Gannett posts
better-than-expected results

Associated Press

NEW YORK >> Gannett Co. Inc. reported fourth-quarter earnings slightly ahead of expectations today, helped by strong results in its broadcast operations and improvement in its newspaper divisions.

For the three months ending Dec. 29, the media company reported earnings of $347.0 million, or $1.29 per share, compared with $248.4 million, or 93 cents per share, at the same time a year ago. The results were a penny higher than what analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had predicted.

Gannett, which owns The Honolulu Advertiser in Hawaii and the Pacific Daily News on Guam, indicated it is seeing gradual improvement in its business, but remains cautious. The company said first-quarter earnings should be between 94 cents and 96 cents per share -- a figure in line with many analysts' estimates.

"We expect the economy to continue to grow this year barring external factors but there is obviously uncertainty surrounding geopolitical events and that uncertainty is not good for the markets ... nor is it good for our advertising customers," said chairman, president and chief executive Douglas H. McCorkindale.

McCorkindale said a U.S. war against Iraq should have little effect on the company as long as the conflict is short and successful. But he noted that some national advertisers are holding back on late February/early March commitments until the trajectory for military action becomes more clear.

Revenues for the quarter were $1.73 billion, up 7 percent from $1.61 billion a year ago.

TV revenues rose 27 percent to $228.8 million in the fourth quarter, helped by record political advertising.

Fourth-quarter advertising revenues in the company's newspaper publishing division were also higher, rising nearly 5 percent to $1.50 billion. The company said advertising trends appeared to be stabilizing. At USA Today, the company's flagship publication, quarterly advertising revenues rose 2 percent, the first year-over-year increase since the fourth quarter of 2000. For the year, though, ad revenues at USA Today fell 6 percent to $314 million.

E-mail to Business Editor


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --