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Sirius XM Adds 583,000+ Net Subscribers in Q2

Cites improved car sales for the boost

Sirius XM Radio said improved car sales helped the satcaster to add more than 583,000 net subscribers in the second quarter; that compares to a net decline of about 186,000 in the second quarter of 2009.

In the first half of this year, Sirius XM reported it has a total of 19.5 million customers, an increase of more than 1 million from the same period a year ago.

In addition, the satcaster announced its third increase this year in subscriber “guidance” or predictions about its immediate outlook. It now expects net additions of approximately 1.1 million for 2010. The company plans to release full Q2 results in August, but CEO Mel Karmazin stated, “The further improvement in our guidance reflects the attractiveness of satellite radio but maintains a cautious outlook for continued improvement in the economy.”

It also highlighted comments from two analysts about the subscriber additions.

Lazard Capital said the subscription results “smashed” its estimate for the quarter and that the guidance hike “is surprising, given weakening car sales. The new car sales as reported by Automotive News declined to 11.3 million in June, from 11.8 million in May and 11.5 million in April,” states Lazard; it said the satcaster raising subscriber guidance suggests “that core consumer demand for the service is more robust than we had expected.”

In a client note, JP Morgan called the news a positive, believing it suggests Sirius XM “continues to execute as its builds its subscriber base post-merger,” though it cautioned it’s withholding final judgment until the full release.