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Prudential Cuts CSG Systems to Underperform from Neutral

Prudential downgraded CSG Systems International (CSGS) to underperform from neutral, citing the three year renewal of its contract with Echostar Communications (DISH).

Analyst Michael Turits says the deal came with significant price concessions and CSG loses exclusivity as sole biller. He expects Echostar revenues to be flat in 2006 with price declines offsetting subscriber growth, but this could decline if new product take-rates are lower. He cut his $407 million 2006 revenue estimate to $399 million and his $1.33 earnings per share estimate to $1.27. He believes competition is picking up in telecom billing overall, but CSG should be a weaker contender with its sole focus on cable, while the market leader Amdocs (DOX) is now in the cable business. He cut his $23 price target to $21.

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