Azteca reports higher revenue

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MEXICO CITY -- Azteca Holdings, through which TV Azteca Chairman and CEO Ricardo Salinas Pliego owns 64.5% of the broadcaster's stock, reported a 15% increase in net revenue for the first quarter.

Revenue rose 15%, to $114 million from $99 million, a year ago, while earnings before interest, taxes, and depreciation increased 11% to $66 million from $59 million.

However, Azteca Holdings reported a net loss of $8 million versus net income of $42 million in the first quarter of 1997.

Azteca Holdings attributed the decline in its net performance to a substantial increase in its financing costs and the fact that it began paying income tax in 1998. Net financing cost rose primarily because of a substantial monetary exchange loss. Interest expense rose due to a June 1997 issue of $255 million in publicly-traded bonds.

For the first quarter, it paid $11 million in income tax, versus none a year ago, and the company noted it had depleted its tax-loss carryforwards as of Jan. 1, 1998. Azteca Holding controls TV Azteca, the No. 2 broadcaster in Mexico, along with the some other assets.

Salinas Pliego has spoken of his interest in combining his various investments in television, retail and telecom to create a giant holding company which he would take public.

Copyright June 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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