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XM Q4 Revenue More Than Doubles To $83.1 Mil.

Washington — More than doubling its fourth-quarter revenue, XM Satellite Radio posted an increase of 148 percent, hitting $83.1 million, compared with a year-ago $33.5 million.

However, XM widened its net loss for the fourth quarter, ended Dec. 31, reaching $188.2 million from a net loss of $162.9 million in the same three months in 2003.

Net-subscriber additions for the fourth quarter hit 713,101, a 66 percent rise over the 430,580 subs added in the fourth quarter of the previous year. The company said a “successful” 2004 holiday shopping season — with more than 240,000 subscribers activating service during the last eight days of December, including over 50,000 on Christmas Day — contributed heavily to the quarterly growth.

“XM had an outstanding 2004,” said Hugh Panero, president/CEO. “XM ended the year with more than 3.2 million subscribers, extending our lead over the competition to 2 million subscribers, compared with 1 million a year ago. We plan to build on this momentum and execution in 2005, and end the year with 5.5 million subscribers.” Total ending subscribers for the fourth quarter of 2003 was 1.4 million.

In the fourth quarter, per-unit cost to acquire each new subscriber dropped to $104, from $125 in the same three months the previous year. Total revenue per subscriber in the fourth quarter decreased to $9.98, from $10.12 in 2003.

XM widened its EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) loss in the fourth quarter, to $139.7 million, compared with a year-ago EBITDA loss of $95.5 million. The most recent fourth quarter included $41.6 million in charges, compared with $95.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2003.

For the 12 months, EBITDA loss grew to $388.4 million, including $76.6 million in charges, compared with a full-year 2003 EBITDA loss of $318.9 million, including $24.7 million in charges.

For the 12 months, XM revenue soared 166 percent, hitting $244.4 million, up from a year-on-year $91.8 million. The increase was driven by significant subscriber growth. Net loss for the full year, climbed to $642.4 million, compared with a loss of $584.5 million in 2003. This rise primarily reflects increased de-leveraging expenses.

Net subscriber additions for the 12 months reached 1.9 million, up from a year-ago 1 million. Full-year per-unit cost to acquire each new subscriber(cost per gross addition)  was $100, a 27 percent improvement over the $137 registered in 2003. Total revenue per subscriber for the 12 months was $9.59, down from the $10.52 registered in the same 12 months a year earlier.