(Corrects second paragraph to make clear 1 pct revenue gain was
for pay television and specialty channels, not specialty
* Quarterly profit rises to C$1.04 a share from C$1.00 a
* Revenue up 1.2 percent at C$274.5 million
Jan 10 Canada's Astral Media Inc
reported a higher quarterly profit on Thursday, benefiting from
higher advertising revenue across its business segments and
growth in subscriptions.
Astral, which is waiting for regulators to rule on its
proposed acquisition by Bell Canada's parent, said subscription
revenue from pay television and specialty channels rose 1
percent in the first quarter ended on Nov. 30. The company also
owns radio stations and an outdoor advertising business.
Astral posted a 4 percent increase in television advertising
revenue, even though it had expected no advertising growth in
its largest segment. The company said it had boosted its market
share by 13 percent among specialty television viewers aged 25
Depreciation, amortization and financial expenses fell, and
the effective income tax rate was slightly lower.
BCE Inc announced plans in March to buy Astral, its
biggest content provider. The Canadian Radio-television and
Telecommunications Commission blocked the C$3 billion bid in
October, but the companies filed a revised application in
The companies said the new proposal addressed the
regulator's concerns over the level of control the deal would
give BCE over Canadian media, spelling out how it would stay
within relevant viewership thresholds.
Astral's net income rose to C$59.1 million ($60.0 million),
or C$1.04 a share, from C$55.8 million, or C$1.00, a year
earlier. Excluding costs from the BCE deal, earnings increased
to C$1.05 a share. Analysts on average had expected C$1.03,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose to C$274.5 million from C$271.1 million, just
shy of the consensus estimate of C$277.2 million.
($1 = 0.99 Canadian)
(Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Frank McGurty and
Lisa Von Ahn)