S&P ups Comcast rating

Cable operator upgraded to BBB+

Corporate creditworthiness arbiter Standard & Poor’s raised its credit rating on Comcast, the nation’s No. 1 cable operator, from BBB to BBB+ on Tuesday.

Move had been brewing since January, when S&P placed Comcast on CreditWatch with positive implications.

“The upgrade is based on our expectation that Comcast’s solid operating momentum against tough satellite direct-to-home (DTH) TV competition will continue and that the company will follow a moderate financial policy, including maintaining debt-to-EBITDA under 3x, while pursuing a balanced share repurchase or potential dividend program,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Eric Geil.

New rating is an incremental acknowledgement of Comcast’s strengthening financial performance.

Geil said Comcast is successfully dealing with tough competition from DTH satellite services such as DirecTV and EchoStar, as well as the regional Bell telephone networks, which are preparing to roll out their own video services. He said that in particular, Comcast’s video-on-demand, digital video recorders and Internet telephone services will help strengthen its competitive position.

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