Higher taxes lead to Azteca Q1 loss

Broadcaster had net loss of 625 million pesos

MEXICO CITY -- TV Azteca on Wednesday reported a sharp first-quarter net loss on rising operating expenses and a high increase in tax payments for presale ads.

Mexico's No. 2 broadcaster posted a quarterly net loss of 625 million pesos ($59 million), compared with a profit of 184 million pesos a year earlier.

Sales came in flat for the quarter at $169 million, a mere 1% rise.

The company said it took a $45 million hit on higher taxes related to presale ads for the period. Also cutting into earnings was $22 million in pre-operating expenses for UHF channel Proyecto 40, which Azteca brought onto its books in the first quarter.

Azteca America, the U.S. Spanish-language network owned by TV Azteca, saw a 17% drop in net sales owing to what it tabbed "the adverse economic environment in the U.S."