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EchoStar reports losses; revs rise

Satcaster doubles subs but has negative cash flow

NEW YORK — Satellite television provider EchoStar Communications Corp.’s may have doubled its customer base over the past year, but it plunged deeper into the red in the fourth quarter of 1998.

The Littleton, Colo.-based company reported negative cash flow of $45.5 million in the 1998 fourth quarter, compared with negative cash flow of $8.5 million in the year-earlier period. Cash flow is defined as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Echostar reported a net loss of $113.3 million in the quarter, compared with a net loss of $71 million.

Revenues rose 60% to $287 million from $179.2 million.

For the year, EchoStar reported negative cash flow of $20.3 million, compared with negative cash flow of $51 million in 1997.

The company reduced its net loss for the year to $260.9 million from a net loss of $312.8 million the previous year.

Revenues for the year more than doubled to $982.7 million from $477.4 million.

In January, EchoStar CEO Charles Ergen told Congress that his company’s recent acquisition of satellite assets from MCI WorldCom Inc. and News Corp. helped the company nearly double its customer base to two million subscribers. However, Ergen said the company must add another million to have positive cash flow and another two million to reach profitability.