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Oz, Kiwi divisions lead CanWest

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CanWest Global Communications Corp.
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WINNIPEG - CanWest Global Communications Corp. yesterday reported net earnings were $54 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2004, ended May 31st, up 335% from net earnings of $12 million in the same quarter last year.

The Company's consolidated revenues for the three-month period were $565 million compared to consolidated revenues of $558 million for the same period in 2003. Consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) in the third quarter were $143 million compared to consolidated EBITDA of $141 million for the corresponding period last year.

Consolidated revenues for the nine-months ended May 31, 2004 were $1.61 billion compared to pro forma consolidated revenues of $1.603 billion for the same period in 2003. Consolidated EBITDA for the nine months ended May 31, 2004 was $388 million compared to pro forma consolidated EBITDA of $403 million for the same period in 2003. Pro forma results for the nine-month period in 2003 exclude the revenue and EBITDA contributions of newspaper assets that were sold in February 2003.

Overall, exceptional results generated by the Company's South Pacific broadcasting operations, led by the TEN Group, together with EBITDA growth in Canadian newspaper operations, were responsible for the increase in combined EBITDA, said the company's press release.

"CanWest moved forward operationally and on a number of important strategic initiatives in the third quarter that will help to position the Company for future growth. The outstanding results at TEN Group and our New Zealand broadcast assets continue to demonstrate the value of CanWest's position as a diversified international media company. Our newspaper operations were successful in recording a significant EBITDA gain in a difficult Canadian advertising market and results from our Canadian television operations continued to improve," said Leonard Asper, president and CEO.

"Fireworks is no longer a drain on the Company's income statement and we believe we have a modest but profitable content development strategy. The recent sale of our stake in Ulster TV and the IPO in New Zealand are consistent with our long stated objective of monetizing certain of our overseas assets. Proceeds from these transactions will further strengthen CanWest's balance sheet. The successful refinancing of our bank debt in June reduces future financing expense and, together with certain covenant amendments, further improves the financial flexibility of the company."

Publishing EBITDA increased by 4% to $74 million compared to $72 million for the corresponding quarter last year on quarterly revenues of $300 million, which were unchanged from the corresponding period last year.

Revenues from Canadian broadcasting operations of $207 million were unchanged from the previous year's third quarter result. EBITDA for Canadian broadcasting operations was $61 million, 26% lower than for the corresponding period in 2003. The decline in EBITDA was partially due to increased investment in new programming.

For more, go to www.canwest.com.
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