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People walk past the headquarters of Shaw Communications in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, April 13, 2011.


Shaw Communications Inc. reported a $248-million profit in its fiscal third quarter, a 22 per cent increase from the comparable period last year that beat analyst estimates.

The profit was equivalent to 53 cents per share, up from 45 cents a year earlier.

The improved profit was attributed to a number of factors, including improved costs and a favourable tax ruling this year and an unusual expense in the third quarter of 2011 that was absent.

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The cable, Internet and media company's total revenue was $1.28 -billion, about the same as a year earlier.

The consensus estimate compiled by Thomson Reuters was for Shaw to have revenue of $1.3-billion for the third quarter with adjusted earnings per share at 44 cents, or 42 cents EPS before adjustments.

Free cash flow, which is the amount of discretionary funds available after current debt obligations, was $203-million in the quarter — down from $240-million a year earlier.

Chief executive Brad Shaw said the company is on track to achieve its guidance of about $450-million in free cash flow for the full financial year ending Aug. 31.

"We remain focused on the long term profitability of our assets and will continue to implement cost savings, execute on operational efficiencies, and prudently manage our capital investments building value for all of our stakeholders," Shaw said in a statement.

Shaw Cable accounted for more than half of total revenue, at $794 -million, while revenue from direct-to-home satellite service added $211-million — both up marginally from the comparable periods last year.

Shaw Media's revenue was $295-million, down about 5 per cent from a year earlier.

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The Calgary-based company got into the media business when it acquired the former Canwest conventional television stations and specialty TV channels..

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