NY Times Co. Profits Up 4%, But Ad Growth Slows

By: Seth Sutel, AP Business Writer

(AP) The New York Times Co. reported a 4% increase in second-quarter profits Wednesday on higher advertising revenues, especially help-wanted ads.

But the pace of ad growth slowed in the quarter, and the company lowered its estimates for full-year growth in ad revenues. The company also said it expected lower growth of expenses during the year and left its guidance for full-year earnings per share unchanged.

The company, which also publishes The Boston Globe, the International Herald Tribune and several regional newspapers, earned $75.7 million, or 50 cents per share, in the three months ending in June, up from $72.8 million, or 47 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

The results were in line with analysts’ estimates, according to Thomson First Call.

Revenues rose 3% to $823.9 million from $801.9 million a year ago. Advertising revenues in the company’s newspaper group rose 2%, largely because of higher rates, and circulation revenues were approximately the same as last year.

Russell T. Lewis, the company’s CEO, said in a statement that while advertising revenues rose in the period, the pace of growth slowed during the quarter, a trend that continued into July. In response, the company cut back on costs and will continue to do so throughout the year.

The Times now expects ad revenues to grow in the low to mid-single digits for the year, down from its previous estimate of mid-single digit growth. With expense growth also expected to be lower, the company still expects to report earnings per share growth in the low to mid-single digit range over the $1.98 it reported in 2003.

The company’s shares were off $1.03 at $43.02 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

For the first six months of the year, the company earned $134.1 million, down 5% from $141.7 million in the same period a year earlier, while per-share earnings declined to 88 cents per share from 92 cents per share.

Six-month revenues rose 3% to $1.63 billion from $1.59 billion.

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