Cox earnings creep up over ’96

NEW YORK — Higher programming costs ate into Cox Communications Inc.’s earnings growth in the first quarter, it said Wednesday. The cabler reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $139.6 million, up 2% on the previous year, on 7% higher revenues of $383.1 million.

Cox reported a net loss of $37.8 million, compared with a profit of $7.3 million, due to higher losses from affiliated companies such as wireless telephony ventures Sprint Spectrum and Cox Communications PCS.

Cox said its customer count grew 2.4% during the quarter, adjusted for system sales and trades.

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