March 12, 2009 / 2:41 PM / 10 years ago

Sirius XM sees better results in difficult 2009

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Satellite radio provider Sirius XM Radio Inc said on Thursday it expects 2009 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to exceed $300 million despite a “terrible” auto sales outlook.

The company said it was benefiting from “truly extraordinary” operating efficiencies following the protracted merger process between Sirius and XM Satellite Radio, which closed last year.

However Sirius executives told analysts on a conference call that the ongoing U.S. recession had made it impossible for it to be able to give revenue or more detailed earnings outlook.

Sirius management said based on January and February data, car sales for 2009 were projected to fall to between 9 million and 9.5 million, a far cry from historical sales of around 16 million to 17 million a year.

New cars are the primary sales outlet for Sirius’ radio service.

Sirius earlier this month completed a financing move that solved looming debt problems for the year due to a deal with John Malone’s Liberty Media, which will take a 40 percent equity stake in Sirius.

Liberty also has a 48 percent controlling stake in the largest U.S. satellite TV provider DirecTV Group and there has been much speculation that the financial transaction will lead to operational partnerships with Sirius.

Sirius Chief Executive Mel Karmazin said he has held talks with DirecTV Chief Executive Chase Carey in recent days about possible joint marketing opportunities.

The company said it was looking beyond its traditional retail outlets with new services including the launch of an Apple Inc’s iPhone-based application to launch in the second quarter.

Reporting by Yinka Adegoke, Editing by Maureen Bavdek

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