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Rogers reports 4th-Qtr loss of $15.5 million

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Financial/Mergers & Acquisitions
TORONTO - Rogers Communications Inc. , reported a fourth-quarter loss on Tuesday as operating profit was offset in part by an increase in interest on long-term debt.

In its first set of earnings since taking its Rogers Wireless subsidiary private, the company reported a net loss of $15.5 million, or 12 cents a share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31. That compared with a profit of $68.8 million, or 23 cents per share, in the corresponding period a year earlier.

Operating revenue at the firm, which also owns the Toronto Blue Jays Major League Baseball team, rose to $1.56 billion from $1.3 billion.

The results included the impact of a flurry of activity in the quarter. Rogers Wireless became Canada's No. 1 mobile firm on Nov. 9 when it completed its $1.4 billion cash purchase of Microcell, owner of the Fido cellphone brand.

On Oct 13, the parent company bought AT&T; Wireless Services Inc.'s 34 percent stake in Rogers Wireless for $1.77 billion. Shortly after, it bid for the 11 percent of the firm it didn't already own, and closed that deal on Dec. 31.

The company's wireless unit made up $813.6 million of the overall operating revenue, and the cable unit $508.4 million. Rogers media group contributed $246.4 million.

The wireless arm added 185,800 postpaid voice and data customers in the quarter, bringing its postpaid subscriber base to 5.5 million. Average monthly revenue per postpaid customer was $60.52, a 5.6 percent increase from a year earlier.

For Rogers Wireless, it forecast operating profit of between $1.25 billion and $1.3 billion and network revenues of between $3.41 billion and $3.46 billion. It expects to add between 450,000 and 500,000 subscribers.

Rogers Communications said it expects its wholly owned cable unit to generate revenue of between $2.09 billion and $2.13 billion and operating profit of between $720 million and $735 million.

The division expects to add between 140,000 and 170,000 broadband Internet subscribers and 175,000 to 275,000 digital cable subscribers.

Rogers Media, a radio and television broadcaster and magazine publisher, expects revenue of between $925 million and $950 million and operating profit of between $130 million and $140 million.

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