase in costs associated with Cox Media, Cox's advertising sales business.

Operating (loss) income decreased to ($356.9) million for the third quarter of 2005, and operating cash flow increased 17% to $681.4 million, compared to the same period in 2004. Operating (loss) income margin (operating income as a percentage of revenues) for the third quarter of 2005 was (20%), compared to 11% for the third quarter of 2004. Operating cash flow margin (operating cash flow as a percentage of revenues) was 39% for the third quarter of 2005 and 36% for the third quarter 2004.

Depreciation and amortization increased to $424.2 million from $400.9 million for the third quarter of 2005. This was primarily due to the amortization of finite-lived intangible assets that resulted from the push-down basis accounting applied pursuant to the December 2004 going-private transaction.

In August 2005, Cox completed its annual impairment test in accordance with SFAS No. 142. The test resulted in a pre-tax non-cash impairment charge of franchise value for certain in cable systems of approximately $104.2 million, which is classified within impairment of intangible assets in the condensed consolidated statements of operations.

As discussed under Recent Events, as of October 31, 2005, Cox entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of Cox cable systems serving approximately 940,000 basic cable subscribers. As a result of the definitive agreement, Cox completed an impairment test as of September 30, 2005, in accordance with SFAS No. 142. The test resulted in a non-cash impairment charge of approximately $509.9 million, which is classified within impairment of intangible assets in the condensed consolidated statements of operations.

Net loss on investments for the third quarter of 2005 was $6.4 million due to a pre-tax decline considered to be other than temporary in the fair value of certain investments. Net loss on investments for the comparable period of 2004 was insignificant.

Net (loss) income for the third quarter of 2005 was ($350.2) million compared to $42.0 million for the comparable period of 2004.

Nine months ended September 30, 2005 compared with nine months ended September 30, 2004.

Total revenues for the nine months ended September 30, 2005, were $5.2 billion, an increase of 10% over the nine months ended September 30, 2004. This was primarily due to growth in advanced-service subscriptions (which include digital cable, high-speed Internet access and telephony) and higher basic cable rates. An increase in Cox Business Services customers also contributed to overall revenue growth.

Cost of services was $2.1 billion for the nine months ended September 30, 2005, an increase of 8% over the same period in 2004. Programming costs increased 9% to $1.1 billion, primarily reflecting rate increases. Other direct costs and field service costs in the aggregate increased 6% to $1.0 billion, primarily resulting from growth in total RGUs over the last twelve months, partially offset by cost savings achieved through successful field service initiatives.

Selling, general and administrative expenses were $1.1 billion for the nine months ended September 30, 2005, an increase of 7% over the comparable period in 2004. This was due to a 7% increase in both general and administrative expenses and marketing expense. The increase in general and administrative expenses was primarily due to increased salaries and benefits. The increase in marketing expense primarily related to a 10% increase in costs associated with Cox Media, Cox's advertising sales business.

Operating income decreased 84% to $91.4 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2005, and operating cash flow increased 15% to $2.0 billion, compared to the same period in 2004. Operating income margin for the nine months ended September 30, 2005 was 2%, compared to 12% for the same period in 2004. Operating cash flow margin for the nine months ended September 30, 2005 was 39%, compared to 37% for the same period in 2004.

Depreciation and amortization increased to $1.3 billion from $1.2 billion for the nine months ended September 30, 2005. This was primarily due to the amortization of finite-lived intangible assets that resulted from the push-down basis accounting applied pursuant to the December 2004 going-private transaction.

During the nine months ended September 30, 2004, Cox recorded a $5.0 million pre-tax loss on the sale of certain small, non-clustered cable systems in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and Arkansas, which in the aggregate consisted of approximately 53,000 basic cable subscribers.

Net loss on investments of $9.1 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2005 was due to pre-tax declines considered to be other than temporary in the fair value of certain investments.

Net gain on investments for the comparable period in 2004 of $28.9 million was primarily due to:

  • $19.5 million pre-tax gain on the sale of 0.1 million shares of Sprint PCS preferred stock,

  • $7.3 million pre-tax gain on the sale of certain other non-strategic investments, and

  • $2.3 million pre-tax gain on the sale of all remaining shares of Sprint stock then held by Cox.



During the nine months ended September 30, 2005, Cox recorded a $13.0 million pre-tax loss on extinguishment of debt due to the redemption of $62.3 million original principal amount at maturity of its exchangeable subordinated discount debentures due 2020 (Discount Debentures) for aggregate cash consideration of $32.5 million, which represented all remaining outstanding Discount Debentures. During the nine months ended September 30, 2004, Cox recorded a $7.0 million pre-tax loss on extinguishment of debt due to the redemption of $14.6 million aggregate principal amount of Cox's exchangeable subordinated debentures due 2029 (PRIZES) and $0.1 million aggregate principal amount of Cox's 3% exchangeable subordinated debentures due 2030 (Premium PHONES), which represented all remaining outstanding PRIZES and Premium PHONES. As a result of these redemptions, Cox no longer has any outstanding exchangeable subordinated debentures.

Net (loss) income for the nine months ended September 30, 2005 was ($305.4) million compared with $162.3 million for the comparable period in 2004.

Cox Communications Inc.

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