Sinclair Broadcast turns profit in first quarter

May 05, 2010|By Lorraine Mirabella, The Baltimore Sun

Hunt Valley-based Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. reported a first-quarter profit Wednesday, a turnaround from a first-quarter loss in 2009, as sales of television advertising improved.

Sinclair, owner or programmer of 58 TV stations including Fox 45 in Baltimore, said it earned net income of $11.5 million, or 14 cents per share, in the three months that ended March 31. The broadcaster had posted a loss of $85.7 million, or $1.06 per share, in the first three months of 2009, largely due to an after-tax, $100.8 million write down of the value of goodwill and other intangible assets. Earnings beat analysts' estimates of 10 cents per share.

Total revenue, most of which comes from station broadcast revenue, rose 9.6 percent in the fourth quarter to $169.6 million from $154.7 million in the same period a year earlier, Sinclair said. The company said eight of the top 10 advertising categories rose in the quarter, including schools, medical, grocery, home products and automotive, the biggest category, which jumped more than 35 percent.

Improvements in consumer confidence and corporate profits are expected to help boost broadcast revenues in the current quarter, the company said.

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