B'caster's increase due to rebounding economy

HONG KONG — Thanks in part to a rebounding economy, profits rose 25.5% in 1999 at Television Broadcasts (TVB), which intends to move ahead with expansion plans.

The terrestrial broadcaster said that “economic bad times bottomed out” during the second half of last year, and it anticipates “a continuation of the positive trends.”

Hong Kong audience ratings during the first quarter of 2000 “have been particularly encouraging,” the company said, “and our international performance has generally continued solid.”

TVB reported profit attributable to shareholders of HK$506 million ($65 million) for the year ended December 1999. Earnings per share were up nearly 22% year on year.

Contributing to the big increase was a change in accounting procedures.

Company said it would “aggressively press ahead” with its Internet project, TVB.com, which it is engineering in concert with Malaysia’s Measat satellite service.

Subsid Galaxy Satellite Broadcasting has applied to the government for a license to operate a pay television service. The government is expected to award those licenses by June.

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