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Seagram Narrows Loss

October 21, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ Seagram Co. today reported a narrower loss for its first fiscal quarter than Wall Street had expected, reflecting growth its music and beverage business. Seagram’s Universal movie studio remained in a slump.

Not counting a one-time gain from the sale of its concert operations and an accounting charge, Seagram had a loss of $95 million on continuing operations, or 22 cents a share, less than the loss of 32 cents per share expected by analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial.

In the comparable period a year ago, Seagram earned $95 million, or 27 cents per share. The figures do not include a one-time gain from Seagram’s sale of its Tropicana business.

When one-time items are included, Seagram had a net loss of $124 million, or 29 cents per share in the latest quarter, compared to $1.16 billion, or $3.35 per share, a year ago.

Seagram’s stock, which rose $4.50 Wednesday after the company said it was moving up its earnings announcement by two weeks, rose another 43 3/4 cents to $41.93 3/4 in afternoon trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Revenues for the quarter rose to $3.64 billion from $2.25 billion a year ago, mainly reflecting the company’s acquisition of the Polygram music business.

Overall cash flow, a measure widely used by financial analysts, declined 13 percent as a loss from its movie studio offset strength in the company’s other operations, which include music, spirits and theme parks.

Seagram’s movie business posted a loss of $38 million due to several box office flops, including ``Mystery Men,″ ``Dudley Do Right″ and ``For the Love of the Game.″

Seagram’s music operations fared much better. Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, posted a 12 percent increase in cash flow, despite a 7 percent decline in revenues, thanks to hit albums from Shania Twain, Limp Bizkit and others.

In addition to its media properties, the Montreal-based company also produces a wide line of spirits and wines, including Absolut vodka and Captain Morgan rum.

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