XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. narrowed its losses and boosted revenue during the third quarter, as the number of subscribers to its commercial-free satellite radio service climbed to 2.5 million.
District-based XM reported yesterday a net loss of $118 million (59 cents per share) for the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with a loss of $133.4 million ($1.12) in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue grew to $65.4 million, compared with $26.9 million.
XM, which can be received in cars, trucks and boats and in personal radios, added 415,671 subscribers for the quarter, compared with 237,395 added in the third quarter of 2003. At that pace, XM will exceed 3.1 million subscribers by year end, chief executive Hugh Panero said in a conference call. He added that XM now reaches 80 percent of all satellite radio subscribers, with its only rival, New York-based Sirius Satellite Radio Inc., snagging the remainder.
During the third quarter, the cost of adding subscribers for XM fell 30 percent to $89 per subscriber compared with the same quarter of last year.
In recent months, XM has focused on adding content, launching shows with former NPR host Bob Edwards and shock jocks Opie and Anthony. XM signed a $650 million broadcast and marketing deal with Major League Baseball. Last month it introduced the first portable satellite radio receiver, the Delphi XM MyFi, which will be available in stores after Thanksgiving. XM last month also began offering XM Radio through the Internet.
Marketing costs grew substantially in the third quarter to $66.7 million, up from $38.2 million. Shares of XM Radio closed at $33.12, down 22 cents.
* WGL Holdings Inc., the parent company of Washington Gas Light Co. and other energy subsidiaries, reported a fourth-quarter loss, which it said was customary for the season, and said its fiscal-year earnings declined from last year.
The company said it lost $18 million (37 cents) in the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with a loss of $17.6 million (36 cents) in the same period last year. WGL typically posts a fiscal fourth-quarter loss because of low demand.
For the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, the company reported a profit of $96.6 million (1.98), down from a profit of $112.3 million ($2.30) a year earlier. The company said weather in its just-completed year was not as cold as a year earlier, reducing demand for natural gas from its residential and commercial heating customers.
* Sunrise Senior Living Inc. earned $8.9 million (41 cents) in its third quarter, down from $17.1 million (74 cents) in the same quarter last year. The company, which operates senior assisted-living facilities, attributed the decrease to an absence of income from property sales, which was $20 million in the third quarter of 2003. Third-quarter results were affected by $800,000 in expenses related to hurricane damage in Florida. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, the company earned $38 million ($1.67), down from $46.8 million ($1.96) during the same period last year. Revenue climbed to $1.1 billion from $761.4 million.
Since June 30, Sunrise repurchased $17 million of its common stock, completing $37 million of its $50 million repurchase program announced in March. At the end of the third quarter, Sunrise operated 377 communities. During the quarter the company opened two communities, began managing two communities and closed one smaller community in order to redevelop the property. Sunrise ended the third quarter with $118.8 million in cash on hand, $187 million available under credit facilities, and $241.9 million in debt. Shares rose $1.40, or 3.6 percent, to close at $40.50.
* Radio One Inc. of Lanham said third-quarter profit increased slightly to $16.8 million (11 cents), compared with $16.7 million (11 cents) for the same period last year, on revenue growth in five of its 22 urban radio markets. Net broadcast revenue grew to $84.4 million, up 4 percent. For the first nine months of 2004, profit grew to $43 million from $39.3 million in the same period last year. Net broadcast revenue grew to $240 million from $226 million.
* Watson Wyatt & Co. Holdings earned $13.8 million (42 cents) in its first fiscal quarter, up from $12.5 million (37 cents) in the same quarter last year. Revenue rose to $175.4 million from $171 million . The company ended the quarter with $107.1 million in cash. "Our overall growth remained modest, largely due to limited special project work in our retirement practice," said John Haley, president and chief executive.
Watson Wyatt is an international human resources consulting firm headquartered in the District. The company said revenue in its human capital group was $13.1 million, an increase of 28 percent. The company attributed the rise to significant demand for consulting in the areas of executive compensation, sales force compensation and organization effectiveness. Shares of Watson Wyatt fell 11 cents to close at $27.21.