Sinclair expects to top its cash, revenue forecast

September 25, 2002|By June Arney | June Arney,SUN STAFF

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. said yesterday that it expects to exceed its projections for net broadcast revenue and broadcast cash flow for the third quarter, which will end Monday.

Net broadcast revenue for the quarter is expected to increase 9.4 percent to 9.5 percent from last year's $148.6 million. An estimate issued Aug. 1 put the increase at 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent.

The forecast for broadcast cash flow has been revised to an increase of 18.5 percent to 18.8 percent from last year's $57.4 million. The earlier projection put the increase at between 11 percent and 13 percent for Hunt Valley-based Sinclair.

Broadcast revenue and broadcast cash flow are standard indicators of the performance of broadcast companies such as Sinclair.

"We have continued to see the quarter strengthen beyond our initial expectations, with momentum growing month to month through September," said David B. Amy, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Sinclair.

"Advertising revenues from the auto sector and heated political races are among the categories pacing stronger than expected. Local and national advertising revenues, on an ex-political basis in September, are also ahead of prior expectations."

Last month, Sinclair reported a $1.42 million loss for the second quarter. Analysts said then that Sinclair, like much of the television industry, was starting to see the impact of a rebound in advertising.

Sinclair expects its third-quarter improvements to boost its full-year results. The company will provide its fourth-quarter projections when it releases its third-quarter earnings Nov. 7.

Sinclair owns and operates, programs or provides sales services to 63 television stations in 40 markets. The television group includes Fox, WB, ABC, CBS, NBC and UPN affiliates reaching nearly 25 percent of U.S. television households.

Sinclair shares closed yesterday at $13.05, up 46 cents.

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