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CanWest Global sees Q1 profit plunge 56%

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WINNIPEG - CanWest Global Communications Corp. took a big currency-related hit on its bottom line in the latest quarter, cutting profits by more than half for the period.

The media giant reported Tuesday it earned $35 million or 20 cents a share for the three months ended Nov. 30, the first quarter of the company's 2005 fiscal year. That compared with net profits of $81 million, or 46 cents a share for the same period the previous year.

CanWest said profits were reduced by non-cash charges related to the successful refinancing of its most expensive debt and losses on currency swaps. Excluding those charges, it said after-tax earnings would have been about $100 million.

Quarterly revenues rose nine per cent to $873 million from $801 million.

Revenue from its Canadian broadcasting operations was up five per cent to $200 million, with EBITDA remaining the same as last year at $55 million.

Australia's Network TEN television, in which CanWest has a 57.5 per cent economic interest, reported EBITDA of $120 million, up 30 per cent over the first quarter last year, on revenues of $247 million.

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