Journal Communications Earnings Drop 36% On Falling Revenue

By: E&P Staff

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel publisher Journal Communications Inc. reported Tuesday that its second-quarter profits dropped 36% to $9 million, or 16 cents a share from $14.2 million, or 21 cents a share a year ago.

Journal Communications said its revenue for the quarter fell 5% to $140.1 million, from 4147.5 million in the year-ago period.

Revenue from the Journal Sentinel and its 45 other community papers fell 8.5% to $61.8 million, largely on weakness across all advertising categories, the company said.

Interactive advertising revenue at the daily newspaper increased 11.4% to $3.7 million.

Operating earnings from publishing plunged 44.0% to $5.7 million compared to $10.2 million in the year-ago period that included a $900,000 gain on the sale of property. Excluding the gain, publishing operating expenses are down 3.6%.

“The economy continued to impact advertising revenues at Journal Communications during the second quarter,” Chairman and CEO Steven J. Smith said in a statement. “While television revenue grew in markets like Palm Springs, Omaha, Boise and Lansing and radio revenue grew in Omaha, our larger growth markets continued to experience subdued advertiser spending. Publishing revenue remained soft overall, although our hyper-local community newspapers surrounding Milwaukee grew revenue in the quarter.”

Earlier this month, Journal Sentinel announced a plan to reduce its workforce by an additional 10%, which Smith said will result in a charge of between $3.8 and $4.0 million, most of which will be recorded in the third quarter.

He said he expected cost savings for the remainder of the year to be between $1.4 and $1.6 million, with full year net savings expected to be between $5.6 and $6.0 million.

Journal Communications said in its second quarter it repurchased approximately 1.8 million shares of class A stock, for a total repurchase year-to-date of 5.9 million shares.

In early morning trading Tuesday, Journal Communications (NYSE: JRN) was at $4.94, up 21 cents, or 4.44%.

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