(By Balaseshan) Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB) (NASDAQ: VIA) reported a 12.8% increase in quarterly earnings as 17% revenue drop was substantially offset by lower expenses. Despite revenue missing consensus, adjusted earnings exceeded Street's expectations.
Earnings from continuing operations for the fourth quarter were $643 million or $1.24 per share, higher than last year's $576 million or $1.00 per share. Adjusted earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations rose to $1.21 from $1.06.
Revenue plunged 17% to $3.36 billion, due to lower Filmed Entertainment revenues.
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Analysts, on average, polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a profit of $1.17 per share on revenue of $3.42 billion for the fourth quarter.
Media Networks revenues were flat at $2.29 billion, principally reflecting increased affiliate fees offset by lower advertising and ancillary revenues. Domestic affiliate revenues increased 12%, driven by rate increases and higher digital revenues.
Worldwide affiliate revenues increased 11%. Domestic advertising revenues declined 6% and worldwide advertising revenues decreased 7%.
Filmed Entertainment revenues plunged 39% to $1.09 billion, principally due to the number and mix of theatrical and home entertainment titles released in the quarter, and reflecting difficult comparisons with the significant impact of Transformers: Dark of the Moon in the fourth quarter of 2011.
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For the quarter ended September 30, 2012, Viacom repurchased 14.2 million shares under its stock repurchase program, for an aggregate purchase price of $700 million. As of November 14, 2012, Viacom had $4.420 billion remaining in its $10 billion stock repurchase program.
At September 30, 2012, total debt outstanding, including capital lease obligations, rose to $8.15 billion from $7.37 billion last year. The company's cash balances decreased to $848 million at September 30, 2012 from $1.02 billion in the previous year.
"Paramount also continued to achieve solid margin growth in the fourth quarter and full year, and has an exciting pipeline in place with eight films in the first fiscal quarter, including Jack Reacher, DreamWorks Animation's Rise of the Guardians and the recently released Flight," said Philippe Dauman, Chief Executive of Viacom.
VIAB closed Wednesday's regular session down 1.70% at $47.99, while VIA ended down 1.54% at $48.71.