Business briefs – July 14

The CRTC said Wednesday that FM radio stations in Canada reported higher revenues and profits for the broadcast year ended Aug. 31, 2010, while there was little change in the results for AM stations.

FM stations report higher profits: CRTC

GATINEAU, Que. — The CRTC said Wednesday that FM radio stations in Canada reported higher revenues and profits for the broadcast year ended Aug. 31, 2010, while there was little change in the results for AM stations.

The federal broadcast regulator said there were 513 FM stations in Canada, up 17 from the previous year, that brought in a total of $1.24 billion in revenue, up from $1.2 billion in 2009.

The number of AM stations fell by nine to 141 for the year, while total revenue were relatively unchanged at $307.3 million, up 0.4 per cent from the previous year.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said the FM and AM stations combined earned profits before interest and taxes totalling $298.4 million for the broadcast year, up from $271.6 million.

Commercial radio stations employed 10,100 people for 2010, down from 10,196 people the previous year.

There were 654 commercial radio stations operating in Canada in 2010.

Toronto to host Microsoft conference

TORONTO — Microsoft Corp. has chosen Toronto to host its Worldwide Partner Conference in 2012.

More than 15,000 attendees from 130 countries are expected to flood into the city’s Air Canada Centre and Metro Toronto Convention Centre, where international heads of state met at last year’s G20 conference.

The conference, slated to take place from July 9-13, will include some 500 events, which will also be held at 32 of the city’s hotels.

This year’s conference is being held in Los Angeles.


U.S. crude, gasoline supplies down

NEW YORK — The United States’ crude oil and gasoline supplies fell last week, according to government data released Wednesday.

Crude supplies shrank by 3.1 million barrels, or 0.9 per cent, to 355.5 million barrels, which is 0.7 per cent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected a drop of 2.1 million barrels for the week ended July 8, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies fell by 800,000 barrels, or 0.4 per cent, to 211.7 million barrels. That was 4.2 per cent below year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to increase by 700,000 barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended July 8 was 0.9 per cent lower than a year earlier, averaging 9.2 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 88 per cent of total capacity on average, a decline of 0.4 percentage point from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to increase to 88.7 per cent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 3 million barrels to 145 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to grow by 800,000 barrels.


‘Times’ to replay loan early

NEW YORK — The New York Times Co. will repay a $250 million, high-interest loan from Mexican telecommunications billionaire Carlos Slim earlier than expected, allowing the company to reduce interest payments.

Companies affiliated with Slim, a shareholder of the Times Co., lent the money at a hefty 14 per cent interest rate at the height of the recession in January 2009. It came at a time when credit markets were tight and revenue prospects were bleak because of declines in print advertising.

Since then, the Times Co. has found other sources of cash, including the sale of $225 million in notes late last year at a lower rate of about 6.6 per cent. The company also sold most of its midtown Manhattan headquarters for $225 million and is renting back the offices from the new owners. Print advertising revenue remains weak, but the company’s flagship newspaper has begun charging for full access to its website.