Tribune 1Q Profit Up as Revenue Edges Lower

By: (AP) Media and entertainment company Tribune Co., which publishes the Chicago Tribune, Long Island's Newsday, and the Los Angeles Times, on Friday said first-quarter earnings rose as revenue edged lower, hurt by drops in circulation and broadcast revenue.

Quarterly income attributable to common shareholders rose to $140.8 million, or 44 cents a share, in the January-March period from $118.6 million, or 35 cents a share, last year. Those figures are after required preferred dividend payments in both periods.

Excluding a tax gain of $9 million, or 3 cents a share, the company would have reported earnings of 41 cents a share. Last year's figures include a charge of $16 million, or 5 cents a share, for a loss from marking to market the company's phones derivatives and related Time Warner Inc. investment. Excluding the charge, earnings for the year-ago period would have been 40 cents a share.

Revenue fell 1% to $1.32 billion from $1.33 billion last year.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected Tribune to earn 41 cents a share on sales of $1.34 billion in the latest quarter.

"Our results in the first quarter were in line with our expectations," said Dennis FitzSimons, Tribune chairman, president, and chief executive, in a statement. "Newspaper advertising revenue growth was solid in January and February, although March was negatively impacted by the timing of the Easter holiday. In television, our results reflected overall industry softness and the impact of Local People Meters in our major markets."

First-quarter publishing revenue was $1 billion, flat with the year-ago. Excluding Newsday, operating revenue would have risen 2%. Operating profit in the segment rose 5% to $199 million. Advertising revenue and retail advertising revenue both rose 2% in the quarter, and classified ad revenue was up 3%. Circulation revenue fell 9%, hurt by volume declines at the company's newspapers, and national advertising was down 1%.

Broadcasting and entertainment revenue fell 6% to $310 million, with operating profit at the segment down 31% to $67 million. First-quarter radio and entertainment revenue declined 10% to $20.1 million, while television revenue fell 5% to $290.1 million.

Tribune's shares fell 9 cents to $38.91 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here