Canadian group suffers from writedown


The shrinking value of radio stations in the US is mirrored north of the border, where #1 group Astral Media suffered from a noncash C$317.5M impairment charge to bring the value of its portfolio in line with new realities. It is a move well-known to Astral’s counterparts here in the US.

In terms of revenue, its quarterly total was down a bit, to C$219.4M from C$229.9M a year earlier. Analysts were expecting it to pull in C$221M.

The writedown caused a precipitous change in the profit situation. In Q3 2008, Astral brought in C$38.9M. This time, is lost C$273.6M, a whopping C$4.87 per share loss.

According to Reuters, Astral became Canada’s biggest radio group in 2007 after acquiring Standard Radio. It is said to be in the running for the assets of faltering Canwest Global Communications.

RBR-TVBR observation: You get a great big glass of water, pop the massive impairment pill into your mouth, gulp it down, and proceed with business on a more realistic footing. Canadian stock buyers seemed to approve of Astral’s results, rewarding it with a six cents per share gain to C$32.24 on the Toronto Stock Exchange after results were released.