Journal Communications Swings to Profit

 Company rebounds from $335 million write-down in 2008
Publish date:
Social count:
 Company rebounds from $335 million write-down in 2008

MILWAUKEE: Shares of Journal Communications posted a 13 percent gain today as the company swung to a fourth-quarter profit on lower revenues. Journal (NYSE: JRN) had 4Q09 consolidated net earnings of $7.2 million on revenues of $112.2 million, down 16 percent from 4Q08. However, a $335.3 million write-down--much of it on broadcast licenses--in the earlier quarter drove Journal to a net loss of nearly $223 million.

Journal shares reached around $3.60 in mid-day trading, though other players in the sector such as Belo, Gannett and Gray also posted more modest gains on market volatility attributed to instability in Greece.

Journal’s 13 TV stations posted operating earnings of $3.7 million compared to an operating loss of nearly $52 million for 4Q08. Revenue from television stations for the fourth quarter decreased 15.2 percent to $28.3 million compared to $33.4 million. Political revenue was $1.4 million compared to $6.1 million. Operating earnings were $3.7 million compared to an operating loss of $51.9 million the year before, again, on the write-downs. Broadcast TV license impairment for 4Q09 was $1.15 million compared to nearly $56.9 million in 4Q08. Retransmission revenues was $1 million, compared to $500,000 the year before.

Full-year TV station revenues fell 19.3 percent to $105.4 million. Political revenue was $2.3 million compared to $11.6 million. Operating loss was $9.7 million compared to an operating loss of $60.8 million in 2008. Adjusted operating earning were $6.3 million compared to $17.2 million.

4Q09 broadcasting revenue, comprising the TV stations and 33 radio stations, decreased 13 percent to $46.1 million; operating earnings were $8.1 million compared to a loss of $310.4 million the year before. Local advertising revenues fell 5.4 percent; national was down 3.8 percent.

For the full year of 2009, broadcasting revenue decreased 18.3 percent to $171.5 million. Local revenue fell 13.4 percent; national was down 23.6 percent. Retrans for the year was $4.4 million versus $1.6 million in 2008. Operating loss was $130,000 compared to $332.7 million for 2008. Excluding one-time charges, operating earnings would have been $18.1 million, compared to $36.1 million the year before.

Cash and equivalents as of Dec. 27, 2009 was $3.37 million; long-term bank loans totaled $151.4 million; current portion of long-term liabilities was $483,000.

“In a year where revenue has been challenged, we closed 2009 with our strongest quarter,” said Steven J. Smith, chairman and CEO of Journal. “We reduced debt by more than $20 million in the quarter and $63 million for the year, enhancing our financial flexibility. As we move into the first quarter of 2010, we expect revenue comparisons to continue to improve, helped by Olympic and political advertising.”

In addition to TV and radio, Journal owns several newspapers, including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal.

November 4, 2009: Journal Broadcast Group’s CFO to Retire

October 20, 2009
: Journal TV Station Revenues Fall 24 Percent

July 27, 2009: “Gamco Buys More Stock in Journal

July 21, 2009
: Journal 2Q Broadcast Revenues Drop 18 Percent

April 3, 2009: “Journal Communications Imposes Pay Cut

April 1, 2009: “LIN Posts $830 Million Loss on $1 Billion Charge

March 4, 2009: “Journal Posts 4Q Loss on Write-down

July 2, 2008: “Journal Communications Agrees to Pony $8 Million for KNIN-TV