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Liberman Loss Widens on Impairment

BURBANK, CALIF.: LBI Media, parent company of Estrella TV, finished 2009 with about half the average revenue decline for the sector. LBI 2009 revenues were $102.9 million, down 11.5 percent from 2008. The sector decline was around 20 to 25 percent. Its net loss widened, however, from $87.3 million in 2008 to $107.3 million for 2009.

“This change was primarily attributable to the $34.8 million increase in broadcast license impairment charges partially offset by a $13.1 million increase in income tax benefit,” LBI said.

LBI wrote off $126.5 million on broadcast licenses in 2009, compared to $91.7 million in 2008.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, 2009, net revenues were down 1 percent to $25.9 million. LBI posted a profit of $218,000 for the quarter compared to a net loss of $49.4 million in 4Q08, when it took a $45 million impairment on broadcast licenses.

TV revenues were down 13 percent for the year but up 10 percent in the fourth quarter to $11.7 million.

“Our television segment returned to revenue growth during the fourth quarter as our stations in Los Angeles, Houston and Dallas recorded improved results,” said Lenard Liberman, LBI president and CEO. “EstrellaTV, our national television network, continues to post very positive results…. As we add to our affiliates in key Hispanic markets and improve our distribution platform, we expect our ratings to improve.”

LBI has 21 radio stations and seven owned-and-operated TV stations, as well as 21 Estrella TV affiliates. The company finished 2009 with $178,000 in cash and equivalents and around $1.7 million in long-term debt. – Deborah D. McAdams