April 8, 2010 / 12:27 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 2-Cogeco posts Q2 profit; shares fall on M&A worries

* Cogeco Inc Q2 EPS C$0.63 vs est C$0.51

* Cogeco Cable Q2 EPS C$0.61 vs est C$0.53

* Shares fall on unclear acquisition strategy (Recasts; adds conference call details, analyst comments, updates stock activity)

By Abhiram Nandakumar

BANGALORE, April 8 (Reuters) - Canadian cable and telecommunications company Cogeco Inc (CGO.TO) and its subsidiary Cogeco Cable Inc (CCA.TO) posted quarterly profits, but the parent firm’s lack of clarity on its acquisition strategy led to the shares paring all the gains they made after the results.

“The time has come for this company to start looking for reasonably priced, reasonably sized, non-betting sized acquisitions,” Chief Executive Loius Audet said.

However, the lack of detail on the markets being targeted, the size of the deals and the lack of clarity on the company’s strategy in Portugal, where it faces fierce competition, were cause for worry, according to analysts.

Shares of Cogeco Inc and Cogeco Cable rose nearly 3 percent in morning trade, before reversing course in the afternoon. Shares of Cogeco Inc were down about 2 percent at at C$31.97, while Cogeco Cable fell 3 percent to C$37.98 on late afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

“I think people are concerned over future acquisitions in Europe,” Genuity Capital Markets analyst Dvai Ghose said.

Cogeco Cable’s margins in Europe have been hit hard by pricing wars, particularly in Portugal -- where revenue for the second quarter fell 20 percent -- and analysts do not see an upside this year.

“Overall, going forward, we think it’s going to take a while before the Portugal assets’ value starts to become higher,” Desjardins Securities Maher Yaghi said.

Cogeco, which is about 23 percent owned by Canadian peer Rogers Communications Corp (RCIb.TO), competes with state-owned Portugal Telecom and ZON Multimedia ZON.LS in Portugal.

Cogeco Inc posted a profit C$10.5 million ($10.43 million), or 63 Canadian cents per share, compared with a loss of C$115.2 million, or C$6.88 per share last year. [ID:nWNAB6999]

Cogeco Cable posted a net profit of C$29.8 million, or 61 Canadian cents per share, compared with a net loss of C$358.3 million, or C$7.38 per share. [ID:nWNAB7000]

Both companies recorded a non-cash impairment charge on the net value of the acquired assets of a Portuguese unit of Cogeco Cable. ($1=1.007 Canadian Dollar) (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian, Unnikrishnan Nair)

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