Onex Posts Profit, Sees Distressed Deal Potential

TORONO (Reuters) – Canadian private-equity firm Onex Corp (OCX.TO) swung to a quarterly profit on Wednesday and said it is well positioned to move on deals for distressed and restructured assets created by the weak economy.

Onex said it earned C$83 million ($76.1 million), or 68 Canadian cents a share, in the three months ended June 30. That was up from a loss of C$18 million, or 14 Canadian cents a share, in the same period a year earlier.

During the quarter, Onex completed the sale of its investment in movie exhibitor Cineplex Galaxy Income Fund (CGX_u.TO) for net proceeds of about C$175 million, it said.

The Toronto-based company also bought a majority interest in the Tropicana Las Vegas Hotel and Casino with a total equity value of $137 million, it said.

“We expect that the present economic environment will create the greatest potential for value investors like Onex with experience in distressed-for-control investing, corporate carve-outs and restructurings,” Onex Chief Executive Gerald Schwartz said in a statement.

“With approximately C$670 million of cash and near-cash investments, no debt and $3.5 billion of uncalled third-party capital available, Onex is well positioned to act on these attractive opportunities.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Onex announced it had sold part of its stake in Emergency Medical Services Corp (EMS.N) for about six times what it paid for it four years ago.

Onex said it has sold about 3.5 million shares for net proceeds of about $137 million, including carried interest. [ID: nN12134334]

Revenue in the quarter dropped to C$6.13 billion from C$6.81 billion a year earlier, the company said.

As it has done before, Onex pointed out its results do not follow any specific trends “due to acquisitions and dispositions of businesses by Onex, the impact of foreign currency translation and varying business cycles at its operating companies.”

Onex released its results at the market close. Its shares rose 30 Canadian cents to close at C$22.01 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

($1=$1.09 Canadian) (Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Peter Galloway)