Comcast (CMCSA), whose merger with Time Warner Cable recently fell through thanks to fierce FCC and consumer opposition, unveiled its first quarter 2015 financials on Monday morning before the stock markets opened, reporting earnings of $0.79 per share (EPS) on $17.85 billion in revenue.
Wall Street analysts had forecast EPS of $0.74 on $17.41 billion in revenue, according to Yahoo Finance.
The company added 407,000 high-speed Internet customers, its strongest rate of growth in two years. Total revenue is up 2.6 percent year-over-year. Excluding sales linked to the Super Bowl and the 2014 Olympics, both airing on NBC, revenue was up 7.2 percent during the period.
Comcast’s TV arm, NBCUniversal, saw revenue growth of 7.9 percent. Quarterly dividends and share repurchases increased $1.3 Billion, or 104.4%, to $2.6 Billion.
The company said it will add $2.5 billion to its stock repurchases plan, a total of 6.75 Billion in 2015.
CEO Brian Roberts was pleased with his company’s performance.
“We are off to a great start in 2015, with 7.6% operating cash flow growth and record quarterly free cash flow. Cable had a terrific quarter, once again reflecting strong results in high-speed Internet and business services. We have made progress in transforming the customer experience while delivering improved products and innovations faster than ever before.”
He continued, pointing to success in sports and film:
“At NBCUniversal, we had another excellent quarter, led by Super Bowl XLIX, which was the most-watched television program of all time, along with the tremendous box office success of Fifty Shades of Grey, and the exceptional performance of The Wizarding World of Harry PotterTM – Diagon AlleyTM in Orlando. We begin 2015 with great momentum and remain confident that we are well positioned with an impressive portfolio of complementary businesses to continue our strong performance and drive shareholder value.”
Comcast held its earnings call at 7:30 a.m. ET. CEO Brian Roberts addressed the death of former co-chief financial officer Larry Smith. “He meant so much to Philadelphia and non profits and he also has one of the most spectacular families.”
Roberts also said he was excited about the potential merger of Time Warner Cable, but is pleased the company planned accordingly in the event it didn’t happen. He lauded his company’s record quarterly mark of $3.2 billion in free cash flow.
Roberts pointed to the success of the X1 streaming, which has created lower churn, more connected outlets, and an increase in overall viewership, he noted. He also noted 50 percent growth in operating cash flow in theme parks, pointing to the Harry Potter Theme Park in Florida.