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Corus Entertainment forecasts recovery despite weaker results in first quarter

TORONTO — Corus Entertainment Inc. expects to post a recovery later in 2021 after beating analyst expectations in the first quarter despite lower profits and revenues.

"Our team is making meaningful progress on the disciplined execution of our strategic plan, which is designed to get us to consolidated revenue growth year-over-year-over-year," CEO Doug Murphy said Tuesday in a conference call.

"We kicked off our new fiscal year with a stronger-than-anticipated quarter."

The media company said it earned $76.7 million in net income attributable to shareholders or 37 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Nov. 30.

The result compared with a profit of $78.1 million or 37 cents per diluted share in the same quarter a year earlier.

Revenue for the three-month period totalled $420.4 million, down 10 per cent from $467.9 million. But that was ahead of company forecasts and the fourth quarter, said chief financial officer John Gossling.

Television segment revenues decreased nine per cent while radio revenues plunged about 25 per cent due to pandemic-related restrictions on businesses in local markets.

On an adjusted basis, Corus says it earned 38 cents per share, the same as the same quarter last year.

Corus was expected to earn 31 cents per share in adjusted profit on $417.3 million in revenues, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.

It received $25 million from the federal wage subsidy.

The company expects that the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine is "the only thing that will get our economy back on track."

"We are well-positioned to meet the needs of all our partners and stakeholders as we start down this road to recovery," Murphy told analysts.

The pandemic resulted in a delay in the debuts of many of its television shows because of a production hiatus across North America.

However, the result should be increased audiences flowing from a stronger programming lineup in the winter months.

Corus owns 33 specialty television services, 39 radio stations and 15 conventional television stations as well as other assets.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 12, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CJR.B)

The Canadian Press