Journal Communications' Earnings Surge

By: (AP) Journal Communications Inc. reported Friday that its first quarter net earnings increased 10.9%, including a $4.8 million after-tax gain from discontinued operations related to the sale of its NorthStar Print Group.

The company, which publishes the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and owns and operates seven television stations and 38 radio stations, reported earnings of $17.4 million for the three months ending March 27, compared with $15.7 million in the same period last year.

Net earnings per share increased to 23 cents from 20 cents.

Revenues rose 1.3% to $181.4 million from $179.1 million.

But earnings from continuing operations fell 16.7% to $12.6 million during the first quarter compared with $15.1 million in the same period of 2004.

Journal Communications said the sale of the printing group helped tighten its management.

"We were challenged in the first quarter of 2005 as advertising was soft across our publishing and television segments, including tougher comparisons due to an off-cycle year in political and issue advertising," said Steven J. Smith, the firm's chairman and chief executive officer.

However, he said the company had increased revenue from classified advertising in the Journal Sentinel and on Journal Interactive, as well as significant growth in radio markets.

Journal Communications, which also operates more than 90 community newspapers and shoppers and includes a telecommunications segment, said it now anticipates revenue of between $190 million and $195 million in the second quarter and net earnings of between $15 million and $18 million.


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