Rogers records second-quarter loss

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TORONTO -- Canadian cable and phone giant Rogers Communications on Tuesday posted a second-quarter loss after recording a non-cash charge for stock options.

Ted Rogers, the company's controlling shareholder and CEO, also told financial analysts that he has no interest in taking over western Canadian cable giant Shaw Communications, despite persistent industry rumors.

Toronto-based Rogers, Canada's largest cable operator and wireless phone provider, said it lost CAN$56 million ($52.8 million) during the three months ending June 30, compared with earnings of CAN$279 million for the same period in 2006.

Stripping out a non-cash settlement of CAN$452 million ($426.5 million) on the employee stock options, Rogers reported a profit of CAN$277 million ($261.3 million).

Second-quarter revenue rose 16% to CAN$2.53 billion ($238.5 million), against a year-earlier CAN$2.18 billion. During the latest three months, Rogers saw wireless phone revenue rise 25% to CAN$1.36 billion ($1.28 billion), compared with CAN$1.09 billion in 2006, as it added 133,000 new wireless subscribers.

On the cable side, Rogers saw revenue rise 13% to CAN$646 million ($609.5 million), against a year-earlier CAN$572 million, as it recruited another 33,500 digital cable households to bring its customer base to 1.24 million Canadians.

Rogers also added 21,100 new high-speed Internet subscribers during the second quarter, taking its subscriber base to 1.36 million Canadians.

Through a series of acquisitions, wireless phone services has become Rogers' largest business division. In 2006, Rogers and other domestic cable operators held a 12% share of Canada's local phone market, double the 6.2% share they had in 2005, according to Canada's telecoms watchdog.

Ted Rogers, the controlling shareholder and CEO of Rogers, also spotlighted his company's recent CAN$375 million ($350.5 million) takeover of five Citytv TV stations.

Rogers said the urban-branded Citytv stations will fit well with his company's expanding wireless phone division, which also targets young subscribers.

Rogers' expansion of its stable of Canadian TV channels is thought likely to make the cable and phone giant a major buyer of U.S. series at the Los Angeles Screenings.

Ted Rogers also poured water on recent media speculation he might acquire rival Shaw Communications, Canada's second-largest cable giant.

"We do not have any active file on Shaw. We have not had any active discussions with Shaw," Rogers said, before adding his company was eyeing only "tuck-in" acquisitions currently, not mega-deals.

Rogers also owns and operates the Toronto Blue Jays baseball club.
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