Quebecor doubles third quarter earnings

Montreal-based cable and publishing giant posts $65 mil profit

TORONTO -- Cost-cutting and customer growth helped Quebec cable and publishing giant Quebecor Inc. on Thursday double its third quarter earnings on increased revenue.

Montreal-based Quebecor posted a CAN$69.4 million ($65 million) profit for the three months to Sept. 30 on lower financial and income tax expenses, compared to earnings of CAN$45.7 million in 2008.

Revenue was up 1% to CAN$918.4 million ($862.5 million), against a year-earlier CAN$908.1 million.

Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau said customer growth in the company's core cable and wireless phone businesses and year-to-date savings of CAN$45 million ($42.2 million) from restructuring its contracting newspaper division were behind the improved profit line.

"We are fully aware that there are fundamental changes in the news media division, which is why were working so hard to manage our costs," Peladeau told analysts during a conference call, citing recent cuts in wages and unprofitable print runs.

Cable revenue rose 10% to CAN$503.4 million ($473 million) as Quebecor added cable phone, high speed Internet and basic cable customers. That performance offset revenue at Quebecor's newspaper division falling 14.7% to CAN$241.5 million ($226 million) on lower advertising sales in a challenging economy.

The impact of ad expenditures also fed into broadcast revenue off 3% to CAN$89.2 million ($83 million).
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