August 13, 2008 / 8:54 PM / in 10 years

UPDATE 1-Onex posts loss, says acquisition hunt to continue

(Adds details, comments, stock price)

TORONTO, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Private-equity group Onex Corp OCX.TO posted a quarterly net loss on Wednesday, but said the tough credit environment hasn’t stopped it from hunting for acquisitions.

Onex said it lost C$18 million ($17 million), or 14 Canadian cents a share, in the three months ended June 30. That was down from a profit of C$166 million, or C$1.29 a share, a year earlier, when the company booked gains on sales of shares in Spirit AeroSystems (SPR.N) and Skilled Healthcare SKH.N.

Excluding those stock sales, Onex actually would have had a loss of C$142 million a year earlier, making this quarter’s result an improvement.

Toronto-based Onex, which has investments in industries as diverse as electronics manufacturing, health care, movie theaters and cosmetics, said revenue rose 16 percent to C$6.82 billion from C$5.87 billion.

Analysts were expecting Onex to deliver revenue of C$6.11 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

Cash flow from operations was C$307 million, up 61 percent from C$191 million for the second quarter of 2007, Onex said.

The quarter was a relatively quiet one for Onex, but Chief Executive Gerald Schwartz said opportunities to buy new companies are starting to emerge, despite challenging lending conditions.

“While there were no Onex acquisitions in the second quarter, our focus on certain industries is beginning to surface attractive opportunities,” he said. “The current credit environment is not deterring us from actively seeking those unique opportunities to acquire great businesses.”

Private-equity firms such as Onex routinely rely on large amounts of debt to complete acquisitions. The company had warned earlier this year that its pace of making investments would slow as financings became more difficult.

Onex reported its results after markets closed. During the day, its shares rose 49 Canadian cents to close at C$27.80 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

$1=$1.06 Canadian Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Peter Galloway

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