Quebecor reports lower profit, says cable strong
TORONTO (Reuters) - Media and telecom group Quebecor Inc 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.
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 said it was ready to offer Quebecor World's debtors about $1.35 billion in cash and stock for the company's assets.
CABLE HELPS RESULTS
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.
(Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Rob Wilson)