AOL Reports Record Q4, Fiscal Year

America Online Inc. (AOL) on Thursday reported record fourth-quarter net income, excluding one-time charges, of $US334 million -- more than double net income reported a year ago -- with earnings per share of 13 cents, topping analysts' estimates.

A poll of 31 analysts taken by First Call/Thomson Financial estimated that the company would report 11 cents earnings per diluted share.

The ISP (Internet service provider), which boasts the largest global subscription base, had consolidated quarterly revenue of $US1.9 billion, up 39 percent compared to $1.4 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Net income for the full fiscal year hit $US1 billion or 40 cents per diluted share on consolidated revenue of $6.9 billion, the company said. For the year earlier, AOL had net income of $US391 million or 17 cents per diluted share with consolidated revenue of $US4.8 billion.

When investment gains and merger costs are added, the company had fiscal 2000 net income of $US1.2 billion or 48 cents per diluted share compared to $US754 million and 30 cents, respectively.

Advertising, commerce and other revenue hit $609 million in the fourth quarter and almost $US2 billion for the fiscal year, ended June 30.

At the end of the fourth quarter, the company had 23.2 million subscribers globally, with 992,000 new members signing up in the fourth quarter and 5.6 million during the fiscal year. The CompuServe 2000 service added 146,000 members in the quarter and 1.3 million for the fiscal year, AOL said. Combined, CompuServe 2000 and CompuServe Classic had 2.8 million members at the end of the quarter.

AOL is currently in the throes of trying to complete a planned acquisition with Time Warner Inc. The merger would create an entertainment giant covering publishing, television and online services.

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