Sinclair Broadcast sees boost in second-quarter profits

Sales of television advertising continue to improve, Hunt Valley-based company says

August 04, 2010|By Lorraine Mirabella, The Baltimore Sun

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., the Hunt Valley-based TV station owner, reported Wednesday that its second-quarter profit jumped nearly sixfold as political candidates and car dealerships ramped up television advertising.

The broadcaster said profit rose to $17.3 million, or 21 cents a share, up from $2.8 million, or 4 cents a share, during the second quarter a year ago. Net broadcast revenue from continuing operations rose more than 19 percent in the latest quarter, to $158.7 million from $133 million in the corresponding period a year earlier.

"Broadcast television advertising continues to grow, an indicator that the economy is showing signs of recovery," David Smith, Sinclair's chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Smith said the broadcaster, owner and operator of 58 U.S. television stations, showed gains in the second quarter in nearly all advertising categories, with the biggest increase in automotive advertising, which rose 46 percent year over year.

Political advertising so far this year is ahead of the first six months of 2006, which is the last time advertising sales were not affected by a presidential race, Smith said. Political advertising rose in the second quarter to $3.8 million compared with $700,000 in the second quarter of 2009.

Other advertising categories where spending increased included trade schools, media, medical and furniture. But advertising sales fell in the paid-programming and fast-food categories, the company reported.

David Amy, chief financial officer, said the company expected less growth in sales from its regular advertisers in the second half of the year as many of them would be pushed out of the advertising space by political candidates and issue groups spending more on campaigns.

In a separate announcement, the company said a subsidiary planned to refinance and amend the terms of its bank credit facility to increase loan capacity.

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