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Rogers losses narrow with rev gains

Basic cable, Internet subscribers help income gains

TORONTO — Rogers Communications saw its losses shrink in its third quarter on the strength of revenue gains and continued reduced capital expenses.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, revs were up 11% to C$1.22 billion ($927 million) at Toronto-based Rogers, Canada’s largest cable company.

Red ink narrowed to $13.2 million, down from $100 million in the third quarter of 2002.

“Continued double-digit quarterly operating-profit growth and disciplined capital spending resulted in another strong quarter for Rogers,” said Ted Rogers, prexy-CEO of Rogers.

The loss for the quarter included an $8.6 million charge related to the company’s stake in the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team as well as a cash advance of $16.9 million to the Jays.

Up across board

All three divisions continue to offer up respectable year-over-year gains, including a 9.1% gain in revenue to $335.6 million for cable, 15.3% to $456.5 million for wireless and 3.9% to $148.2 million for media.

The income gains were helped by a net increase of 5,900 in basic cable subs during the quarter compared with a net loss of 2,200 a year earlier. In addition, the number of Internet subscribers is up 39,100 and the number of households with Rogers digital service rose by 35,200.

In the media division, two of the company’s specialty channels, Sportsnet and Omni, put in strong performances, offset in part by softer perfs by the publishing and radio arms, affected by a downturn in the ad market.

In keeping with its previously expressed commitments, the company continues to cut its capital expenditures, with property, plant and equipment expenditures down 19.4% to $186.2 million in the quarter.

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