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Cogeco CEO says additional acquisitions on hold

File photo of Cogeco Cable Inc. president and CEO Louis Audet.

J.P. Moczulski/CP

Cogeco Inc. says it will focus on reducing debt and integrating the recent acquisitions of a U.S.-based cable company and a Canadian Internet infrastructure provider.

CEO Louis Audet says Cogeco has no further acquisition plans at this time.

The company's main subsidiary, Cogeco Cable Inc., purchased the Atlantic Broadband cable company last summer for $1.36-billion (U.S.), the first big acquisition for Canada's fourth-largest cable TV company since its failed venture into Portugal.

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Cogeco Cable followed that purchase with a friendly $526-million deal in December to buy Peer 1 Network Enterprises, a Canadian Internet infrastructure provider.

Mr. Audet also told a conference call on Tuesday that Cogeco will not participate in the federal government's next auction for wireless spectrum, radio waves over which cellphone networks operate.

But Mr. Audet said Cogeco is slowly rolling out a WiFi network for short-range wireless communication, to allow its customers to use their laptop computers on the go.

Unlike its chief rivals in the Ontario and Quebec cable markets – Toronto-based Rogers Communications Inc. and Quebecor Inc.'s Vidéotron Ltée – Cogeco hasn't built a conventional wireless network.

Calgary-based Shaw Communications Inc. has also adopted a WiFi wireless strategy, after ditching a plan to move into the cellular phone sector. Shaw is selling spectrum it acquired in a previous auction to Rogers as part of a series of transactions announced Monday.

Cogeco Cable also announced Monday that it had a net profit of $42.2-million (Canadian), or 86 cents per share, for the quarter ended Nov. 30, compared to a profit of $43-million, or 88 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company also revised its financial guidelines for fiscal 2013, saying profit for the year is expected to be $225-million – $35-million higher than projections it issued on Nov. 1 last year, largely due to its Atlantic Broadband acquisition.

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Revenue for fiscal 2013 is expected to reach $1.6-billion, an increase of $240-million when compared to the company's previous projections.

Parent company Cogeco Inc. recorded a profit of $47.1-million for the first quarter, compared with $47.9-million in the previous fiscal year.

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