Times Mirror's results strong except in newspaper publishing

November 06, 1992|By David Conn | David Conn,Staff Writer

Times Mirror Co., whose top executives were in Baltimore yesterday for a talk with security analysts, had good news to report for all of its business segments except its largest one -- newspaper publishing.

The publisher of the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and New York Newsday, the Hartford Courant and the Baltimore Sun and Evening Sun, last month reported net income of $43.8 million, or 34 cents a share, in the quarter that ended Sept. 30, a 7 percent increase over earnings of $41.0 million, or 32 cents a share, in the 1991 third quarter.

"The strong financial performance in the third quarter of all business segments except newspaper publishing was sufficient to offset the earnings decline in our newspaper operations," Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert F. Erburu told members of the Baltimore Security Analysts Society at the downtown Hyatt Regency Hotel.

He said Times Mirror has been working for a decade to reduce its dependence on newspaper advertising revenues. That accounts for the strong contribution from the company's other segments, including book and magazine publishing, where operating profits rose 15 percent; cable television, which saw 38 percent higher profits; and broadcast television, where profits rose 69 percent. Mr. Erburu warned analysts not to expect a repeat performance in some of those areas in the fourth quarter.

At the Los Angeles-based company's nine newspapers, operating profits were down almost 25 percent in the latest quarter, to $17.7 million. The newspaper division, which accounts for half of all revenues, contributed about 18 percent of the company's operating profits. Much of the decline came from the flagship paper, the Los Angeles Times.

Results were slightly better at Times Mirror's East Coast papers, according to Richard T. Schlosberg III, group vice president for -- newspapers. "For the first time in over three years all of our [East Coast] newspapers had positive operating growth. This, combined with the very aggressive cost reduction program in the last few years, has resulted in improved operating income."

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