Wash. Post Co. Profits Jump 40%

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(AP) Newspaper publisher Washington Post Co. said Friday that second-quarter profits rose about 40%, aided by strong revenue growth at its Kaplan education division.

Quarterly earnings increased to $84.9 million, or $8.82 per share, for the three months ended in June. That compared with $60.6 million, or $6.32 per share, from the same period last year, which includes an early retirement charge of 14 cents a share at the flagship newspaper.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had predicted the company would earn $8.32 per share in the latest quarter.

Revenue in the quarter rose 16% to $818.4 million, from $706.9 million in 2003, paced by a 41% increase at the company’s Kaplan education segment. Revenue at the company’s cable, broadcast and newspaper publishing divisions also increased during the second quarter, while revenues were down slightly at the magazine publishing division.

Kaplan reported operating income for the second quarter of $29.4 million, compared to $3.5 million in the second quarter of 2003. About a quarter of the increase is from acquired businesses — primarily in the higher education division and the professional training schools that are part of supplemental education.

Newspaper publishing division revenue increased 5% to $234 million from $223.1 million a year ago, while print advertising at The Washington Post newspaper rose 1% to $150 million.

In May, the company announced the acquisition of El Tiempo Latino, a leading Spanish-language weekly newspaper in the Washington area published every Friday. It has an ABC-audited weekly free circulation of 34,000.

Washington Post stock rose $33.46 a share, or about 4%, to $879.96 in midday trading.

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