The McClatchy Co. reported higher quarterly profits today amid signs that its lengthy revenue slump is easing.
Sacramento-based McClatchy, which owns The Sacramento Bee, said income from continuing operations rose to $43.2 million in the fourth quarter from $33.5 million a year earlier. Bottom line net income grew even more sharply, to $42 million from $14.8 million, because the year-ago results included a big write-down of some Florida land holdings.
Per-share earnings rose to 49 cents from 17 cents.
McClatchy said fourth quarter revenue fell 5 percent, to $351.4 million. Ad revenue was off 5.7 percent, one of the smallest declines in years. Just three months ago, McClatchy's ad sales were dropping 10 percent from the year before.
"We were pleased to see our advertising revenue results improve in the fourth quarter," said Chairman and Chief Executive Gary Pruitt in a prepared statement.
The results beat Wall Street's expectations. Analysts were projecting profits of 40 cents a share and revenue of $347.8 million, according to Thomson.
Pruitt said the improving ad trends were led by retailing, direct marketing and national ads, and "we also posted strong growth in digital-only advertising."
He added, "The fourth quarter reflected one of the strongest holiday seasons in recent years, and we were not suprised to see the momentum slow somewhat in January. Advertising revenues in January were down 7.9 percent compared to January 2011."
McClatchy stock jumped 35 cents to $2.59 a share in early New York Stock Exchange trading.
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