DirecTV unit helps Hughes post strong Q2 results

LONDON: Hughes Network Systems (HNS), has reported an 8.1 per cent increase in the overall 2003 second quarter revenues amounting to $2.37 billion, compared to $2.192 billion for second quarter 2002. HNS, a division of Hughes Electronics, also reported second quarter net income of $21.6 million, compared to a net loss of $155.1 million reported for the same period in 2002.

However, media reports indicate that the strong second quarter revenues have been boosted by the performance of its DirecTV unit. The DirecTV platform ended the three-month period with 11.56 million subscribers. The company said it netted 181,000 customers during the quarter.

DirecTV generated revenues of $1.8 billion for the second quarter, an 16.2 per cent increase from 2002 second quarter revenues of $1.549 billion. The increase was attributed to strong subscriber growth as well as higher ARPU.

DirecTV's ARPU increased about $2.80 to $60.90 in the quarter, which was tied to a March price increase, increased customer purchases of local channels and additional fees from an increased number of customers with multiple set-top receivers.

DirecTV's second quarter operating profit jumped to $200.7 million, compared to an operating profit of $60.6 million for second quarter 2002.

The strong results compelled Hughes and DirecTV to raise full-year 2003 guidance. DirecTV said it expects full-year revenues of about $7.5 billion, up from the previously forecasted $7.3 billion. DirecTV's revised subscriber guidance has the service netting about 900,000 customers for 2003, up from previous guidance of 800,000 to 850,000.

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