Tribune Co. earnings rise 57% in second quarter

Advertising declines ease while costs are reduced

July 19, 2002|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

Tribune Co., publisher of The Sun, posted a 57 percent jump in second-quarter earnings on lower costs and said third-quarter and 2002 profit will be at the high end of analysts' estimates.

Net income rose to $114.2 million, or 33 cents a share, from $72.6 million, or 21 cents, a year earlier, the company said in a statement yesterday.

Sales rose to $1.38 billion from $1.37 billion.

Tribune said advertising declines have eased, with ad revenue showing a gain in the last month of the quarter. The company also benefited from lower expenses after it eliminated jobs and newsprint and ink prices declined.

Tribune is expected by analysts, on average, to earn 34 cents a share in the third quarter, with estimates ranging from 30 cents to 35 cents, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

The full-year forecast was for profit of $1.59, with estimates ranging from $1.50 to $1.65, according to First Call.

Second-quarter results include a pretax loss of $99 million, or 19 cents a share, for the decline in value of the company's investment in AOL Time Warner Inc. and a related trading instrument.

Excluding the investment loss, Tribune said, it had second-quarter profit of 52 cents a share. On that basis, the average estimate of analysts polled by First Call was for profit of 46 cents a share.

In June, advertising revenue rose 7 percent at Tribune television stations, 1 percent at its newspapers, which also include The Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, and 37 percent at its interactive business, the company said.

Tribune shares rose $2.02, or 5.2 percent, to $40.56 on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday.

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