Pulitzer Earnings Jump 63%

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(AP) Pulitzer Inc.’s second-quarter earnings rose 63% on retail ad revenue growth and effective cost controls, the St. Louis-based newspaper company reported Tuesday.

Pulitzer earned $11.4 million, or 53 cents per diluted share, in the period ending June 30, compared with earnings of $7 million, or 32 cents per diluted share, in the same quarter a year ago.

Operating revenue rose 3% to $107.1 million from $104 million.

For the first six months of the year, Pulitzer earned $18.5 million, or 86 cents per diluted share, up from $13.8 million, or 64 cents per diluted share, in the first six months of 2002. Operating revenue for the first six months increased 0.6% to $205.3 million from $204 million.

“To a significant extent, our revenue gains reflect our persistent focus on growing our share of ad revenue by expanding our audience reach in each of our markets and effectively marketing that reach to advertisers,” chief executive Robert C. Woodworth said.

A 7% second-quarter increase in retail advertising revenue, including a 36.3% increase in national revenue, more than offset a 6.6% decline in classified advertising. Help-wanted ad revenue was down 13.2%; automotive advertising revenue declined 8.2%.

Overall, ad revenue increased 3.6%.

Woodworth said Pulitzer expects to meet its December 2002 guidance for full-year 2003 base earnings of at least $1.95 per diluted share.

“But we are facing a stubbornly uncertain advertising market, and achieving that base earnings level will require maintaining our tight focus on cost control,” he said.

Pulitzer operates two major dailies — the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. It also operates 12 other daily newspapers, related new media activities, and owns the Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis, a group of 37 weekly papers and niche publications.

Pulitzer shares were down 6 cents to $47.89 on the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday morning.

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