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XM's Loss Narrows as It Adds Subscribers

Thursday, April 28, 2005; Page E04

XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., the District-based subscription radio service, yesterday announced a steep rise in revenue and a smaller loss for the first quarter. The company said it lost $119.9 million (58 cents a share) for the three months ended March 31, compared with a loss of $170 million (96 cents) in the corresponding period last year. Revenue jumped to $102.6 million from $43 million.

XM offers subscribers more than 150 channels of news, sports, entertainment and commercial-free music. Company officials said XM added 541,140 subscribers during the quarter, giving it a total of 3.77 million and putting it on track to reach its target of 5.5 million subscribers by year's end. Demand for XM equipment at retail outlets helped drive up subscriber rates, company officials said.

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The company told customers in March that it would expand basic service and raise its monthly subscription fee to $12.95 from $9.99 starting April 2. During a conference call with analysts yesterday, XM officials said the revenue generated by the fee increase will go toward developing technology and to bringing more products to market.

• Host Marriott Corp., a Bethesda firm that owns hotels across the United States, said its funds from operations in the first quarter increased to $73 million (19 cents a share) from $43 million (13 cents) in the corresponding period last year. Funds from operations is a common measure of profitability for real estate investment trusts.

Host reported profit of $6 million (2 cents) in the three months ended March 25, compared with a loss of $31 million (9 cents) in the corresponding period of 2004.

The company said that the hotel business is improving steadily, with a 7.6 percent increase in revenue per available room, a measure of hotel performance. Its strongest region was the Washington area, where its 11 hotels posted a 14.3 percent increase in "RevPAR," as that indicator is known in the industry.

• Choice Hotels International Inc., a Silver Spring company that franchises budget hotels around the world, reported a 13 percent gain in first-quarter profit, reflecting higher sales.

The company, whose franchisees operate more than 5,000 hotels and motels under names including Comfort Inn, Quality, Sleep Inn, and Econo Lodge, said it earned $12 million (36 cents a share), up from $10.6 million (30 cents) in the corresponding period last year. Revenue increased to $91.2 million from $87.2 million.

• Constellation Energy Group, owner of Baltimore Gas & Electric, said first-quarter profit rose 82 percent as the company sold more power to other utilities and to companies such as General Electric Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The company said it earned $120.7 million (68 cents a share), up from $66.2 million (39 cents) during the corresponding period last year. Sales rose 20 percent, to $3.63 billion from $3.03 billion.

• Duratek Inc., a Columbia company that specializes in radioactive waste disposal and other services for the nuclear power industry, posted a 58 percent increase in its first-quarter profit, mostly attributable to higher revenue and lower interest costs. The company said it earned $4.9 million (32 cents a share), compared with $3.1 million (21 cents) in the corresponding quarter last year. Revenue increased 10 percent, to $70.6 million from $64.2 million, boosted by additional work on existing federal and commercial contracts and progress on a multiyear contract to close an old U.S. Department of Energy site, the company said.

USEC Inc., a Bethesda supplier of enriched uranium fuel for nuclear power plants, swung to a first-quarter profit of $900,000 (1 cent), from a loss of $9.8 million (12 cents) during the comparable period a year earlier. Revenue increased to $311.2 million from $210.3 million. The company attributed its improved results to higher sales volume but warned that second-quarter revenue would be lower than expected.

• Trex Co., the Winchester maker of decking materials, said first-quarter profit fell 10 percent, to $8.4 million (56 cents a share) from $9.3 million (63 cents) in the corresponding period a year earlier, citing higher cost for materials. Sales rose 18 percent, to $89.9 million from $76.3 million.


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