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Cox in the red but beats forecast

The telecommunications company falls into the red after expanding its services but beats earnings estimates by a penny.

Cox Communications (COX) fell into the red last quarter after expanding its telecommunications services but beat Wall Street analysts' earnings estimates by a penny.

Net loss for the quarter ending March 31 was $37.8 million, or a loss of 14 cents a share, as compared with net income of $7.4 million, or 3 cents a share, for the first quarter of 1996. Analysts were expecting the company to report a loss of 15 cents a share.

In addition to its cable television services, "we continue to progress toward the launch of residential telephony and digital compression services that will leverage the power of our delivery network and complement our core video business," said Jim Robbins, president and CEO, in a statement.

He added that the company is confident in its new services based on initial tests of high-speed Internet access and services that provide video, voice, and data in parts of Orange County, California.

Revenue for the quarter was $383.1 million, a seven percent increase over the $357.5 million reported in the corresponding quarter a year earlier.

Revenue from satellite operations was $25.9 million for the quarter, a 47 percent increase over $17.6 million for the same quarter in 1996. Customers of Cox's PrimeStar service increased to 145,040 from 79,190 recorded at the end of the first quarter last year.

General and administrative expenses for the first quarter were up seven percent to $69.9 million to cover debts, annual salary increases, and costs associated with developing and providing high-speed data and telephony services.