Canadian cablenet Cogeco plunged to a third quarter loss after the operator accepted a C$225.9 million (€164.09m) charge as it wrote off its investment in its Portuguese operation.

Cabovisão has been caught in the middle of a price war between Portugal Telecom’s Meo and fellow cablenet ZON Multimedia.

The write off of Cogeco’s net investment in Cabovisão was recorded as a non-cash impairment loss. It stems from the severe decline in Portugal’s economic environment, though arguably Cogeco’s problems began many years before the current economic crisis.

“For Cabovisão, this situation has translated into net customer losses and service downgrades by customers across all the services in the third quarter of fiscal 2011,” said Louis Audet, President and CEO of Cogeco Cable. “Management considers that this situation, as evidenced by the customer losses, is more significant and persistent than expected.”

Cogeco’s net loss of $182 million compared to an income of $31.2 million in the equivalent period of 2010.

Despite the lower margins involved, the number of RGUs held by Cabovisão increased to 842,525 at May 31, 2011 from 828,772 at August 31, 2010.