Astral revs up, debt drops

Revenues at Montreal-based Astral Communications rose a substantial 7.9% to $ C225.9 million ($ 176.2 million), but profits dipped from $ 3.35 million to $ 2. 39 million for the nine months ended Nov. 30.

Company health harbinger– cash flow from operations–increased by more than 50% to $ 9.75 million from $ 6.396 million. In addition, the company used $ 25. 12 million from a special warrants issue last August to pay down company debt, which now stands at approximately $ 9.36 million.

“Business is improving,” according to David Novek, veepee corporate communications.

“We’re selling more of our products and making more money from operations than in the past. Also, the debt is way down,” he told Daily Variety.

Strong showing

Divisions doing especially well are “video duplication (Bellevue Pathe Quebec Video Duplication Center), video wholesaling (Bellevue Home Entertainment) and our pay TV operations (First Choice, SuperEcran, Family Channel, Canal Famille, Viewer’s Choice),” he specified.

Novek said profits were down from 39 cents to 26 cents per share because last year’s figures included “the benefit of a tax loss recovery of $ 2.125 million and a one-time gain of $ 900,000 on redemption of shares of a subsidiary company in that period.”

Operating earnings, after deduction of amortization of broadcast licenses, more than doubled in the nine-month period to $ 6.32 million vs. $ 2.81 the previous term.

Third-quarter revenues rose to $ 63.8 million (from $ 58.19 million) and operating revenues (after amortization of broadcast fees) hit $ 2.11 million, up from $ 1.17 million in the third quarter of the ’91 fiscal year. Profits were down to $ 676,260 from $ 793,260.

Overall, Astral is “in a very strong financial position, ready to deal with potential challenges and opportunities,” chairman/CEO Harold Greenberg said in a news release.

Astral has applied to all applicable provincial securities and taxation authorities to change the reporting of its year-end to Aug. 31 to be more consistent with the majority of the broadcasting and communications companies in Canada. If accepted, Astral will issue an 18-months report ending Aug. 31, 1993 after issuing two quarterly reports on Feb. 28 and May 31.

(Figures in this report were based on the Nov. 30, 1992, Bank of Canada rate at 78 cents.)

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