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Sirius XM Radio Inc. on Thursday posted a small profit for the fourth quarter as it added subscribers and cut costs.
The satellite radio broadcaster was on the brink of bankruptcy just a year ago, hurt by plummeting auto sales, which meant fewer of its radios were installed in new vehicles. It's turned that trend around, adding a net 257,028 subscribers in the fourth quarter.
The company also said the results demonstrated the economic benefits of the merger of XM and Sirius, which was completed in July 2008 after some controversy. In the quarter, it cut expenses in several areas, including on-air talent and customer call centers.
New York-based Sirius XM earned $14.2 million, or less than 1 cent per share in the last three months of 2009. That compared to a loss of $245.8 million, or 8 cents per share, a year earlier.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a loss of 2 cents per share.
Revenue rose 6.2 percent to $683.8 million from $644.1 million in the year-ago period. Analysts expected $664 million.
Revenue was helped by increased prices for some packages. The average customer now pays $10.92 per month, up from $10.65 a year ago. The increase was partly offset by a decline in advertising revenue.
Sirius XM ended the year with 18.8 million subscribers, down from 19 million at the end of 2008.
CEO Mel Karmazin said that in 2010, the company expects to add a net 500,000 subscribers. It expects revenue to top $2.7 billion. Analysts are expecting $2.79 billion.
Sirius shares fell 4 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $1.06 in afternoon trading.
(This version CORRECTS headlines to 4Q from 3Q.)