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Improved South American Results Raise AES's Profit

Friday, May 6, 2005; Page E02

Global power company AES Corp. said yesterday that its first-quarter profit nearly tripled thanks to a big jump in revenue and profit in its South American businesses.

The Arlington company said it earned $133 million (20 cents a share), up from $48 million (8 cents) in the comparable 2004 period. Revenue was up 17 percent, to $2.65 billion from $2.26 billion. Excluding currency gains from a weak dollar, revenue would have grown 14 percent, AES said.

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Geographically, AES's biggest gains were in South America, its largest segment, accounting for 45 percent of the company's total revenue. Quarterly revenue in South America was up 36 percent, to $1.19 billion, from $879 million in the year-ago quarter. Operating profit in the region was up 107 percent, from $92 million to $190 million.

The company also announced a reorganization of its executive team, including the addition of four new regional presidents that AES says will allow it to better pursue growth opportunities around the world.

The new regional presidents would assume responsibility for the company's four geographic segments -- North America, Latin America, Asia and a segment including Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

AES shares fell 30 cents to close at $15.78 on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares have traded from $7.78 to $18.13 in the past year.

Radio One Inc. reported an 10 percent increase in first-quarter profit, which rose to $9.7 million (7 cents) from $8.8 million (4 cents) in the comparable 2004 period.

The Lanham urban radio company said revenue increased 10.5 percent, to $77 million from $69.7 million. The results were driven by increased demand from advertisers, who are more optimistic about the national economy, company officials said in a conference call yesterday.

Radio One had been weathering tighter ad budgets but saw increased demand from advertisers in March and raised ad prices, bolstering its revenue, company officials said.

During the quarter, Radio One also completed its acquisition of Reach Media Inc., a Dallas company formerly owned by urban radio personality Tom Joyner, and built Web sites for about 60 of its 69 radio stations.

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