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Univision Profit Up, Revenue Down

August 08, 2003|From Times Wire Services

Univision Communications Inc., the No. 1 U.S. Spanish-language media company, Thursday reported higher earnings and a slight revenue dip in the second quarter.

The Los Angeles-based company said its net income was $41.6 million, or 16 cents a share, for the three months ended June 30, compared with $22.2 million, or 9 cents, in the same period last year.

Revenue fell 1% for the quarter.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had been expecting 13 cents a share.

Net revenue was $320.2 million, down from $322.8 million in the same quarter last year, when Univision's revenue was boosted by its broadcast of the World Cup soccer games.

The lack of strong sports-related advertising this year caused television revenue, Univision's lifeblood, to fall to $287.9 million from $300.8 million in the same period last year.

Univision said it expects net revenue to increase in the third quarter by a percentage in the mid-teens over the same period in 2002.

But the Univision and Telefutura networks increased their prime-time audience among viewers aged 18 to 34 by 20%, and among those aged 18 to 49 by 11%. Viewership among these age groups reached an all-time high in the second quarter.

The company also owns a cable network, Galavision.

Univision said its third-quarter earnings per share would be 11 cents to 13 cents.

"Our solid second quarter, with strong operating income growth, again underscores the strength of our businesses and the unique growth attributes which fuel them," Univision Chief Executive A. Jerrold Perenchio said in a statement.

The company said its music business arm, Univision Music Group, saw sales jump 53%. The unit's revenue rose to $29.1 million from $19 million in the year-ago period. Its Internet revenue rose to $3.2 million from $3 million.

For the first six months of the year, Univision reported net income of $54.4 million, or 21 cents a share, compared with $29.8 million, or 12 cents, in 2002.

The company's net revenue was $581.8 million in the first half of 2003, an 8% increase over $537.2 million in the same period last year.

Univision reported its results after the close of regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Its shares fell 64 cents to $29.07. They fell an additional 17 cents in the extended session.

The company is buying radio company Hispanic Broadcasting Corp. and is waiting for final approval from the Federal Communications Commission.

FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell said Wednesday that the deal probably would close by the end of the month.

"We are hopeful we will receive it [the approval] shortly," Univision Executive Vice President Andrew Hobson told analysts during a conference call.

Univision is working on attracting more advertisers to its three anchor networks, taking advantage of the growing interest in the U.S. Latino community.

"We had over 20 new advertisers....Some were coming into Spanish-language media for the first time," Hobson said.

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