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MEXICO CITY, April 23 (Reuters) - Mexican broadcaster Televisa, the world’s biggest provider of Spanish-language TV content, on Thursday reported a 70 percent increase in its first-quarter net profit, reflecting a one-time payment from Univision.
The company reported a net profit of 1.453 billion pesos ($95.2 million), up from 853.9 million pesos in the same quarter a year earlier.
Televisa said the rise was mainly due to a contract termination fee of $67.6 million from U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster Univision, in which Televisa owns equity and convertible debt equivalent to around a 38 percent stake.
The company reported a 17.3 percent rise in sales, to 19.859 billion pesos, mostly due to strong growth in its cable and telecommunications business. That unit, which earned 6.7 billion pesos in the first quarter, now represents 34 percent of total sales, compared with 27 percent during the same quarter last year.
At the end of the quarter, Televisa had 7.9 million revenue generating units, including video, data, and voice subscribers.
The company’s satellite pay-television business Sky had 6.76 million subscribers at the end of March, and its sales rose 10 percent.
In the past week, Televisa has nominated the chief executives of Discovery Communications Inc, Liberty Global PLC and Lionsgate to be members of its board.
UBS analysts said in a note on Thursday that the new additions would bring experience useful for a potential public share offering of Univision. It could go public within the next 12 to18 months.
The company controls more than 60 percent of free-to-air TV in Mexico, though it faces tough new measures stemming from a telecoms reform that seeks to drive competition in the sector.
The new rules mostly affected its broadcasting and licensing business, where sales rose 5.7 percent in the quarter to 7 billion pesos.
In March, a unit of Mexican telecoms regulator IFT said it had initially found Televisa has substantial power in the country’s pay-TV market, a finding that could lead to stricter regulations.
In the two years after a sweeping telecoms reform, the only telecoms service which showed a price increase was Pay TV, according to IFT statistics released in March. Meanwhile, cell phone and fixed-line service prices have fallen.
Shares in Televisa were up 0.19 percent at 109.20 pesos per share before the company reported its results. ($1 = 15.2610 pesos-end of March) (Reporting by Tomas Sarmiento, Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein, and Christine Murray; Editing by Alan Crosby and Leslie Adler)