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Walt Disney Q1 Profit Tops Wall Street View

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Media and entertainment giant Walt Disney Co. (DIS), Tuesday reported 78 percent surge in profit for the first quarter, thanks largely to a hefty tax gain and 13 percent growth in park business revenues. Earnings for the quarter trumped Wall Street estimates, but revenues fell short of expectations.

Burbank, California-based Disney's first-quarter profit surged to $4.42 billion or $2.91 per share from $2.48 billion or $1.56 per share last year. Earnings for the quarter included a $1.6 billion one-time tax benefit associated with new U.S. federal income tax legislation.

Excluding special items, earnings for the quarter rose to $1.89 per share from $1.55 per share last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters estimated earnings of $1.61 per share.

Revenues for the quarter increased 4 percent to $15.35 billion from $14.78 billion last year. Analysts had a consensus revenue estimate of $15.45 billion.

"The strategic investments we've made have driven meaningful growth over the long term, and we remain confident in our ability to continue to deliver significant shareholder value," said CEO Robert Iger. "We're excited about what lies ahead, with a robust film slate, the launch of our ESPN direct-to-consumer business, new investments in our theme parks, and our pending acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox."

In December, Disney agreed to buy assets of Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox for about $52.4 billion.

Last year, Disney also announced its plans to launch a Disney-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service in 2019. The entertainment giant also announced that it will end its distribution agreement with Netflix for subscription streaming of new releases, beginning with 2019.

Media networks segment's revenues were flat at $6.24 billion, while parks and resorts units increased 13 percent to $5.15 billion. Studio entertainment revenues declined 1 percent to $2.50 billion and consumer products & interactive media division revenues decreased 2 percent to $1.45 billion.

DIS closed Tuesday's trading at $106.17, up $1.47 or 1.40%, on the NYSE. The stock further gained $1.21 or 1.14% in the after-hours trade.

by RTT Staff Writer

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