* Cogeco Cable Q1 EPS C$0.88 vs year-ago C$0.71
* Portugal operation loses customers in Q1
* Cogeco Inc Q1 EPS C$1.11 vs year-ago C$0.97 (Adds details, analyst estimates, parent Cogeco Inc’s Q1 results)
Jan 26 (Reuters) - Cogeco Cable, the main unit of media and telecom company Cogeco Inc, posted a higher first-quarter profit as it added more subscribers in Canada, but a weak show at its Portuguese operations offset some of the gains.
The company provides cable television, high-speed Internet and telephone services in mostly rural areas of Ontario and Quebec as well as in Portugal.
Cogeco Cable’s operations in Portugal, which contributed about 13 percent of its total revenue last fiscal, has been hit by the tough economic conditions there.
Six months ago, the company took a charge of C$225.9 million to write off its investment in Cabovisao, its Portuguese operations, as subscriber losses due to pricing wars there shrunk profit margins.
In the first quarter, total number of television, Internet and telephone customers for Cogeco Cable, the more closely-watched cable unit of Montreal-based Cogeco, increased by 45,219 to 2.6 million.
Net profit rose to C$43 million, or 88 Canadian cents a share, from C$34.6 million, or 71 Canadian cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 8 percent to C$356.9 million.
Analysts expected a net profit of C$1.07 a share on revenue of C$359.9 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
In Canada, Cogeco Cable added about 2 percent more Internet customers in the quarter ended Nov. 30 than a year ago, while its Portugal unit lost 212 Internet customers.
Parent Cogeco’s first-quarter profit attributable to owners rose about 15 percent to C$18.8 million, or C$1.11 per share. Revenue rose 13 percent to C$387.5 million.
Shares of Cogeco were trading slightly up at C$47.50, while Cogeco Cable shares were down 2 percent at C$48.39 on Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp in Toronto and Shounak Dasgupta in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Joyjeet Das)