Canwest Global sees full-year loss climb

Fourth quarter revenue down 13% to $589 million

TORONTO -- An insolvent Canwest Global Communications Corp. on Friday said it reduced its fourth quarter loss by shedding costs and assets under creditor protection, even as its full-year loss grew.

Winnipeg-based Canwest Global posted a loss of CAN$111 million ($104.7 million) for the three months to Aug. 31, against a loss of CAN$1.02 billion in 2008. Fourth quarter revenue was off 13% to CAN$624 million ($589 million), against a year-earlier CAN$721 million.

The broadcaster and newspaper publisher reported an operating profit that fell 58% to CAN$25 million ($23.6 million) from CAN$60 million

For full-year 2009, Canwest Global saw its overall loss climb sharply to CAN$1.69 billion ($1.6 billion), against a loss of CAN$1.04 billion in 2008, on overall revenue down 8% to CAN$2.87 billion ($2.7 billion), from a year-earlier CAN$3.13 billion.

The full-year loss includes CAN$1.42 billion ($1.34 billion) in non-cash impairment losses on goodwill, intangible assets and property and equipment, and foreign currency swap losses of CAN$150 million ($142 million) offset by foreign exchange gains of CAN$278 million ($262 million).

Canwest Global CEO Leonard Asper, who did not conduct an analyst call following release of his latest results, in a statement said the broadcaster had met a collapse in advertising revenue during the economic downtown by slashing operating costs and restructuring under court-directed protection from creditors.

"During this difficult time we have taken swift action to not only adjust our business model through aggressive cost reductions, but have taken actions including developing new online platforms, launched and rebranded new channels, that have allowed us to expand our audiences and position the business units to be even stronger competitors as the economy begins to rebound,” Asper said.

The Canadian media company put itself into creditor protection on Oct. 6 in a bid to get out from under around CAN$4 billion ($3.78 billion) in crippling debt.

Canwest Global aims to complete current talks with U.S. bondholders and other senior lenders and emerge from creditor protection as early as January.

Before the restructuring is concluded, U.S. bondholders and senior lenders are expected exchange debt for equity in Canwest Global, which operates TV, newspaper and digital assets nationwide.