Satellite TV installer Multiband's profit drops as sales rise

  • Article by: STEVE ALEXANDER
  • Star Tribune
  • March 26, 2012 - 7:30 PM

Satellite TV installer Multiband Corp. of New Hope reported record revenue Monday of $300.2 million in 2011, but its $6.3 million profit was less than half that of the prior year.

Fourth-quarter earnings dropped to $1.4 million, or 6 cents a share, compared to $11.7 million, or 73 cents a share, a year ago. Fourth-quarter revenue of $77.6 million was up nearly 10 percent from $70.6 million a year earlier.

The company said 2011 profits dropped because of losses on an acquisition (resulting in a $1.1 million writeoff), lower tax benefits and payment of increased financial incentives to stem employee turnover.

In addition, a secondary stock offering last year increased the number of Multiband common shares outstanding by 12.9 million, which contributed to a two-thirds drop in 2011 earnings per share, to 32 cents from 91 cents in 2010.

The earnings were released after the market closed Monday. Multiband stock closed at $3.32 a share, down 6 cents, or less than 2 percent.

CEO James Mandel said the firm had successfully "stabilized profitability" and was diversifying into others areas in anticipation that it may get less revenue from DirecTV installations this year. Among its diversification efforts is a new wireless broadband Internet service for apartment buildings that it is currently testing, and which it hopes to sell in combination with satellite TV service, he said. Multiband also plans to do cable TV installations in North Carolina and Florida, where it has no installation contract with DirecTV.

The company also is negotiating to refinance its debt this year but declined to provide details during a fourth-quarter conference call with analysts.

For 2012, Multiband forecast $320 million in revenue and essentially flat pre-tax earnings of $23 million to $26 million.

Steve Alexander • 612-673-4553

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