EchoStar qtr. Rosy

Dish network sub surge helps serve up 46% rev hike

HOLLYWOOD — EchoStar Communications, battling News Corp. to acquire satcasting rival DirecTV, Tuesday posted a surprise third-quarter profit of $3.1 million after an unexpected surge in subscriptions.

The Littleton, Colo.-based company, whose Dish network serves over 6.4 million customers, reported a $142 million loss in the same period a year ago.

Third-quarter revenue rose 46% to $1.02 billion.

Dish added 360,000 net subs in the quarter, marking a 35% increase in total customers from a year ear-lier. The subscriber growth, spurred in part by pricing incentives, well exceeded analyst forecasts.

EchoStar said it still expects to add a total of 1.5 million-1.75 million customers during 2001.

Analysts had projected an EchoStar loss in the latest quarter, but the rosy earnings did little to attract in-vestors to the stock. Company shares closed down 7¢ at $26.07 Tuesday.

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