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Onex chairman and chief executive officer Gerald Schwartz speaks at the company's annual general meeting in Toronto on Thursday, May 10, 2012.

Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Private equity firm Onex Corp. (TSX:OCX) is boosting its dividend 33 per cent, while reporting a first-quarter net profit of $99-million, up from a net loss of $271-million in the same quarter last year.

Toronto-based Onex says it's increasing its quarterly dividend to five cents, up from 3.75 cents.

Onex says its improved net earnings reflect such factors as better operating results at a number of businesses.

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Revenues were up three per cent to $6.5-billion from $6.325-billion year-over-year.

Onex narrowed its loss to 36 cents per share from a loss $2.71 in earnings per share year-over-year. The company had a loss of adjusted earnings per share of 60 cents, compared with a loss of $2.98 per share in the same quarter of 2013.

"We're off to a great start in 2014," chairman and CEO Gerry Schwartz said in a news release on Friday.

"In addition to completing a very successful fundraise, we've been active sellers. This year, we will have returned a record $4.3-billion to our investors from transactions we've closed and announced to date."

A report in the Wall Street Journal last month said that Cineplex has partnered with Onex to submit an offer for restaurant and arcade chain Dave and Buster's, valued at US$1-billion. Movie exhibitor Cineplex Inc. (TSX:CGX) said this week it sees a future in arcade games as it looks for ways to boost revenues beyond movie theatres.

In early April, Onex and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board signed a deal to sell Gates Corp. for US$5.4-billion to private equity firm Blackstone. Gates is a division of Tomkins, which Onex and CPPIB jointly acquired in 2010.

Onex says it has roughly $21-billion of assets under management, including approximately $6-billion of Onex capital, in private equity, credit securities and real estate.

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It has stakes in such companies as electronics manufacturer Celestica, customer care services company Sitel and insurance provider, The Warranty Group.

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