Knight Ridder Income Edges Higher

By: The Associated Press

(AP) Knight Ridder, the nation’s second-largest newspaper publisher, reported slightly higher net income for the second quarter Wednesday as advertising revenues edged up.

Knight Ridder earned $77.2 million, or 95 cents a share, in the three-month period ending June 29, above the 93 cent estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

In the same period a year ago, Knight Ridder earned $76.8 million or 90 cents a share.

Revenues edged up 0.9% to $721.6 million from $715.1 million a year ago.

In a prepared statement, Knight Ridder CEO Tony Ridder attributed the higher earnings to “consistently strong results” in general advertising and cost controls.

But Ridder also said that “a lackluster quarter for retail and ongoing softness in help-wanted advertising reflects the sluggish nature of the overall economy.” Ridder said he expected a pattern of small revenue increases to continue.

Overall advertising revenues rose 0.9% to $561.4 million in the quarter, from $556.4 million in the same period a year ago.

Retail advertising was up 1.2%, general advertising rose 20.8%, and classified advertising was down 6.2%. Help-wanted advertising revenues were off 23%.

For the first six months of the year, Knight Ridder reported net income of $127.9 million or $1.56 a share, compared with $104.3 million or $1.50 a share in the corresponding period a year earlier. Six-month revenues were $1.40 billion compared with $1.39 billion.

Looking forward to the third quarter, Ridder said he would be comfortable with Wall Street’s earnings estimate of 88 cents per share if the company shows a “slight revenue improvement” over the first half of the year.

Based in San Jose, Calif., Knight Ridder is the No. 2 publisher of newspapers in the United States after Gannett Co. Inc. It publishes 31 daily newspapers, including The Miami Herald, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and San Jose Mercury News.

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