Copyright 2004 Toronto Star Newspapers, Ltd.

The Toronto Star

October 19, 2004 Tuesday

From Lexis Nexis

Fourth-quarter profit rose more than 40 per cent at Cogeco Inc. on stronger results from its cable business.

Cogeco, which owns Cogeco Cable Inc. along with radio- and television-broadcasting assets, earned $2.1 million, or 13 cents a share, in the quarter ended Aug. 31. That compared with a profit of $1.51 million, or 9 cents a share, a year earlier, the company added yesterday.

Revenue rose 2.8 percent to $154.6 million from $150.4 million.

For the year, Cogeco lost $10.6 million, or 65 cents a share, compared with a profit of $6.7 million, or 42 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose to $648.1 million from $613.7 million.

Figures for the 2003 fourth quarter and year were restated to incorporate new accounting standards on the timing of revenue recognition and related costs.

At Cogeco Cable, Canada's Number 4 cable provider, digital services helped boost fourth-quarter profit.

Cogeco Cable said it earned $6.5 million, or 16 cents per share, in the quarter ended Aug. 31. That compared with a profit of $2.2 million, or 5 cents per share, a year earlier. Cogeco Cable revenue rose to $133 million from $126.5 million.

Cogeco Inc. said it had higher growth in the digital-service customer base and lower subscriber losses in basic service.

High-speed Internet customer additions were lower than a year earlier.

Cogeco Inc. said revenue declined 9.7 percent in television and 8.4 percent in radio from a year earlier, mainly because of volatile advertising markets, declining market share for a Quebec City radio station and lower investments in television programming.

Cogeco trimmed revenue guidance for the company's media sector, which includes the French-language TQS television network, but maintained the forecast for operating income before amortization in that business.

Cogeco said it expects media revenue for the fiscal 2005 year of $125 million to $126 million, slightly lower than the range of $127 million to $129 million provided in July.