Lee Posts Higher 1Q Profit

By: (AP) Newspaper publisher Lee Enterprises Inc.'s profit climbed 10% in the latest quarter, as a revenue rise outpaced higher expenses.

The Davenport-based company today reported net income of $27 million, or 60 cents a share, for the fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 31. That's up from the previous year's $24.5 million, or 55 cents a share.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had forecast, on average, earnings of 60 cents a share.

Total operating revenue climbed 6.4% to $184.1 million from $173 million.

Lee Enterprises operates 44 daily newspapers nationwide, including the Wisconsin State Journal, the North County Times in California, and the Lincoln Journal Star in Nebraska.

Total advertising revenue rose 8.4% to $139.8 million, led by advances in national advertising and online advertising revenue. Retail advertising, the company's largest revenue stream, rose 5.1% to $83.3 million. Only automotive advertising revenue slipped.

Excluding the effect of acquisitions, advertising revenue rose 5.8% and total revenue increased 4.4%.

First-quarter operating expenses, excluding depreciation and amortization, rose 6.2% to $129.7 million.

Shares of Lee Enterprises fell 24 cents, or 0.5%, to $43.71 in early trading Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.


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