Belo Expects 1Q Earnings


(AP) Belo said Tuesday it would earn 10 cents to 12 cents per share in the first quarter, as it benefitted from Olympic advertising and cost-cutting moves.

The owner of The Dallas Morning News said 2 cents of the per-share earnings would come from last month’s sale of its minority stake in the Dallas Mavericks and the basketball team’s arena.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call had expected the company to earn 8 cents per share. The analysts’ forecasts generally exclude one-time gains such as the Mavericks sale.

The company said revenue from its television stations would be flat in the first quarter while newspaper revenue would fall 6% from a year ago — 8% after excluding the extra Sunday in this year’s first quarter. Sunday newspapers are ad-heavy.

Belo said classified employment advertising was lagging but other categories were doing better at the Morning News. Chief financial officer Dunia Shive said Belo benefited from advertising for the Winter Olympics in February, and should get a boost from political advertising during this election year.

Salary costs should decline 1% to 2% for the year and newsprint costs will decline about 16%, Shive said. The newsprint savings will be offset by increases for benefits and for bonuses, which were not paid last year, Shive said.

Belo owns four daily newspapers and 18 television stations.

Belo shares were downgraded Tuesday by Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, which also reduced its rating on several other newspaper stocks.

In trading Tuesday, Belo shares fell 9 cents to $22.09. The stock has gained more than 40% since early October.

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