Univision’s first quarter yields 18% revenue surge

Univision Communications Inc.’s first-quarter revenue surged 18%, thanks to increased market and advertising share, the company reported Thursday.

For the quarter ended March 31, the Los Angeles-based Spanish language broadcaster reported actual revenue of $85.6 million, compared to pro forma revenue of $72.7 million for the same period last year.

Univision reported a first-quarter loss of $2.3 million, sharply below the $20.9 million in red ink for the same period reported on a pro forma basis for 1996.

“Our strong first-quarter results demonstrate the continued progress we’re making toward the goal of becoming a core media buy for advertisers and closing the gap between Univision’s audience share and share of advertising revenue,” said George Blank, Univision’s exec VP and chief financial officer in a statement.

Analysts say Univision’s results are a bit better than expected.

“The company looks very strong, far above any broadcaster,” said Frank Bodenchak, an analyst with Morgan Stanley in New York, referring to Univision’s first-quarter growth, which is nearly five times the industry average for the period.

Univision’s stock closed Thursday at $32.87, down $1.12 in New York Stock Exchange trading.

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