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Rogers cables $124 mil loss

News comes despite continued growth in all divisions

TORONTO — Canuck cable giant Rogers Communications has reported a record loss of C$188.8 million ($124.4 million) for the second quarter, hit by long-term debt and writedowns. That compares with a loss of $35.1 million a year earlier.

The news comes despite continued growth in all divisions. For the quarter ended June 30, Toronto-based Rogers reported revenue of $711.7 million, up 10.5% from a year ago. Prexy-CEO Ted Rogers said, “We achieved good sales and financial performance in all of our key divisions.”

Cable revs rose 9.3% at $254.6 million, wireless 9.8% to $317.4 million and media 14.4% at $140.8 million.

The inclusion of hard-won specialty channel Rogers Sportsnet, which joined the books in November 2001, as well as the acquisition of 13 radio stations in April, drove media revenue growth.

During the quarter Rogers wrote down $143.3 million on investments, $130.5 million of which was its investment in smaller cabler Cogeco, and a $13.2 million loss on the repayment of long-term debt.

License won, subs added

During the quarter Rogers won a highly coveted analog television license for the Toronto market to launch a second multicultural ethnic channel and added 41,000 high-speed Internet subscribers and 46,000 digital cable subs.

Reflecting seasonal trends, the number of basic cable subscribers dipped by 4,800 — a smaller decline than the 17,300 recorded in the same quarter a year ago.

To speed up penetration and improve customer retention, Rogers introduced long-awaited “bundles,” combining digital cable and high speed Internet.

“We exit the quarter with an increasingly strong collection of complimentary assets,” Rogers noted, “and a balance sheet which provides us with approximately $1.58 billion of available liquidity.”

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