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INL and Sky ahead in first quarter

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Friday 12th October 2001

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Media company Independent Newspapers (NZSE: INL) and pay-TV operator Sky (NZSE: SKY) are reporting a positive start to the new financial year.

INL chief and Sky chairman, Tom Mockridge, commented on the performances since balance date on Friday while at the same time confirming that INL will be offsetting tax payments from Sky's losses.

"First quarter advertising revenues in INL's publishing operations are ahead of the same period for the prior year, and Sky's first quarter revenues are ahead of expectation," he says.

The company said Friday it will go ahead with plans to offset INL profits with Sky losses following consideration of the issues by Sky's independent directors, who represent the interests of minority shareholders.

INL had indicated to its shareholders earlier this year that a tax loss offset agreement with Sky would be sought.

INL is the majority owner of Sky and recorded a profit of $26.1 million for the year ended June against Sky's loss of $42.3 million.

Sky this week revealed it will be televising All Blacks' games from upcoming visits to Ireland, Scotland and Argentina in conjunction with rival TelstraSaturn.

TelstraSaturn paid $3 million for the rights to the games and then tried to sell them but the compromise was reached after Sky reportedly paid the bargain price of $500,000 to share the coverage.

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