May 8, 2008 / 12:22 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Onex profit down without last year's one-time gain

OTTAWA, May 8 (Reuters) - First-quarter profit at Onex Corp OCX.TO fell 70 percent in a "quiet" acquisition period, the private-equity group said on Thursday, without last year's big boost from discontinued operations.

With investments in a range of sectors from aerospace to cosmetics, Onex earned C$45 million ($45 million), or 36 Canadian cents per share, in the quarter ended March 31.

That is down from net profit of C$149 million, or C$1.16 per share, in the year-ago period -- a quarter that included income of C$116 million, or 90 Canadian cents per share, from discontinued operations.

Earnings from continuing operations rose 21 percent to C$40 million from C$33 million.

Revenue increased 13 percent to C$6.2 billion.

The buyout company's assets climbed about 3.5 percent to C$27.1 billion, including its stakes in electronics manufacturer Celestica, movie theater chain Cineplex Entertainment, and jetmaker Hawker Beechcraft.

"While the current credit environment has significantly slowed acquisition activity and made this a quiet quarter, we will continue to find appropriate acquisition opportunities," said Chief Executive Gerald Schwartz in a statement.

Onex said in February that its pace of investment would slow this year as upheaval in credit markets makes it harder to finance deals more difficult.

There are concerns about the ability of private-equity firms such as Onex to finance buyouts given the turbulent state of credit markets.

$1=$1.01 Canadian Reporting by Susan Taylor; editing by Janet Guttsman

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