McClatchy Profits Fall 34%

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(AP) Newspaper publisher McClatchy Co.’s quarterly profits dropped 34% to $14.2 million as declining advertising revenues fell further following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Net income for the period ending Sept. 30 was 31 cents per share, down from last year’s third quarter earnings of $21.6 million or 48 cents per share, the company reported Tuesday. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call had predicted 28 cents per share.

Revenues dropped 5.5% to $263.8 million from $279.2 million.

“Earnings, already suffering from the year-long weakness in advertising, experienced new pressure in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11,” chief executive Gary Pruitt said in a statement. “We believe we lost about $2 million in advertising revenues in the week immediately following the attacks.”

Advertising revenues were $212.3 million, down 6.5% from last year. Circulation revenues dropped 1.2% to $42.2 million.

Newsprint costs dropped to $40.8 million, down from $41.3 million a year ago. Among other cost-saving measures, McClatchy has reduced the width of The Sacramento Bee‘s pages to save newsprint.

McClatchy earnings for the first nine months of 2001 were $37.1 million, or 81 cents per share, compared to earnings of $62.2 million, or $1.38 per share, in 2000.

The company now expects fourth quarter earnings between 34 and 37 cents a share, down from 59 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2000. Analysts had been expecting 42 cents per share.

McClatchy is headquartered in Sacramento and publishes 11 daily and 13 non-daily newspapers in California, Minnesota, the Carolinas, and the Pacific Northwest. It also owns and operates Nando Media, an Internet publishing unit, and an advertising insert distributor.

Its newspapers include The Fresno Bee, The Modesto Bee, The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash., and the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska.

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