UPDATE 3-Quebecor's Sun Media cuts 500 jobs as ad revenue dries up

Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:21pm EST

* Savings of C$45 mln annually

* Cash component of restructuring charge C$30 mln

* Third-quarter revenue rises 4 pct to C$1.06 bln

By Ankur Banerjee

Nov 13 (Reuters) - Canadian media and telecommunications conglomerate Quebecor Inc cut 500 jobs in its Sun Media unit as the business struggles with declining advertising revenue and weak circulation.

Quebecor, like other global publishers, has been affected by advertisers' waning interest in print as more readers shift online. Revenue growth in its media business declined by about 4 percent in the last nine months.

Sun Media, whose dailies include The Ottawa Sun, The Toronto Sun, The Calgary Sun and Le Journal de Montreal, said on Tuesday it closed two publishing facilities in Ottawa and Kingston. It expects the restructuring to help save more than C$45 million ($44.9 million) annually.

Cash component of the restructuring charge is about C$30 million, Quebecor Chief Executive Pierre Karl Peladeau said on a conference call.

Quebecor Media employed more than 16,000 people, according to information on its website.

"We will restructure our corporate and share services to reduce operating costs and will dispose or shut down all non-core activities," Peladeau said.

The company also said it will follow the industry trend of charging readers for access to articles on its website.

"We have been very active with the launch (of) our paywall ... this brings new capacity to generate revenues through new distribution channels," Peladeau said.

Pearson Plc's Financial Times and News Corp's Wall Street Journal charge for a major part of their online content.

Quebecor's Class B shares were trading slightly higher at C$35.36 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

TELECOM BOOST

The company reported a 30 percent rise in adjusted third-quarter profit from continuing operations to C$52.1 million, or 83 Canadian cents per basic share, on strong sales in its telecommunications business.

The telecoms business, which contributes over half of Quebecor's total revenue, has been driving growth in the last few quarters. Revenue at the business rose 8 percent.

Analysts had expected adjusted profit of 74 Canadian cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net income attributable to shareholders fell 29 percent to C$18.6 million, or 30 Canadian cents per share.

Total revenue rose 4 percent to C$1.06 billion.

Canada's broadcast regulator blocked BCE Inc's proposed takeover of Quebecor's rival Astral Media in October. Quebecor and other competitors had argued that the deal would give BCE too much market power.