Belo Logs Record Growth

DALLAS: Pure-play TV broadcaster Belo rose out of red ink for the third quarter compared to last year. The company reported net earnings of $42.1 million on revenues of $163.9 million this morning for the quarter ending Sept. 30. 2010. Belo lost $217.8 million on revenues of $140.6 million during 3Q09, when it took an impairment charge of $242.1 million. Earnings per share came in at 13 cents compared to an EPS loss of $1.47 a year ago.

“Belo’s total revenue grew 17 percent in the third quarter of 2010 making it the best quarter of the year in terms of year-over-year revenue growth,” said Belo chief Dunia A. Shive. “The strong revenue performance was due primarily to continued recovery in our core spot advertising business and $11.2 million in political revenue.”

Core spot revenue, sans political, increased 10 percent. Total spot, including political, was up 17.5 percent. Automotive led, up 30 percent from last year. Political boosted revenues by $11.2 million, compared to $2.1 million a year ago. Financial services, telecommunications, retail and travel also pegged double-digit increase. Web site revenue increased 23 percent to $9 million. Retransmission revenue totaled $11.8 million.

Belo closed the third quarter with cash and equivalents of $11.8 million compared to $4.8 million as of Dec. 31, 2009. Long-term debt was $949 million compared to more than $1 billion at the end of last year.

Belo shares (NYSE: BLC) jumped this morning from $6.12 to $6.29 as the markets opened. The stock is up 15 percent year-to-date.
-- Deborah D. McAdams