Taxes trip up TV Azteca Q4

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MEXICO CITY -- TV Azteca, Mexico's No. 2 network, said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter net profit plummeted 74% due to a costly tax provision and unspecified expenses.

Azteca reported a quarterly net income of 186 million pesos ($17 million), down from 718 million pesos a year ago. The major setback came from a $50 million tax provision.

Net sales rose 7% to 2.9 billion pesos ($269.9 million), representing an all-time high for the Mexican broadcaster.

TV Azteca CEO Mario San Roman said the jump in sales was driven by exceptionally high advertising revenue generated from primetime programming. Azteca also saw a 13% increase in programming exports thanks to the success of its popular telenovelas in Latin America and Europe.

Azteca America, the company's U.S. Spanish-language network, said sales increased 8% to 132 million pesos. Azteca America ranks a distant third behind market leaders Univision and NBC Universal's Telemundo.

On the full year for 2007, net profit was down 54%, owing to the absence of ad revenue windfall generated by the World Cup soccer matches and political campaigns in 2006.
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