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EchoStar Q4 Sales, Net Loss Grow

Littleton, Colo. – EchoStar Communications reported a 15 percent increase in income for the fourth quarter, but its net loss dramatically widened following its failed bid to buy Hughes Electronics and its satellite broadcasting unit DirecTV.

EchoStar recorded revenue of $1.3 billion for the fourth quarter, ended Dec. 31, up from $1.2 billion in the year-ago period. Net loss for that period totaled $715.6 million, including charges of $690 million for the termination of the merger with Hughes Electronics, compared with a net loss of $42.9 million in the same three months in 2001.

The company did post Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) of $193.1 million, up from $171.1 million in the fourth quarter of the previous year, a measurement of cash flow that was higher than analyst forecasts, as well as a benchmark of financial performance for media operations.

EchoStar reported its DISH satellite TV service added about 400,000 net subscribers in the fourth quarter. DISH had about 8.2 million subscribers at the end of 2002, an increase of 1.4 million at the end of the preceding year.

For the 12 months, EchoStar revenue reached $4.8 billion, up from $4 billion in 2001. Net loss for the 12 months, including merger termination charges, hit $881.7 million, compared with a loss of $215.5 million in 2001. EBITDA for the 12 months climbed to $805.6 million, up from $511.1 million in the previous year.