CanWest 3Q results even with 2001

Revs up 5% from last year

TORONTO — Despite a steadily dropping share price, CanWest Global Communications last week reported third-quarter fiscals holding steady.

Net earnings for the period ended May 31 were C$30.7 million ($20.2 million), on par with last year’s $21.2 million. Revenues for the quarter were $460.2 million, up 5% from last year’s pro forma numbers.

“Results confirm that the worst of the recent economic weakness is behind us,” said CanWest president and CEO Leonard Asper, “with significant positive revenue growth … reflecting a strengthening economy. Year-over-year comparisons of our Canadian television operations indicate significant improvement compared to the previous two quarters, with revenues up 14% from one year ago and operating profits also trending upwards.”

Sold off newspapers

CanWest sold its community newspapers to GTC Transcontinental Group for $168 million as part of its plan to cut debt by selling nonstrategic assets. Deal must pass muster at the Canadian Competition Bureau.

CanWest owns broadcast companies in Canada (including the Global Television Network), New Zealand, Australia, Ireland and the U.K., and it owns production company Fireworks Entertainment. It is also Canada’s largest newspaper publisher, with holdings that include the National Post.

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