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Dish Tops Profit Estimates After Gaining TV Subscribers

Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Dish Network Corp., the second-largest U.S. satellite-television provider, reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates as the company gained video subscribers.

Profit rose to 70 cents a share from 56 cents a year earlier, the Englewood, Colorado-based company said today in a statement. Analysts projected 61 cents, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Dish, which trails DirecTV in the satellite-TV market, added 22,000 customers in the quarter, more than the 8,000 average of 10 estimates. Dish’s subscriber additions were more encouraging than DirecTV’s results, Craig Moffett, a Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst in New York, said in a note to clients. DirecTV gained 125,000 last quarter, fewer than the 162,000 average estimate.

“What is clear from the latest results is that Dish Network will no longer be a walkover for DirecTV,” said Moffett, who rates Dish shares “market perform.”

Dish advanced 1.6 percent to $29.62 at the close in New York. The shares have jumped 29 percent in the past 12 months.

Net income increased 24 percent to $313 million from $252 million a year earlier. Sales rose 13 percent to $3.63 billion, compared with the $3.62 billion average analyst estimate.

Competition’s ‘Best Hope’

Chairman Charlie Ergen today reiterated his commitment to becoming a wireless company to move beyond Dish’s basic TV product. Dish is prepared to build a network alone or work with a partner to give customers mobile capabilities, Ergen said on a conference call.

The company is waiting on Federal Communications Commission approval to use the wireless spectrum it gained in takeovers of DBSD North America Inc. and TerreStar Networks Inc. last year. If the FCC denies Dish’s waiver, “all options would be on the table for how we move forward with the company and the spectrum,” Ergen said. Dish is the “best hope” for U.S. wireless competition, he said.

Dish expects to hear from the FCC in the coming weeks, Chief Executive Officer Joseph Clayton said on the call.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Sherman in New York at asherman6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net

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