Pulitzer Profits Jump 15%

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(AP) Pulitzer Inc.’s fourth-quarter profit rose 15%, the company reported Tuesday, beating analyst’s expectations on increased advertising and circulation revenues.

The publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Arizona Daily Star of Tucson had net income of $14.3 million, or 66 cents per share, beating by 2 cents per share the expectations of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call. A year ago, Pulitzer’s fourth-quarter net income was $12.2 million, or 57 cents per share.

For the year, the media company earned $42.2 million, or $1.95 per share, compared to $34.7 million, or $1.62 per share, in the year-ago period.

“We enter 2004 with the momentum of a strong 2003 fourth quarter, propelled by a particularly strong December,” said Robert C. Woodworth, Pulitzer’s president and chief executive, in a statement.

Pulitzer said local retail revenues from advertising were up 19.2% in St. Louis and 10.2% in Tucson during the fourth quarter. The company also plans to announce a direct mail initiative shortly with two of the St. Louis area’s largest grocery chains, Woodworth said.

Pulitzer said it expects 2004 profits to keep pace with the company’s prediction of $2.10 per share. But it said it would be assessing startup costs associated with the new direct-mail enterprise in St. Louis as well as whether the economy will support advertising revenues like those seen in the fourth quarter.

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