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1st-quarter Atlantis profits up

TORONTO — Atlantis Communications Inc., Canada’s leading TV production company, reported robust first-quarter profits Wednesday and said it plans to deliver 100 hours of programming this year, up from 88 in 1996.

Toronto-based Atlantis earned profits for the three months ended March 31 of C$1 million ($723,200), compared with C$500,000 ($361,600) a year earlier, despite higher operating costs and lower revenue.

The company attributed the profit gain to the improved quality of its production slate and lower interest costs. Higher operating costs were incurred to build the audience of Atlantis’ Life Network specialty channel.

Revenue slipped to C$31.9 million ($23.1 million) from C$37.3 million ($27 million) but most of the decline was caused by a change in the accounting treatment of government incentive programs. Ottawa replaced tax shelters with tax credits last year — the first accounted for as revenue, the other a reduction in the cost of programs.

Atlantis delivered 22 hours of television programming in the first quarter, up from 20 hours last year.

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