Cogeco posts lower Q4 earnings on higher revenue

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Growing competition is cramping the bottom line at Cogeco, as the cable and broadcast player posted lower fourth quarter earnings, despite increased revenue.

Montreal-based Cogeco on Thursday posted earnings of $12.3 million, down 16% from a profit of $14.6 million in 2009, on overall revenue up 5.5% to $333.6 million.

The media group continues to be weighed down by its Portugal cable operations, even as it adds to its Canadian cable, high speed Internet access and telephony customer base.

During the latest quarter, Cogeco added 17,472 digital TV customers, compared to 9,674 customers recruited during the same period of 2009.

Cogeco CEO Louis Audet during an analyst call resisted questions about possible mergers and acquisitions for his company after rivals have done deals, including Rogers Communications buying Atria Networks to bolster its fibre optic network and data services and Group Videotron launching a wireless phone division.

Bell Canada is also encroaching on Cogeco’s main markets in Ontario and Quebec with its own triple-play phone, TV and internet access services.

“We have focused on doing well in what is an increasingly competitive market. We recognize that,” Audet told analysts.

“There have been changes, we recognize that, and we’re conducting ourselves accordingly,” he added.