Time Warner CFO Wayne Pace told UBS media conference attendees that pretax operating income "will accelerate" in 2004 for every division except the film division, which is having a strong 2003, he said, and will be hard-pressed to sustain similar growth next year. The company’s America Online division will post "double-digit" growth in pretax profit next year.
Pace also said Time Warner is nearly a year ahead of schedule in achieving its goal of reducing debt to $20 billion by the end of 2004. By year-end 2003, net debt will be $20.5 billion, he said. A year ago, it stood at $30 billion. Much of the reduction has been achieved through the sale of assets, including the recent $2.6 billion sale of Warner Music to a group led by Seagram scion Edgar Bronfman Jr. Earlier, Time Warner sold its 50% in Comedy Central to Viacom for $1.23 billion.
Pace also told attendees that Time Warner will meet previous guidance for full year 2003 of mid-single-digit growth in revenues and operating profits.