Tribune Co., which has been fielding offers for its newspaper and broadcasting operations, reported this morning that its fourth-quarter profit surged 81%, benefiting from multiple gains and higher revenue. TV cash flow rises 12% on 10% revenue gain in quarter.
CHICAGO (AP) — Tribune Co., which has been fielding offers for its newspaper and broadcasting operations, said Thursday its fourth-quarter profit surged 81 percent, benefiting from multiple gains and higher revenue.
Net income after paying preferred dividends jumped to $239.1 million, or 99 cents per share, from $132.3 million, or 43 cents per share, during the same period a year ago.
The 2006 quarter included charges of 3 cents a share for job cuts and to shut down its Los Angeles Times San Fernando Valley printing facility, as well as gains totaling 31 cents a share on the sale of Tribune’s corporate airplane, its phones segment and related Time Warner investment, as well as on the sale of the company’s investment in BrassRing.
Tribune also saw a $33 million favorable income tax expense adjustment, mainly due to reaching an agreement with the Internal Revenue Service’s appeals office on the deduction of interest expense on its phones segment.
Excluding items, the company earned 68 cents per share in the latest period. Analysts were expecting a profit of 61 cents per share, according to Thomson Financial. Those estimates typically exclude one-time items.
Quarterly revenue grew 5.4 percent to $1.47 billion from $1.39 billion in the previous year, beating Wall Street’s estimate of $1.43 billion.
The company’s newspaper or publishing division saw operating revenues rise 4 percent to $1.1 billion and operating profit increase 30 percent to $225 million. While classified ad revenue was flat for the quarter, advertising revenues as a whole rose 4 percent.
Broadcasting and entertainment’s operating revenue gained 11 percent to $356 million.
“Key factors were improved results in broadcasting, strong interactive revenue growth, and excellent expense control throughout the company,” Chairman and CEO Dennis FitzSimons said in a statement.
He did not comment on the status of the company’s ongoing review process. Tribune executives were expected to be asked about the situation by analysts on a conference call Thursday morning.
For the full year, Tribune earned $587.7 million, or $2.14 a share, up from $522.3 million, or $1.67 a share, a year ago. Revenue for the year rose to $5.52 billion from $5.51 billion.
Tribune owns 11 newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, along with 23 television stations and the Chicago Cubs baseball team.