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Discovery Profits Lower Despite Growth at U.S. Networks

Investments in solar power cut into profits at Discovery Communications, whose U.S. networks increased operating income by 6% in the first quarter.

Net income fell 18% to $215 million, or 37 cents a share, from $263 million, or 42 cents a share a year ago, because of the timing of the company’s investment in solar power and a $34 million debt extinguishment charge, the company said.

Revenues rose 4% to $1.613 billion.

The results were below Wall Street expectations.

Operating income for Discovery’s U.S. networks rose 6% to $501 million.

Revenues rose 3% to $829 million. Distribution revenue was up 5% to $408 million. Ad revenue rose 1% to $405 million. The company said ad revenues were helped by sales attached to its Go apps but hurt by the transaction creating the Group Nine digital unit.

Operating income for Discovery’s international networks rose 7% to $194 million, as revenues rose 5% to $747 million.

“Improved ratings across many of Discovery’s key distinctive programs and brands, coupled with strong global distribution growth, led to solid organic growth in the first quarter,” said CEO David Zaslav. “Beyond our linear business, we continue to focus on new strategic partnerships and investments to help drive our multiplatform growth strategy and ensure that we reach our global superfans on every screen.”