Cancom pulls down WIC

Media company's earnings drop more than 50%

TORONTO — WIC Western Intl. Communications took a hit in its quarterlies, released Monday, due to the company’s interest in Canadian Satellite Communications (Cancom).

For the first quarter of fiscal 2000, ended Nov. 30, the Vancouver-based media company announced earnings that fell more than 50% to C$5.4 million ($3.7 million), from $7.7 million from the year-previous period.

Cancom crunch

The drop, according to WIC chief financial officer Shamsh Kassam, is due to WIC’s 28% stake in satellite service provider Cancom. WIC includes its share of Cancom’s profits or losses on its balance sheet, and because Cancom had a poor quarter, WIC’s bottom line was down $8.1 million.

Revenues for the quarter were $92.6 million, on par with $93 million generated in the first quarter ’99. Premium TV and radio were up slightly, offset by a decline in conventional TV revenues.

WIC had a controlling interest in Cancom and until August reported consolidated figures, Kassam said. Then Cancom merged with direct-to-home services provider Star Choice, and as a result of this and subsequent share conversions, WIC’s holdings were diluted to 28% and the company began reporting on an equity basis. WIC’s interest in Cancom has been further diluted since the end of the first quarter, to 21% after a Cancom equity offering late last year.

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