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AOL-Time Warner saw earnings rise for the first quarter, with its number of Net users growing by 16 per cent.

The media and Net monster, seemingly unaware that the dotcom economy was in the grips of a downturn, reported cash earnings per share of 23 cents, excluding charges, for the quarter ended March 31, 2001.

This compared to the 19 cents per share pro forma figure the previous year.

After expenses, including the merger-related costs for the two companies and other charges, the giant posted a net loss of $1.4 billion, or 31 cents per share, slightly less than the net loss of $1.5 billion, or 34 cents per share, a year earlier.

Sales grew nine per cent to $9.1 billion.

The company said overall revenue from Net subscriptions grew nine per cent to $3.9 billion, advertising and commerce revenues increased ten per cent to $2.1 billion, and content and other revenues reached $3.2 billion.

Total subscriptions grew 16 per cent to more than 133 million, with AOL adding two million users during the quarter (bringing its worldwide customer total to 28.8 million). Sales at the ISP for the quarter grew 17 per cent to $2.1 billion, with the average US AOL user spending 70 minutes online per day, compared to 64 minutes a year ago. ®

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