WMG Posts 1Q Loss

Warner Music Group Corp. posted a $17 million loss for its fiscal first quarter on Tuesday, still struggling with muted consumer spending in the U.S. and declining compact disc sales.

Overall revenue was up, but only because of the effect of foreign currency swings. Digital revenue grew, helped largely by overseas growth.

Warner said its biggest sellers during the quarter were Michael Buble, Enya and Muse, along with the soundtrack albums from movies including “The Twilight Saga: New Moon.”

The record company’s net loss amounted to 11 cents per share for the three months ended in December. That compares with a profit of $23 million, or 15 cents per share, a year ago, when Warner had a gain of 24 cents per share on the sale of Front Line Management, a talent agency, to Ticketmaster.

Revenue rose 3 percent to $918 million from $887 million a year ago. Excluding changes in currency values, revenue fell 2 percent, which the company said reflected weakness in the U.S., Japan and parts of Europe. Sales were stronger in the U.K., France and Italy.

On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a larger loss of 14 cents per share on lower sales of $872 million. The earnings estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Warner’s digital sales, which now make up about 20 percent of the company’s revenue, climbed 8 percent year-over-year to $184 million.