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MENAFN - AFP - 01/11/2012

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(MENAFN - AFP) British pay-TV giant BSkyB said on Thursday that net profits fell in its first quarter after an exceptional loss offset a rise in revenues and customers thanks to the Olympics and other British sporting success.

Profit after tax fell by 2.6 percent to 219 million (354 million, 274 million euros) in the three months to September 30 compared with the outcome in the first quarter of its 2011/12 financial year.

BSkyB said its net profit included an exceptional loss of 3.0 million relating to the "re-measurement" of certain financial instruments.

Group revenue meanwhile rose 4.0 percent to 1.715 billion in the first quarter.

"We have made a strong start to the year, delivering another good quarterly performance and continuing to position the business for the long term," BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch said in the group's earnings statement.

"Looking forward, whilst we continue to see a challenging consumer environment in the UK and Ireland, we are well positioned to execute our plans for the year."

BSkyB shares rallied 4.23 percent to stand at 739 pence in late morning deals on London's benchmark FTSE 100 index, which was up 0.54 percent at 5,813.55 points.

BSkyB broadcasts the 24-hour Sky News channel, live sport including the English Premier League football and blockbuster movies and also provides broadband Internet and telephone services.

"With the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games falling in the (first) quarter, we focused attention on providing a differentiated offering for our customers (...) In total, over 14 million people watched the dedicated (Sky Olympics) channel."

It added: "It was a strong September for Sky Sports. We achieved record audiences for tennis, with Andy Murray's US Open Tennis victory attracting 4.5 million viewers.

"We also had a spectacular response to our coverage of the Ryder Cup, reaching 4.8 million viewers."

BSkyB has 10.65 million paying customers after signing up a net 533,000 clients in the three months to the end of September, it added on Thursday.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation abandoned a bid in 2011 to win full control of BSkyB in the wake of a phone-hacking scandal which forced it to shut British tabloid newspaper News of the World.

News Corp. had bid 7.8 billion for the 60.9 percent of BSkyB it did not already own. BSkyB had rejected the 700-pence-per-share offer even before the bid collapsed.


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