CanWest stock jumps despite Q3 loss

Shares rise 14% on better-than-forecast results

TORONTO -- Despite higher revenue, Canadian broadcaster and newspaper publisher CanWest Global Communications Corp. on Friday posted a third-quarter loss on higher interest charges and one-time costs.

But better results than forecast from its Canadian and Australian TV businesses sent stock in the Winnipeg, Manitoba-based company up sharply, to CAN$2.30 on the Toronto Stock Exchange -- a 14% gain from Thursday's close.

CanWest recorded a loss of CAN$28.4 million ($28 million) for the quarter, a swing from a profit of CAN$8.45 million a year ago. Revenue stood at CAN$851.8 million ($843.2 million), up from CAN$738.1 million in 2007, before CanWest's purchase of 13 cable channels from Alliance Atlantis Communications that it now operates as a joint venture with Goldman Sachs & Co.

The Canadian conventional TV revenue was virtually unchanged at CAN$182.6 million ($180.7 million), compared with CAN$182 million in 2007, but the operating profit came to CAN$38.6 million ($38.2 million), up from CAN$31 million a year ago.

Revenue for Network TEN, the Australian broadcaster in which CanWest has a 56% stake, increased 8% to CAN$194 million ($192 million), compared with a year-earlier CAN$179.7 million, while the Australian operating profit jumped 21% to CAN$34.7 million ($34.3 million).

CanWest Global CEO Leonard Asper told analysts during a conference call that his network had yet to experience ad market turbulence due to a softening Canadian economy.

"We're not seeing signs of a slowdown. ... (But) we're not saying it's not going to happen. So we're girding ourselves for that eventuality," by cutting operating costs, Asper said.