Box-office successes boost Time Warner: Growth continues as USWest, Coca-Cola, Chase Manhattan and Nationsbank register rise in profits

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The Independent Online
TIME WARNER'S publishing, music, film and programming divisions each reported record second-quarter revenues - although cable television profits were down as a result of companies being forced by the government to cut rates.

Earnings before interest and taxes were dollars 748m, up from dollars 711m, on revenues of dollars 3.7bn compared with dollars 3.4bn a year earlier. Time Warner is still burdened by financial charges from its 1990 merger, and interest payments led to a net loss of dollars 20m compared with a dollars 80m loss last year.

The better-than-expected operating results were helped by the success of the film Maverick, which has taken took dollars 89m at the box office, and by strong worldwide video sales of The Fugitive.

USWest, the regional Baby Bell telephone company which has a 25 per cent stake in Time Warner Entertainment as part of its strategy to move into cable and interactive businesses, made a profit of dollars 317m from continuing operations, an increase of 8.9 per cent, and recorded an extraordinary gain of dollars 58m from the sale of some of its paging businesses.

USWest's British operation - it has a cable television and telephone joint venture with Tele- communications - performed well. Telewest increased its cable TV subscribers by 61 per cent to 252,000 and the number of telephone lines it serves by 80 per cent to 182,000. In 10 months to June the number of subscribers to USWest's Mercury One-2-One mobile phones reached 100,000.

Coca-Cola also reported net income of dollars 758m for its second quarter, an increase of 12 per cent over the same period last year. Case volume grew by 7 per cent for the second quarter and the company is forecasting a robust second half, due in part to the success of its current advertising campaigns and the reintroduction of the old-fashioned bottle in glass and plastic.

Two banks produced results ahead of analysts' expectations. Second-quarter net income at Chase Manhattan stood at dollars 307m, against last year's dollars 233m.

Chase said that as a result of the 'generally unsettled conditions of the global markets' total trading income fell to dollars 151m for the second quarter, compared with dollars 187m last year. Net interest rose to dollars 924m from dollars 902m.

Nationsbank registered a 43 per cent rise in second-quarter earnings to dollars 437m, which reflected internal earnings growth momentum and the effect of several acquisitions as the North Carolina bank continued its aggressive growth strategy.

(Photograph omitted)

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