Univision sustains big earnings hit

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Univision reported a 24% drop in pre-tax earnings (EBITDA) to $47.8 million for the first quarter, on a 7% revenue gain to $194.9 million.

The company said the drop in EBITDA was attributable to an $11.9 million charge related to program write-offs and severance packages for layoffs. The company said second quarter television revenues would climb between 1% and 4% and between 7% and 10% for the full year, although that assumes a "modestly improving economic climate in the second half of the year."

Univision said its on-line division would post a loss of at least $30 million for the full year. A second TV network, set to launch in January of 2002 on stations being acquired from USA Networks Inc., will incur $5 million in start-up costs this year, the company said. - Steve McClellan

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