Sinclair posts loss but higher revenue

Acquisition strategy credited for growth in first quarter

April 28, 1999|By Mark Ribbing | Mark Ribbing,SUN STAFF

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. reported an increase in first-quarter revenue and cash flow yesterday, with the boosts due mainly to the company's aggressive acquisition strategy.

Baltimore-based Sinclair, a major holder of Fox television stations and other radio and TV properties nationwide, said it suffered a net loss of $1.6 million, or 4 cents per diluted share, in the quarter that ended March 31. This loss was in line with analysts' expectations.

In the same period last year, Sinclair had a net loss of $3.3 million, or 7 cents per diluted share.

"Growth factors during the quarter, such as the Super Bowl on Fox [and] strong results from our radio division were partially offset by a continued soft national advertising environment," Sinclair Chief Financial Officer David B. Amy said in a statement.

Sinclair had $189.8 million in revenue during the quarter, up 53.3 percent from the $123.8 million it took in during the same period of 1998.

Broadcast cash flow, an important industry benchmark, was also significantly higher: $75.2 million on the quarter, 49.4 percent higher than the $50.4 million Sinclair tallied at the beginning of last year.

Sinclair said the revenue and cash flow increases stemmed primarily from acquisitions completed in the second half of 1998, including the purchases of Sullivan Broadcast Holdings Inc. and Max Media Properties LLC.

Sinclair has since tried to sell some of the radio and television stations it picked up in the course of its acquisitions.

The company said its divestitures and terminated deals have amounted to $165.7 million since the beginning of this year, a total that will be applied against the company's debt.

Pub Date: 4/28/99

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