Alliance year lively

Record annual earnings for Canadian media co.

TORONTO — Alliance Communications released solid financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended March 31.

Consolidated revenues were C$385.2 million ($264.9 million), a gain of 32% from last year’s $194.3 million. That’s $1 per share, up from 76¢ a share. Gross profit for the year increased by 19%, to $56.2 million from $47.3 million.

Record operating year

It was a record year for operating earnings, up 58% to $14.3 million from $9.1 million for fiscal 1998. Including the gain from the sale of some of Alliance’s investment in Mainframe Entertainment, net earnings for the year increased to $16.7 million from $12.5 million last year.

“All of our core businesses — television, motion picture and broadcasting — performed strongly,” said exec VP George Burger.

Revenues for Alliance TV Group were up 66% to $125.8 million, thanks to record TV production and sale of 122 hours of primetime drama in fiscal ’98, more than twice as many hours as in fiscal 1997.

Alliance Motion Picture Group revenues were up 29.2% to $100.6 million.

B’cast bravo

Alliance Broadcasting revenues were up 15.6% to $15.8 million.

“The strength of the broadcasting business in the last two and a half to three years has contributed significantly to our profitability,” said Burger, pointing out that they are higher-margin revenues and that they don’t take into account specialty channel History Television, which was launched in October 1997 and will begin contributing revenue in the first quarter of 1999.

There was a downturn from the tax shelter portion of Alliance’s business, reported under Alliance Equicap, caused by the Ca-nadian government’s nixing of tax shelter incentives late last year and leaving the lending of funds to independent producers as Alliance Equicap’s only revenue source.

Burger pointed out that the net earnings per share of Alliance’s core business, which includes neither the Alliance Equicap portion nor the gain from its Mainframe sale, had strong growth, from 48¢ per share to 88¢ per share year over the year.

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