EchoStar to buy back up to $1 billion shares

/ Source: msnbc.com news services

Satellite television operator EchoStar Communications Corp. on Tuesday said its board of directors has authorized the repurchase of up to $1 billion of the company’s Class A common shares.

In a regulatory filing, the Englewood, Colorado-based company said on July 15 it completed a previous buyback plan in which it repurchased 31.8 million Class A shares for $1 billion. The company said it authorized that buyback program in the fourth quarter of 2003.

Separately, EchoStar Communications said Tuesday its earnings were down 34 percent in the second quarter despite adding approximately 340,000 new subscribers.

The owner of the Dish Network said its net income was $85 million, or 18 cents, for the quarter ended June 30, down from $129 million, or 27 cents, during the same period last year. Analysts surveyed by Thompson First Call expected a profit of 23 cents a share.

The company has been paying more for equipment, marketing and other costs associated with signing up new customers.

Meanwhile, the company’s revenues rose 26 percent to $1.78 billion from $1.41 billion.

Dish Network, the nation’s second largest satellite TV service after DirecTV, has more than 10 million customers. Its shares closed Monday at $27.26, slightly above their 52-week low of $26.95.