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Sirius drives into profit

Revenue rose 4% to $784 million

Sirius XM Radio swung to the black last quarter with profits of $71 million versus an $81 million loss a year ago on higher revenue, lower costs and minus several hits to earnings it took a year ago.

Revenue rose 4% to $784 million, a bit shy of Wall Street’s expectations. The shares were down 1.83% at $2.15 in pre-market trade.

The Gotham-based satellite radio group led by Mel Karmazin added 542,966 net subscribers — up 65%. It ended the year with 21.9 million subs.

Satellite radio is installed in 65% of new cars with free subscriptions offered for a period. Paying subscriber additions were 374,432, up 7%.

Sirius said it expects to have 23.2 million subs by year-end 2012. It projected full-year revenue of $3.3 billion and cash flow of $700 million.

Sirius raised its price this January for the first time but said it has seen modest fallout so far.

”With auto sales expected to rise in 2012, and what appears to be only a modest increase in churn associated with our January price increase, we expect to grow our net new subscribers by roughly 1.3 million in 2012, continuing our strong multi-year track record of subscriber growth,” said Karmazin in a statement.