Shaw draws healthier 2nd qtr.

Customer growth rebounds, price increases up rev 9.8%

TORONTO — More customers, higher prices and cost cuts have helped Shaw Communications, Canada’s second-largest cabler, narrow its net loss to C$19.7 million ($13.4 million) for the fiscal second quarter from the previous year’s $53 million in red ink.

“Our strategies,” said Shaw CEO Jim Shaw, “have placed us in a good position to continue to achieve growth, increase cash flow and, through the sale of nonstrategic assets, to reduce debt.”

Shaw pinkslipped 800 staffers last year and axed another 400 employees from its money-losing satellite TV division Star Choice early this year. In February, it sold some U.S. cable operations for an estimated $200 million.

Following two tough quarters, during which the company had some subscriber setbacks after choosing not to match startup discounts offered by competitor Bell ExpressVu, customer growth has rebounded and price increases upped revenue 9.8% to $355 million for the quarter ended Feb. 28.

There were 41,717 new Internet customers in the quarter, and 20,114 digital terminals were deployed. Company did not reveal its churn rate but did point out that its Internet penetration of 40.4% of basic customers leads North American cable companies.

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