Canwest Global posts Q4 loss

Canwest Global Communications (TSXV:CGS) delivered another quarterly loss on Friday, with the still-sluggish advertising market pulling down overall revenues by 13 per cent during a period that saw little in the way of good news for a company in a major restructuring.

Canwest Global Communications (TSXV:CGS) delivered another quarterly loss on Friday, with the still-sluggish advertising market pulling down overall revenues by 13 per cent during a period that saw little in the way of good news for a company in a major restructuring.

The Winnipeg-based media conglomerate posted a $111-million loss worth 62 cents per share for the period ended Aug. 31, a fraction of the massive $1.02-billion loss, $5.74 per share, logged a year earlier when Canwest booked a writedown on its money-losing Canadian television operations.

The results were not surprising, but indicative of the array of challenges Canwest faces as it works to recover from a crippling economic downturn that undercut revenues and left it unable to cope with a massive $4-billion debt.

Some of its divisions were placed under creditor protection, including its conventional TV operations, as it etches out a restructuring plan with its major creditors. Overall revenue dropped to $624 million from $721 million, which Canwest president and CEO Leonard Asper attributed to the pressure a difficult economic climate has placed on advertisers.

“While the abrupt and unprecedented decline in advertising revenue had a significant impact on Canwest, most business units continued to perform better than the industry average with online and specialty television reporting growth even in the face of the recession,” Asper said, basing his estimates on data from the Television Bureau of Canada.

Like other advertising-dependent media companies, Canwest has felt the impact of a global economic slowdown that began gripping Canada in October 2008. It is also grappling with the huge debtload, accumulated several years earlier as the broadcaster expanded into newspaper publishing and specialty TV.

Canwest said its operating profit — which excludes a number of items counted in net earnings — fell by 58 per cent to $25 million from $60 million. Stripping out restructuring costs, impairments and other one-time expenses, the operating profit would have been more than twice as high — $52 million, down a more moderate 14 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2008.

However, Canwest posted a loss of $1.69 billion for the fiscal year, versus a $1.03 billion loss in fiscal 2008.

Canwest “still has a lot of obstacles to overcome before it can realistically determine whether it will survive this transitional period,” said Carmi Levy an analyst at AR Communications Inc.

“We are nowhere near the point where we can assess whether Canwest has succeeded or not.”

Canwest has said it hopes to complete its restructuring process by the end of January.

Aside from Global Television, the conventional TV network that’s operating under court protection, Canwest owns several large-market daily newspapers and has a stake in specialty cable channels that aren’t under creditor protection. It also owns the National Post newspaper, which was moved under the same corporate umbrella as other dailies earlier this year.

Canwest has also been grappling with its investment partner Goldman Sachs & Co., filing documents in court earlier this week which showed the two companies, which teamed to buy the assets of Alliance Atlantis, are now sparring over specialty channels they both own.

In court documents, Canwest executives asked that the court side with them over the channels, which it says are crucial to restructuring the company and appeasing creditors.

Goldman filed documents which said it offered to help Canwest repeatedly throughout the year, but the two sides were unable to reach mutually favourable terms.

In quarterly earnings, revenue from publishing fell to $238 million in the quarter spanning the months of June, July and August, down 20 per cent from $299 million for the same period of fiscal 2008 — which predated a major global economic slowdown.

Publishing operating profit of $25 million for the fourth quarter was down 54 per cent from $54 million in the same period of fiscal 2008, Canwest said.

Canwest’s Canadian conventional and specialty cable operations reported fourth-quarter revenues of $184 million, 11 per cent lower than the same period in the previous year.

Operating profit in the fourth quarter was $12 million, compared to a loss of $400,000 the previous year.

Canwest’s Australian television operations, which have been sold, accounted for $171 million of revenue and $19 million in operating profit in the fourth quarter.

For the full year ended Aug. 31, Canwest overall revenue was $2.87 billion, down eight per cent from $3.13 billion in fiscal 2008.

Operating profit, which is a non-standard measure of profitability, was $310 million including restructuring and other expenses, down 44 per cent from $551 million in fiscal 2008.

Canwest shares closed unchanged at eight cents on the TSX Venture Exchange.

Just Posted

Red Deer church donates to Safe Harbour

It was all about helping those in need at Safe Harbour in… Continue reading

Former firefighter with PTSD sues Syncrude over suspended benefits, dismissal

CALGARY — A lawsuit filed by a former firefighter and paramedic against… Continue reading

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

HALIFAX — Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi may have hoped to quietly disappear from… Continue reading

Democrats aren’t buying Trump’s shutdown-ending ‘compromise’

WASHINGTON — In a bid to break the shutdown stalemate, President Donald… Continue reading

Updated: Red Deer welcomes 2019 Canada Winter Games Team Alberta

About 250 Alberta athletes are participating in the Games

Students seen mocking Native Americans could face expulsion

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting

Curtain rising Sunday night on total lunar eclipse

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The celestial curtain will be rising soon on… Continue reading

At 30-day mark, shutdown logjam remains over border funding

WASHINGTON — Thirty days into the partial government shutdown, Democrats and Republicans… Continue reading

Holocaust victims buried after remains found in UK museum

LONDON — The remains of six unidentified Holocaust victims were buried in… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘So what’ if Trump and Cohen discussed testimony

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani left open Sunday the… Continue reading

Photos: Rocks fly at 37th Annual Oilmen’s Bonspiel

Twenty-nine teams gathered at the Pidherney Curling Centre in Red Deer for… Continue reading

Death toll reaches 79 in Mexico fuel pipeline fire horror

TLAHUELILPAN, Mexico — People in the town where a gasoline explosion killed… Continue reading

With Trump out, Davos chief eyes fixing world architecture

DAVOS, Switzerland — The founder of the World Economic Forum says U.S.… Continue reading

Mexican pipeline explosion kills 71, leaves nightmare of ash

TLAHUELILPAN, Mexico — Gerardo Perez returned Saturday to the scorched field in… Continue reading

Most Read