January 14, 2010 / 2:28 AM / in 8 years

UPDATE 1-Debt-laden Canwest swings to Q1 profit

* Q1 net EPS C$3.66 v loss C$0.21

* Revs down 10 pct to C$571

* Net includes large gain from Ten Networks stake sale

NEW YORK, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Canwest Global Communications Corp CGS.V, Canada’s biggest media company, reported a first-quarter profit on Wednesday due to a large gain from the sale of its interest in Australia’s Ten Network Holdings.

Canwest posted a net profit of C$652.5 million, or C$3.66 per share, compared with a loss of C$36.9 million, or 21 cents per share, a year earlier.

The net profit included C$570 million from the Ten Network sale, the company said. Without that sale Canwest would have posted a loss.

Revenue for the fiscal quarter ended Nov. 30 fell 10 percent to C$571 million from C$634 million in the year-ago quarter, which included sales from a broadcast network Canwest closed in August.

“Although the revenue environment continues to be difficult, it gradually improved from September through to November in both broadcasting and publishing, and we have taken steps to enhance our competitive position through the closure or sale of unprofitable operations and significant reduction in operating costs,” Chief Executive Leonard Asper said in a statement.

Canwest filed for bankruptcy protection for parts of the company last October, weighed down by some C$4 billion in debt and hurt by a recession-fueled slide in advertising revenue that has hit the entire publishing industry.

Last Friday, the company’s stable of newspaper assets, other than the flagship National Post, also filed for court protection.

The company, which owns the Global television network in Canada and specialty channels like History Television and Showcase, has been hunting for three months for an investor willing to pump up to C$65 million into the company, according to a Tuesday report in the Globe and Mail newspaper.

The Globe and Mail report said four potential bidders -- Corus Entertainment Inc (CJRb.TO), Shaw Communications Inc (SJRb.TO), Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (FFH.TO) and Jim Pattison Group -- are considering investing in the company. ($1 = $1.03 Canadian) (Reporting by Bill Berkrot; Editing by Gary Hill)

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