MTV owner Viacom Inc.’s profits nearly tripled in the fourth quarter following the addition of the DreamWorks studio last year, which swung its movie business to a profit.
NEW YORK (AP) — MTV owner Viacom Inc.’s profits nearly tripled in the fourth quarter following the addition of the DreamWorks studio last year, which swung its movie business to a profit.
Viacom, which also owns BET, VH1 and several other cable channels, said Thursday it earned $480.8 million, or 69 cents per share, in the October-December period versus $129.5 million, or 17 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.
Viacom also reported a lower tax bill and had accounting adjustments to its year-ago figures following its split-off from CBS Corp.
On a comparable basis, Viacom’s operating income increased 28 percent to $855.6 million from $669.6 million a year earlier. Those figures, which also exclude a tax benefit and restructuring charges, worked out to 65 cents per share.
Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting 58 cents per share. Those estimates typically exclude one-time items.
The improvement was largely due to its movie business, which earned $86.3 million in the quarter versus a loss in the year-ago period of $39.6 million.
Viacom’s cable networks business, which makes up the lion’s share of its operations, reported a 6 percent gain in profits to $809.9 million from $761.7 million a year ago.
Overall company revenues rose 32 percent to $3.59 billion from $2.72 billion as it added the DreamWorks studio to its movie operations, which include the Paramount film studio.
Viacom also said it would take about $70 million in charges in 2007 as it restructures its MTV division, largely in severance charges, with about $50 million being recorded in the first quarter of this year.
Viacom split up from CBS Corp. at the beginning of 2006 and became a separate company.
A lower tax bill contributed to the improved results. Viacom’s paid $208.2 million in taxes in the fourth quarter, down from $265.6 million in the same period a year ago.
For the full year, Viacom reported earnings of $1.59 billion, or $2.22 per share, versus $1.26 billion, or $1.67 per share, in 2005. Full-year revenues rose 19 percent to $11.47 billion from $9.6 billion.
Viacom’s Class B shares tumbled $1.78, or 4.6 percent, to $37.26 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange where the Dow Jones industrials briefly lost 200 points in early trading.