Paybox posts 2006 profit of $55.8 million

Canal Plus’ publicly listed Gallic paybox on Wednesday posted a 2006 net profit of e42.4 million ($55.8 million), up 20% on revenues that rose 7% to $2.124 billion.

Subscriber revenues were $1.93 billion.

Paybox will propose a 32¢ per share dividend payout at its annual shareholders’ meeting April 12.

Operational profit stood at $69.8 million after deducting an $85.6 million distribution commission paid to parent company Canal Plus Group, 100% owned by Vivendi.

Via Canal Plus Group, Vivendi owns just 48% of the paybox to comply with French broadcasting regs forbidding a single shareholder to hold more than 49% of a terrestrial web.

In exchange for distributing the channel and managing its subscriber base, it guarantees the publicly quoted Canal Plus an operational profit equivalent to 3.3% of its revenues.

In a statement Wednesday, Canal Plus talked up last year’s new subscriber recruitments to its premium service, which reached 646,000, the highest since 1987.

Factoring in the paybox’s 11.95% churn rate last year, subs grew by a net 76,000 to 5.14 million.

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