Net earnings were $4.8 mil, compared to $13.3 mil in '02

MONTREAL — Net earnings were down significantly in the second quarter for Toronto-based producer and broadcaster Corus Entertainment, but the company’s earnings a year earlier were inflated by C$14.3 million ($9.8 million) thanks to the sale of Corus’ interest in the Comedy Network.

Corus announced its results on Thursday for the quarter ending Feb. 28. Revenue for the second quarter was $101.6 million, down from $115.5 million.

Last year’s results included pay-per-view network Viewers’ Choice and publishing company Klutz, both of which were disposed of in fiscal 2002.

On a pro forma basis, revenues were up 1%. Net earnings for the period were $4.8 million, compared with $13.3 million last year. Cash flow for the quarter was $21.6 million compared with $21.8 million last year. But on a pro forma basis, taking into account last year’s asset sales, cash flow was up 12%.

“We were very encouraged by double-digit advertising growth for both our television and radio assets in the quarter,” said John Cassaday, Corus CEO.

“The continued strong performance of television and radio has allowed us to reposition Nelvana without shrinking our consolidated operating earnings.”

At Nelvana, revenue was up 82% on a pro forma basis compared with last year, at $7.2 million, up from $4 million, largely due to the growth of the “Beyblade” property.

Revenue from production and distribution declined 28% from last year, mostly due to the loss of revenue from the German market as a result of the RTV bankruptcy last year.

Revenue from television in the quarter was $49.3 million, roughly equal to pro forma revenue from television in the second quarter last year. But it is a decline of 9% from actual revenue last year as a result of the sale of Viewer’s Choice and other assets.

Advertising revenue from television continued to grow, up 10% for the quarter and 8% for the year to date on a pro forma basis.

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