Alliance posts strong quarter

Toronto co. reports $37.5 mil in net earnings

Alliance Atlantis posted a boffo first quarter, almost doubling its bottom line and increasing its revenue 32% to C$358 million ($326 million) thanks to revenue upticks from its “CSI” stake as well as strong perfs from its broadcast and distribution divisions.

The Toronto-based company reported net earnings of $37.5 million for the quarter ended March 31.

AAC is the subject of a $2.9 billion takeover by AA Acquisition Corp. in a deal funded by Goldman Sachs and CanWest Global Communications that was announced in January but still awaits regulatory approvals.

In the meantime, revenue gains from all three of AAC’s operating divisions contributed to the strong quarter. Revenue from the company’s entertainment division, primarily its 50% stake in the “CSI” powerhouse, was $147.7 million, up by 74%, thanks to strong international sales. Revenue for the broadcast division, comprising 13 cable channels, climbed 11.9% to $71 million, thanks to a subscriber uptick of 8.5% to $32.5 million and ad revenue up 16% to $38 million. The Movie Distribution Income Fund, of which AAC owns 51%, posted revenue of $100 million, up 8.8%.

In early April, AAC’s shareholders voted to approve the company’s sale, the same day the trustee repping the minority shareholders of the Movie Distribution Income Fund went public with their complaints about the paucity of information they have received about the deal, by all accounts an extraordinarily complex one.

They asked an Ontario judge to halt the takeover, arguing that their approval is needed for it to close. AAC maintains that the approval of MDIF minority shareholders is not required. A court date to hear the case has been set for June 15.

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