NY Times Co. Reports Lower Earnings

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By: Seth Sutel, AP Business Writer

(AP) The New York Times Co. reported an 11% decline in net earnings for the first quarter Monday due to continued declines in advertising, but the company issued an upbeat outlook for the rest of the year.

Net income was $54.5 million or 35 cents per share for the three months ending in March, compared with $61.3 million or 37 cents per share reported in the same period a year ago.

Adjusting for an accounting change and special charges and gains, which include a $9.6 million expense in the first quarter of 2002 for work force reductions (mainly at The Boston Globe), the company reported a 15% decline in earnings to $59.6 million versus $69.8 million in the year-ago period.

On the same basis, earnings per share were 39 cents in the most recent period compared with 43 cents a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call had expected 37 cents per share.

Total revenues fell 5% in the first quarter to $737.1 million from $778.2 million in the same period a year ago.

The company’s shares were up $1.32 at $48.22 in morning trading Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Russell T. Lewis, the company’s president and chief executive, said in a statement that the first-quarter results reflected a recovering economy, cost controls, and higher revenues from circulation. “While these factors were not yet sufficient to overcome a recovering, but still weak, advertising environment, we are encouraged by the current trend,” Lewis said. “As we look out toward the balance of the year, we are optimistic about the outlook for the national economy in general and the advertising market in particular.”

The Times Co. reported that advertising revenues in its newspaper group fell 11.2% to $448.7 million, continuing a recent trend. But circulation revenues grew 9% to $201.3 million due to higher subscription prices at the Times and The Boston Globe and also to increased volume.

Total costs at the company fell 4% due to lower expenses for compensation and promotion and also to lower costs for newsprint. The Times Co.’s average cost per ton of newsprint fell 18% and its consumption fell 2% due to lower advertising volume.

In addition to its flagship newspaper and The Boston Globe, The New York Times Co. also publishes 16 other newspapers and owns eight network-affiliated television stations and two radio stations in New York.

On the Net: www.nytco.com

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