Internet, phone businesses help Time Warner Cable 

Time Warner Cable Inc. reported strong earnings for the latest quarter as growth in Internet and phone services offset a mediocre performance in its traditional cable TV business.

The company said net income was $564 million, or $1.75 a share, in the last three months of 2011, a 44 percent increase from $392 million, or $1.09 a share, a year earlier.

Time Warner Cable earned $1.39 per share after adjusting for tax changes and other one-time items. That was 20 cents higher than the average estimate of analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Revenue rose 4 percent to $4.99 billion, from $4.8 billion a year earlier. That was roughly in line with expectations.

Time Warner Cable lost 129,000 residential video customers during the quarter, although it maintained its revenue in that business with price hikes and a greater percentage of customers buying more expensive levels of service. It ended the quarter with 12.1 million video subscribers.

Revenue from residential Internet services grew as the company got more subscribers and got them to pay more on average. Revenue from its residential phone business increased because of a growth in the number of customers, though the average revenue per subscriber went down slightly.

Time Warner Cable also announced that it plans to buy back $4 billion in stock, which would increase the value for remaining shareholders. It said it will increase its quarterly dividend by 17 percent to 56 cents per share, from 48 cents earlier. The next dividend will come March 15 to those who own stock on Feb. 29.

After the results came out, the company's stock rose $5.40, or 7.8 percent, to close Thursday at $74.51.

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