Austar reports loss; revs up

Oz feevee sees $83.6 mil net loss for first 6 months

SYDNEY — UnitedGlobalCom’s rural Australian feevee carrier Austar on Tuesday reported a pre-tax, interest, depreciation and amortization loss of A$20.6 million ($13.4 million) and a net loss of $83.6 million, while revenues hiked 86% to $76 million for the first six months of the year.

The prospectus for Austar’s $300 million IPO of 22% of the company in July forecast total revenues of $184 million for calendar 1999. Revenues will need to hike 59% in the second half to meet those forecasts, which Austar chief exec John Porter says is achievable.

Nonetheless, Austar shares fell 4¢ to $3.01, dipping below their $3.05 issue price.

Meanwhile, Tony O’Reilly’s APN News & Media reported a 15% hike in post-tax profits to $10.8 million on a 24% increase in revenues, to $147 million for the first half of 1999.

APN controls Oz and New Zealand’s largest radio web with America’s Clear Communications, and is Oz’s biggest rural newspaper publisher.

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