October 27, 2010 / 4:36 PM / in 7 years

UPDATE 1-Astral Media profit climbs on ad growth

* Q4 EPS C$0.80 excl items vs C$0.79 yr ago

* Analyst forecast EPS C$0.64

* Revenue up 9 percent at C$238.4 million

TORONTO, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Astral Media ACMa.TOACMb.TO posted a 2 percent rise in net earnings in its fourth quarter, helped by a recovery in advertising markets, the specialty television and radio broadcaster said on Wednesday.

Montreal-based Astral, which operates television, outdoor advertising and radio business units, said net profit rose to C$45.1 million ($43.8 million), or 80 Canadian cents a share, excluding one-off items.

Analysts had expected earnings of 64 Canadian cents a share, on revenue of C$233.5 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue was 9 percent higher at C$238.4 million.

Astral posted a C$273.2 million loss in the same period a year ago when it booked an impairment charge on its radio broadcast licenses. Excluding that charge, the company made C$44.3 million, or 79 Canadian cents a share.

It again recorded a radio license-related expense in the quarter to Aug. 31, of C$9.7 million for tariff increases retroactive to January 2008.

The company’s more heavily traded class A shares were 0.1 higher at C$39.39 on the Toronto Stock Exchange shortly after the results were posted on Wednesday. The stock has risen around 18 percent this year.

$1=$1.03 Canadian Reporting by Alastair Sharp; editing by Rob Wilson

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