McClatchy at Mid-Year Says It is Holding Steady

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(AP) McClatchy Co., publisher of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Sacramento Bee, on Wednesday placed its quarterly outlook and forecast year-end earnings at or just below the average Wall Street forecast.

The media firm forecast 2005 earnings of $3.45 to $3.55 per share, a range that just meets analysts’ average estimate of $3.55 per share as provided by a Thomson Financial survey. In 2004, McClatchy earned $3.33 per share, or $3.38 after excluding a debt refinancing charge.

The company said the growth will come from an increase in advertising revenue in the second half of the year and continued cost controls. McClatchy predicted ad revenue will grow by a percentage in the mid-single digits for the last six months of 2005, a slightly better rate than the first five months.

“While some may be concerned about the fundamentals of our business, McClatchy has a proven strategy that has enabled us to successfully manage through various economic cycles,” Chairman and Chief Executive Gary Pruitt said in a statement. He said the company is continuing to expand the size of its audience.

For the second quarter, McClatchy said it continues to expect a profit of 92 cents to 94 cents per share. Analysts currently expect earnings to fall in the middle of this range at 93 cents per share.

McClatchy earned 86 cents per share in the second quarter of 2004, or 90 cents excluding a debt refinancing charge.

The company publishes 12 daily and 17 non-daily papers, along with operating Web sites and providing direct mail services.

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