TV3 sales boosts CanWest profits


TORONTO -- A gain from the recent sale of its Irish TV assets helped Canadian broadcaster CanWest Global Communications Corp. post sharply higher full-year profits Thursday.

Winnipeg, Manitoba-based CanWest Global posted CAN$178.6 million ($158 million) in earnings for the year through Aug. 31, compared with earnings of CAN$10.2 million in 2005, after recording a CAN$164 million ($145 million) gain on the sale of its interest in TV3 Ireland. That deal was completed in August.

Total revenue for fiscal 2006 was CAN$2.87 billion ($2.53 billion), down 5% from CAN$3.03 billion in 2005, as the broadcaster faced "difficult advertising markets" and lower revenue from its South Pacific operations due to the appreciating Canadian dollar.

CanWest Global saw revenue at its two Canadian conventional networks fall to CAN$656.2 million ($580 million), against a year-earlier CAN$696 million, while Network TEN in Australia also saw revenue drop sharply during the latest quarter, from CAN$783.3 million in 2005 to CAN$656.3 million ($580 million).

The contribution from CanWest Global's twin networks in New Zealand -- TV3 and C4 -- fell as well, from CAN$123 million in 2005 to CAN$109 million ($96.4 million).

CanWest Global operates daily newspapers, conventional and specialty TV channels, radio stations and Internet assets in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Turkey.