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EchoStar Posts 28% Revenue Gain, 25% Subscriber Growth During Q1

EchoStar Communications, provider of the DISH Network direct broadcast satellite television system, enjoyed a 28 percent increase in revenue during the first quarter, hitting $1.1 billion, up from $861.9 million in the same three months in 2001.

EchoStar reduced its net loss to $38.6 million in the first quarter, ended March 31, down from a loss of $169.9 million in the year-ago period.

EchoStar’s DISH Network added about 335,000 net new subscribers in the first quarter. As of the end of March, Dish Network had about 7.2 million subscribers, an increase of about 25 percent over the 5.7 million in the year-ago period.

Operating income for the first quarter reached $95.3 million, up from an operating loss of $15.2 million in the same three months in 2001.

In the first quarter, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) totaled $178.5 million, up from $51.1 million year over year. EBITDA improvement resulted primarily from increased subscribers, resulting in revenue sufficient to support the cost of new and existing subscribers.

EBITDA is often used as a fairer financial measurement of satellite companies because it excludes expenses associated with its capital-intensive business.

EchoStar currently is seeking regulatory approval for its takeover bid of rival Hughes Electronics, which provides DirecTV satellite television.