Tax changes, ad sales boost Corus Q4

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TORONTO -- Generous tax gains and higher TV advertising and subscription revenues helped Canadian broadcaster Corus Entertainment Inc. post sharply higher fourth-quarter earnings Thursday.

Toronto-based Corus posted fourth-quarter earnings for the three months ending Aug. 31 of CAN$46.6 million ($41.2 million), compared with a profit of CAN$9.7 million in 2005, after the broadcaster recorded CAN$37 million ($32.7 million) in reduced tax obligations due to tax rate changes.

Full-year 2006 earnings came to CAN$35.5 million ($31.4 million), down from a year-earlier profit of CAN$71.2 million.

Fourth-quarter revenues for Corus were up 6% to CAN$185 million ($163.7 million), against a year-earlier CAN$175.3 million, as TV revenues rose 13% to CAN$94.7 million ($84 million). Specialty channel advertising growth of 20% and subscriber growth of 12% helped spur TV division earnings to CAN$34.1 million ($30 million) during the latest quarter, up 11% from CAN$30.8 million in 2005.

"It was a strong year for Corus and the fourth quarter was no exception. We had another excellent quarter for our television division, driven by strong ratings and subscriber growth for our brands," Corus CEO John Cassaday said in a statement.

Fourth-quarter earnings at Nelvana Ltd., Corus' cartoon production arm, were CAN$2.6 million ($2.3 million) against earnings of CAN$1.8 million last year, despite Nelvana revenues slipping 4% to CAN$26.8 million ($23.7 million).

In addition to running Nelvana, Corus is a major Canadian radio and TV operator.
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