TV3 set to make a net loss of €2.7m

 

TV3 will record a net loss of €2.7 million for the year to the end of last August, the station said yesterday. It expects to break even by next year.

CanWest, the Canadian multinational which owns 45 per cent of the Irish station, reported yesterday that TV3 had "earnings" of €11.3 million in the year to August 31st, 2002. However, a spokesman for CanWest Global Communications explained that this was before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation were accounted for. Canadian and Irish accountancy practices differ in this regard.

In its statement released with the accounts, CanWest said: "TV3 Ireland also grew, with CanWest's share of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation increasing to Can$8 million for the year compared to a pro forma result of less than Can$2 million for the prior year."

TV3 is owned by CanWest, Granada Media (which also owns 45 per cent) and three Irish founder investors who have 10 per cent between them. They are Mr James Morris, of Windmill Lane Pictures; accountant Mr Osmond Kilkenny; and U2 manager Mr Paul McGuinness.

A statement from TV3 said the results issued by CanWest "include other interests over and above TV3 Television Network Ltd and do not represent the results of TV3 as a whole".

"CanWest Granada Media Holdings Ltd, the company which operates and owns 100 per cent of TV3 and is owned by CanWest, Granada and Irish-based investors, will record a net loss of approximately €2.7 million for the year ended August 2002. CanWest Granada Media Holdings Ltd has no interests other than TV3."

A CanWest spokesman said it had an advertising sales unit in Ireland, which was associated with TV3 and was owned solely by CanWest. Its accounts were included in CanWest's TV3 figures. TV3 said a strong advertising market had made for the halving of its losses this year as against last year.

CanWest reported a fourth-quarter loss of Can$104 million (€58.75 million) and net profits of Can$13 million.

As well as its 45 per cent shareholding in TV3, the group owns 25 per cent of UTV. The results did not include figures for UTV.

The group has interests in radio, television, newspapers and other media in Canada, the US, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as the UK and the Republic.

Following the publication of the results yesterday, the CanWest chief executive Mr Leonard Asper told analysts the group's priority was debt reduction.

"We're continuing to actively pursue sales of non-strategic assets at appropriate prices, which should further improve our balance sheet," he said.

"International operations, in general, are not as core as Canadian operations." All assets were being constantly reviewed in the context of the debt-reduction process, he said.

CanWest is in the process of selling assets in Canada and New Zealand. Granada has expressed an interest in buying out CanWest's interest in TV3 but the stake has not been offered to it as yet, according to a Granada spokesman.