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Ad sales drive Chum profits

Annual revenue increases 12.6% to $412.3 mil

TORONTO — A strong ad market and a more efficiently run ship made Chum’s year a strong one, with the Toronto-based television and radio company posting a bottom-line jump of 80%.

“We are very pleased with this year,” Jay Switzer, prexy and CEO, told analysts in Toronto on Monday.

Net earnings for the year ended Aug. 31 were up 80% at C$25.4 million ($19.4 million), on revenue of $412.3 million, up 12.6% from 2002. Earnings for 2002 include a one-time gain of $4.8 million.

TV revenue was up 15.1% to $313 million, and radio was up by 6.2% to $90.3 million. TV ad sales were up 8.4%, and the company’s total sales increased 15.1%.

Performance was particularly strong at the company’s flagship, Citytv in Toronto, the company noted, and, “The improved performance of Chum Television can also be attributed to improved account service and inventory yield management.”

During the year, founder Allan Waters retired, and he and Chum sold more than 2 million shares to a syndicate of underwriters, led by TD Securities. The proceeds of $81.4 million were used to reduce debt.

Switzer said the company has not yet experienced “any measurable impact on sales” from new competition in Vancouver and Toronto, including the recent start-up of Toronto1, though “we’re starting to see some program cost increases.”

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