Washington Post Co. Earnings Lower

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(AP) The Washington Post Co. reported lower net earnings for its first quarter compared to the same period a year ago, when it had a gain from the sale of cable systems.

The first-quarter earnings reported Friday beat Wall Street expectations, thanks to what the company said was significant growth at its cable and education divisions.

The parent company of The Washington Post and Newsweek reported net income of $23.7 million, or $2.44 a share. That includes a $6.1 million charge for an early retirement program at Newsweek, and a gain of $3.8 million on the sale of securities.

Excluding those effects, income was $26 million, or $2.68 a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call were looking for $2.26 a share. The company’s shares were up $1.39 at $632.50 on the New York Stock Exchange.

A year earlier, net income was $199 million, or $20.90 a share. Those figures included gains of $189.5 million on the sale and exchange of cable systems, plus a $12.2 million charge on amortization of goodwill and purchased intangibles. Excluding those items, the first quarter 2001 income was $21.8 million, or $2.24 a share.

The company’s education division — which includes the Kaplan test preparation service and SCORE! tutoring service — reported a 21% jump in revenue in the first quarter. The cable division saw revenue climb 14%.

Revenue was off 10% at the magazine division and 8% in the newspaper publishing division. Advertising revenue fell 15% at Newsweek and 14% at The Washington Post.

The company’s broadcast television division reported a 2% increase in revenue.

On the Net: http://www.washpostco.com

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