CanWest reports double the losses for the quarter

Winnipeg - CanWest Global Communications Corp.'s fourth-quarter losses were more than twice what they were for the same period last year, this despite doubling revenues from its newspaper acquisitions.

The Winnipeg-based company, Canada's largest newspaper publisher, reported Wednesday it lost just over $37 million, or 21 cents a share, in the quarter ended Aug. 31, compared with a loss of $16.2 million, or 11 cents a share, in the same period last year.

Quarterly revenues, however, more than doubled to $576.1 million from $269.9 million _ as the company benefited from last year's acquisition of the Southam newspaper chain, including the National Post, from Conrad Black's Hollinger group.

For the year, the company's profits fell to $46.6 million from $177.6 million in 2000. The 2000 profits included a one-time gain of $68.3 million on the sale of investments. Combined revenues more than doubled to $2.2 billion from just under $1.1 billion.

The company noted the slumping economy affected ad revenues at its TV stations and Southam newspapers. Profits were also squeezed by higher interest costs associated with the increased debt borrowed to finance the $3.2 billion Southam acquisition in November 2000.

``On balance I am satisfied with the results achieved in 2001'' CanWest president Leonard Asper said in a release. "Revenues and profits were close to our expectations at the beginning of the year despite external factors that worked to our disadvantage.

``Our aggressive pursuit of integration synergies and operating efficiencies helped to offset the impact of weakening markets and is starting to pay off with substantial cost savings and incremental sales of integrated multimedia advertising products.

``As a result, the company is not only more resilient to an economic downturn but also better placed to benefit disproportionately from the eventual resumption of more normal rates of economic growth."

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