AOL Time Warner Emerges From the Red

24 April 2003

Despite its historic creative accounting travails, AOL Time Warner is “on a good track to deliver on our full-year expectations,” ceo Richard Parsons told analysts Wednesday, as the world’s largest media group moved out of the red with a Q1 net profit of $396 million (€359.30m; £248.69m), or 9 cents a share.

Excluding a once only $54 billion write-down, the quarter compares year-on-year with an $8 million loss last time. Revenue rose 6% to $10 billion.

“Finally, they didn't mess up,” graciously opined analyst John Tinker at Blaylock & Partners. “The message was: 'We’re back on track, but let's not get ahead of ourselves’.”

Parsons remained zip-lipped about the accounting investigations currently being conducted by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, save to warn that this might further postpone the group’s plan to spin-off its 10.9-million subscriber cable business.

Still on the subscriber front, group albatross America Online continues to cause concern with 289,000 US subscribers deserting the listing ship during the quarter. However, 26.2 million remained aboard – a lesser number than many analysts expected.

Data sourced from: USA Today; additional content by WARC staff