Charter Communications reported higher than expected fourth quarter earnings, beating Wall Street estimates, due to growth in its internet and mobile service segments.
On a GAAP basis, Charter reported net income for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2021, of $1.6 billion, or $8.93 a share, on revenue of $13.2 billion. Net income increased nearly 30% compared to the same period a year ago. On a non-GAAP basis, the company reported earnings of $5.4 billion, up 7.7% from the same period last year.
The Stamford, Conn.-based broadband cable operator handily beat Wall Street estimates on its adjusted earnings-per-share, by $2.04. Analysts, on average, expected earnings per share of $6.89 for the quarter on revenue of $13.2 billion.
According to the company's earnings announcement, residential customer relationships grew by 103,000 in the fourth quarter, lower than the 167,000 reported in the same period a year earlier, but for 2021 total residential customers were up 2.9% to 29.9 million. Charter added 172,000 residential internet subscribers in the fourth quarter, again, lower than the 216,000 added in the fourth quarter the previous year, but 4.1% higher for the year to 28.1 million customers.
Charter's video and voice segments, however, saw continued declines. For the fourth quarter, residential video customers decreased by 71,000, compared to declines of 66,000 during the same period the previous year. Residential wireline voice subscribers dropped in the fourth quarter by 163,000, versus declines of 120,000 in the fourth quarter of 2020.
"In 2022, we remain focused on driving additional customer growth by offering better services while saving customers money on their total communications spend," said Charter chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge.
The company also reported capital expenditures for 2021 of $7.6 billion versus $7.4 billion in 2020. The modest increase was due to increases in scalable infrastructure and upgrade/rebuild, partly offset by declines in support capital and customer equipment, or CPE. Charter said it sees capital expenditures for 2022 of between $7.1 billion and $7.3 billion, according to the earnings release.
Also, the company said in its earnings announcement that it purchased 25.3 million Class A common shares and common units for a total of $17.3 billion in 2021.