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Univision Earnings Surge in Quarter

November 08, 2002|Meg James | Times Staff Writer

Univision Communications Inc. said Thursday that its third-quarter profit more than doubled because of stronger ad sales for its Spanish-language television networks, but the company also noted slower-than-expected growth in its music division and its newest TV network.

Los Angeles-based Univision posted net income of $20.3 million, or 8 cents a share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, up from $6.9 million, or 3 cents, a year earlier. The nation's largest Spanish-language broadcaster also narrowed its full fiscal year earnings estimates to 31 cents to 34 cents a share, compared with its previous forecast of 29 cents to 34 cents a share.

The company's revenue increased 22% to $269.9 million in the quarter, up from $221.7 million in the third quarter of 2001.

"Our revenue growth continues to be fueled by advertisers' growing recognition of the importance of the Hispanic community," Univision Executive Vice President Andrew Hobson told analysts in a conference call.

Univision released its results after the stock markets closed. Univision's shares closed at $25.89, down $2.10, on the New York Stock Exchange.

The media conglomerate is controlled by billionaire A. Jerrold Perenchio.

Third-quarter revenue from Univision's TV Group unit increased 13% to $239.9 million, with strong gains in markets such as Houston, Sacramento, Fresno and Bakersfield, Hobson said. However, Univision's stations attracted relatively little advertising money from political candidates, in contrast to English-language TV stations.

Analysts noted that the company's second broadcast network, TeleFutura, which launched in January, has been slow to gain momentum. Univision had anticipated that TeleFutura would break even by year-end, but company executives said Thursday that the network's start-up losses would be about $24 million this year.

Some analysts also anticipated that Univision's Spanish-language music division would contribute about $80 million in revenue for the full year. However, Univision said Thursday that its music revenue would be about $70 million to $75 million.

"The third-quarter earnings beat the estimates, but we need to lower the fourth quarter [estimates] because of the music division," Deutsche Bank analyst Andrew Marcus said.

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