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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Onex Corp. posts Q1 net profit on higher revenues and boosts dividend

TORONTO - Private equity firm Onex Corp. (TSX:OCX) is boosting its dividend 33 per cent, while reporting a first-quarter net profit of $99 million, up from a net loss of $271 million in the same quarter last year.

Toronto-based Onex says it's increasing its quarterly dividend to five cents, up from 3.75 cents.

Onex says its improved net earnings reflect such factors as better operating results at a number of businesses.

Revenues were up three per cent to $6.5 billion from $6.325 billion year-over-year.

Onex narrowed its loss to 36 cents per share from a loss $2.71 in earnings per share year-over-year. The company had a loss of adjusted earnings per share of 60 cents, compared with a loss of $2.98 per share in the same quarter of 2013.

"We're off to a great start in 2014," chairman and CEO Gerry Schwartz said in a news release on Friday.

"In addition to completing a very successful fundraise, we've been active sellers. This year, we will have returned a record $4.3 billion to our investors from transactions we've closed and announced to date."

A report in the Wall Street Journal last month said that Cineplex has partnered with Onex to submit an offer for restaurant and arcade chain Dave and Buster's, valued at US$1 billion. Movie exhibitor Cineplex Inc. (TSX:CGX) said this week it sees a future in arcade games as it looks for ways to boost revenues beyond movie theatres.

In early April, Onex and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board signed a deal to sell Gates Corp. for US$5.4 billion to private equity firm Blackstone. Gates is a division of Tomkins, which Onex and CPPIB jointly acquired in 2010.

Onex says it has roughly $21 billion of assets under management, including approximately $6 billion of Onex capital, in private equity, credit securities and real estate.

It has stakes in such companies as electronics manufacturer Celestica, customer care services company Sitel and insurance provider, The Warranty Group.

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