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Belo Expects 4Q to Beat Street

NEW YORK: Belo fourth-quarter revenues won’t drop as much as analysts predict, the company’s chief executive said this week at the USB Global Media & Communications Conference in New York. Dunia Shive, president and chief executive officer of the Dallas media company said 4Q revenues will be down in the mid-teens, rather than the 21 percent predicted by Thomson Reuters analysts.

“Spot revenues excluding political are currently pacing down in the low-single digits, a significant improvement from the 16 percent decline in the third quarter of 2009, with the month of December pacing up from a year ago,” Shive said. “The automotive category is currently pacing down around 10 percent, an improvement from third quarter’s 36 percent decline. We expect total revenue to be down in the mid-teens as the company cycles against $35.9 million of political revenue in the fourth quarter of 2008.

“This percentage decline will be less than the decline in the third quarter, and is an improvement from previous guidance. We expect fourth quarter combined station and corporate operating costs to be down in the mid-teens and interest expense for the fourth quarter to be around $18 million.”

She said full-year operating costs across the broadcast company are expected to be down 13 percent. Belo cut jobs, froze wages and suspended the company dividend for the year.

As for 2010, Shive said the Olympics and a strong political season should contribute to a growth in revenues.

“Keep in mind that we will have approximately $6.8 million in non-cash expense reductions in 2010 related to the previously disclosed frequency relocation project compared to $2.6 million in 2009,” she said. “Capital expenditures for 2010 are expected to be approximately $15 million.”

More on Belo:
November 16, 2009:Belo Completes $275 Million Offering

November 12, 2009: “Belo Offers $275 Million at 8 Percent”

November 3, 2009: “Belo Revenues Decline 18 Percent”

August 3, 2009: “Belo Reports 2Q in Line with Industry”

April 30, 2009: “Belo Reports Net Income on Bond Retirement“

March 20, 2009: “Belo Declares 2Q Dividend, Suspends the Rest“