Alex Sherman
Bloomberg News

Time Warner Cable Inc., the second-largest U.S. cable-television provider, reported Thursday an increase in first-quarter profit after attracting more broadband-Internet subscribers.

Earnings excluding some items rose to $1.30 a share from $1.01 a year earlier, the New York-based company said in a statement. Its Akron-based unit is the overall company’s third-largest segment.

Sales climbed 6.4 percent to $5.13 billion. Analysts projected earnings of $1.25 a share on sales of $5.16 billion, the average estimates compiled by Bloomberg News.

Time Warner Cable is focusing on selling broadband-Web connections to households and businesses as growth in cable-TV signups slows amid rivalry from carriers such as DirecTV. Chief Operating Officer Rob Marcus said on a conference call that subscriber numbers this quarter were thus far similar to a year ago, with video customers “weaker” and phone users higher.

“Subscriber net adds were generally better than expected, as higher data and voice adds more than outweighed higher video losses,” said James Ratcliffe, a Barclays Capital Inc. analyst with an equal weight rating on the stock, in a note to clients.

Time Warner Cable added 214,000 residential Internet users, topping the 175,000 estimate of 11 analysts compiled by Bloomberg News. The cable provider also added a net 112,000 residential phone subscribers and lost 94,000 video customers, a larger decline than the 70,000 analysts had estimated.

Time Warner Cable shares have gained 29 percent this year. The S&P 500 index has gained 11 percent.

Net income increased 18 percent to $382 million, or $1.20 a share, from $325 million, or 93 cents a share.

Chief Executive Officer Glenn Britt called the results “steady and predictable,” a theme that resonates with shareholders, according to Craig Moffett, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York.

“Time Warner Cable is a blissfully simple story: generate cash, return cash to shareholders,” Moffett said. “Investors vote with their wallets, and they like the story.”

Business services revenue rose 38 percent to $429 million in a unit Britt said has been a success story.

“I don’t think investors give Time Warner Cable’s business segment the credit it deserves,” Paul Sweeney, an analyst at Bloomberg Industries, said before the numbers were released. “It’s probably a great capital-investment opportunity, but we won’t know for sure until the company becomes a little more transparent about the profits and losses.”

Time Warner Cable bought back $353 million in shares in the quarter. Britt hinted the company could boost its share repurchases after completing its acquisition of Insight Communications Co. on Feb. 29.

“Now that we have closed the Insight acquisition, our increased cash flow is available to fuel further investments in the business and capital returns to our shareholders,” Britt said in the statement.