- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 4, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - Satellite radio provider Sirius XM Radio Inc. said Wednesday it returned to a profit in the second quarter as its revenue and subscriber base expanded thanks to improving U.S. auto sales.

The company added 583,249 net subscribers during in the April-June period, ending the quarter with 19.5 million subscribers. The improving economy helped Sirius achieve lower churn, or subscriber turnover, rates as fewer people canceled their accounts.

The company earned $15.2 million, or breakeven per share, up from a loss of $159.6 million, or 4 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 18 percent to $699.8 million from $590.8 million.

Analysts, on average, were expecting Sirius to break even on a per-share basis and post revenue of $691.4 million, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.

Average revenue per user, a closely watched metric, was $11.81, up from $10.66 a year earlier. Sirius said the higher rate was due mainly to its inclusion of a U.S. music royalty fee, as well as higher revenue from “best of” programming and rate hikes.

Sirius expects net subscriber additions of about 1.1 million for the full year.

Sirius shares rose 4 cents to $1.05 in morning trading.