* First-quarter EPS C$0.90 vs EPS C$6.66
* Net results skewed by big gain a year ago
* Cable unit helps lift results (In U.S. dollars unless noted)
TORONTO, May 13 (Reuters) - Media and telecom group Quebecor Inc (QBRa.TO) (QBRb.TO) posted a lower quarterly profit on Wednesday because of a large one-time gain a year earlier, but said its strong cable business is helping it weather the recession.
Quebecor, which controls the Videotron cable company and the Sun Media chain of newspapers, said it earned C$57.7 million ($49.7 million), or 90 Canadian cents a share, in the quarter ended March 31.
That was down from a profit of C$428.4 million, or C$6.66 a share, a year earlier. However, in the year-ago quarter, Quebecor recorded a one-time gain of C$399.7 million from deconsolidating the results of insolvent commercial printer Quebecor World IQW.TO.
The deconsolidation — which essentially means Quebecor treats Quebecor World as “discontinued operations” on its books — took place after Quebecor World filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2008.
Before the filing, Quebecor held 35.5 percent of Quebecor World’s equity and controlled 84.5 percent of its votes.
Late on Tuesday, R.R. Donnelley & Sons (RRD.N) said it was ready to offer Quebecor World’s debtors about $1.35 billion in cash and stock for the company’s assets.
Quebecor’s adjusted income from continuing operations rose to C$43.1 million, or 67 Canadian cents a share, in the first quarter. That was up from C$34.6 million, or 54 Canadian cents a share, a year earlier.
The Montreal-based company’s revenue rose 2.2 percent to C$896.2 million.
Its class B shares rose C$1.11, or 6 percent, to C$19.45 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning.
“The cable segment, which continues to register customer growth for all of its services quarter after quarter, accounts for the bulk of the improvement in results,” Chief Executive Pierre Karl Peladeau said in a statement.
The company said operating income at the cable unit jumped 13.7 percent.
$1=$1.17 Canadian Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Rob Wilson