NY Times Co. Reports Earnings Decline

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By: E&P Staff

The New York Times Co. said Tuesday its fourth-quarter earnings fell 41% from the same period a year ago. This reflects, it said, charges for staff reductions and an accounting change.

It also said it would raise home delivery rates around the country by 4 percent effective Feb. 6, resulting in new revenues of up to $8 million this year. In the fourth quarter of 2005, revenues from circulation fell 2.3 percent. It last hiked rates in 2002.

The Times, which besides its flagship also publishes The Boston Globe and other daily papers, earned $64.8 million or 45 cents per share in the three months ending in December, compared to $110.2 million or 75 cents per share a year ago.

The earnings included a charge of 19 cents per share for staff reductions and an accounting charge of 4 cents per share. The earnings came in above guidance the Times gave in December, however, which the company attributes to stronger-than-expected growth of 8 percent in advertising at The New York Times for the quarter.

But ad revenues fell 3.8 percent at the Globe and other New England papers in the quarter, which the company attributes to sluggish demand for auto, home furnishing and other ad categories as well as consolidation of key advertisers.

Overall revenues rose 3 percent to $931 million in the quarter, or 1.1 percent if the acquisition of the online company About.com is excluded from results.

The Times said it expects advances in 2006 partly due to Olympics and election advertising, new products, cost management and continuing revenue gains online.

Shares of the Times rose 41 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $27.72 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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