Valassis 1Q Profit Declines

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Valassis Communications Inc., one of the country’s leading producers of newspaper inserts, said Tuesday its first-quarter profit fell 36.1 percent on weakness in its promotional media business and a stock option expense.

First-quarter earnings dropped to $18.1 million, or 38 cents per share, from $28.2 million, or 55 cents per share, in the year-ago period. The year-ago results excluded a stock option expense of $8.3 million. With that expense taken into account, year-ago earnings were $26.4 million, or 51 cents per share.

Quarterly revenue slipped 11.3 percent to $247.6 million from $279.3 million last year on lower sales in the company’s promotional media business. Market delivered run of press revenues, which come from the brokering of advertising space on behalf of newspapers, fell 32.6 percent to $20.3 million.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting 41 cents per share on sales of $273.6 million, on average.

The company reiterated its full-year earnings-per-share guidance of $1.95 to $2.15 after expensing stock options, and a second-quarter earnings target range of 49 cents per share to 55 cents per share. Analysts are looking for full-year earnings of $2.04 per share and second-quarter earnings of 52 cents per share.

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