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Profit at Univision Climbs 62%

From Bloomberg News

Univision Communications Inc., the largest U.S. Spanish-language television broadcaster, said on Thursday that fourth-quarter profit rose 62% as an increase in viewers helped boost advertising sales.

Net income climbed to $58.9 million, or 17 cents a share, from $36.4 million, or 14 cents, a year earlier. Sales rose 44% to $408.1 million, helped by the Los Angeles-based company’s newly acquired radio business.

Chief Executive Jerrold Perenchio is building an audience as he competes with English-language networks for ad dollars. Prime-time viewers of Univision’s broadcast TV networks rose 10%. Spanish-language radio and TV attract fewer than half the top 300 U.S. advertisers, Guzman & Co. analyst David Joyce said.

“It highlights that Spanish-language broadcasting is the growth sector in broadcasting,” Joyce said. He rates Univision’s shares “outperform” and said he didn’t own them.

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Univision said it expected earnings this quarter to rise to as much as 9 cents a share from 5 cents a year earlier.

The latest quarter includes results from Hispanic Broadcasting Corp., the largest U.S. Spanish-language radio broadcaster, which Univision bought in September for $3.2 billion. Radio revenue, nonexistent a year earlier, was $76.2 million in the recent quarter, accounting for almost a fifth of Univision’s total sales.

Sales from Univision’s three television networks increased 12% to $295 million.

Shares of Univision fell 29 cents to $36.34 on the New York Stock Exchange. They have gained 51% over the last 12 months.

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The company was expected to report fourth-quarter net income of $55.8 million, or 16 cents a share, on sales of $406.4 million, the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.


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