Journal Register 1Q Earnings Tumble

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Local newspaper company Journal Register Co. said Thursday its first-quarter earnings tumbled 77 percent, as revenue edged down and a write-off related to a loan refinancing hurt results.

Earnings fell to $1.8 million, or 4 cents per share, down from $7.5 million, 18 cents per share, last year. Revenue fell 2 percent to $129.6 million from $132.5 million.

The company in the first quarter took a charge for deferred debt issuance costs related to the refinancing of its credit agreement in January. Excluding the write-off, Journal Register said it would have earned 13 cents per share, just ahead of the analyst consensus estimate of 12 cents per share.

Analysts were looking for revenue of $131.7 million, according to Thomson Financial.

“We are pleased to report solid financial results during the first quarter in light of the impact the automotive industry has had on the local economies in our Michigan and Greater Cleveland clusters,” Chief Executive Robert Jelenic said in a statement.

The company’s lower revenue includes a 2 percent decline in both advertising and circulation revenue in the quarter. Quarterly ad revenue included a 3.7 percent decline in local advertising, 0.5 percent decline in classified advertising and 1.3 percent decline in national advertising.

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