Journal Communications' Q3 net income falls 29.4% year-over-year to US$4.4M, net revenues down 4.4% to US$87.8M with declines in broadcasting, publishing segments, challenging advertising revenue environment
October 25, 2011
– Third Quarter 2011 Highlights:
"Journal Communications remained focused on growing our local market revenue share in a soft economic environment in the third quarter," said Steven Smith, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Journal Communications. "While total Broadcast revenue was down, core revenue, excluding political and issue advertising, was up. On the Publishing side, a challenging advertising revenue environment was offset by improved circulation revenue and a solid increase in commercial print and distribution revenue.
"Effective cost management remains a company-wide priority. We recorded a $1.3 million pre-tax workforce reduction charge to align our expenses in Publishing with lower revenue, while still reducing total company expenses this quarter.
"We continue to position Journal Communications for growth in our markets by expanding our relevant local content, investing in interactive media and providing an enhanced value proposition for our advertising customers."
Third Quarter 2011 Results
Note that unless otherwise indicated, all comparisons are to the third quarter ended September 26, 2010.
For the third quarter, revenue of $87.8 million decreased 4.4% compared to $91.8 million. Operating earnings of $8.1 million, which included a $1.3 million pre-tax workforce reduction charge, decreased 26.9% compared to $11.1 million. Net earnings were $4.4 million compared to $6.3 million.
In the third quarter, basic and diluted net earnings per share of class A and B common stock were $0.07 compared to $0.11 in 2010. Excluding an after-tax workforce reduction charge of $0.8 million and an after-tax gain on the sale of the remaining Florida operations of $0.2 million, basic and diluted net earnings per share of class A and B common stock were $0.08.
The operating margin was 9.2% for the third quarter compared to 12.1%. EBITDA (net earnings (loss) excluding the earnings/loss from discontinued operations, net; total other expense, net; provision (benefit) for income taxes; depreciation; amortization; and, if any, non-cash impairment charges) was $14.0 million compared to $17.2 million, a decrease of 18.7%.
Consolidated and Segment Results
The following table presents our revenue and operating earnings (loss) by segment for the third quarter of 2011 and 2010 (dollars in millions).
For the third quarter, total expenses of $79.7 million, which included a $1.3 million pre-tax workforce reduction charge, decreased 1.3% compared to $80.7 million.
For the third quarter, broadcasting revenue decreased 3.2% to $46.9 million compared to $48.5 million. Total broadcast political and issue advertising revenue was $2.2 million compared to $4.7 million. Core broadcast revenue, excluding political and issue advertising revenue, increased 2.2%. Local revenue increased 1.9% due to increases in medical, media and automotive categories. National advertising revenue decreased 4.3% primarily due to a decrease in automotive advertising. Retransmission revenue was $2.2 million compared to $1.7 million. Broadcasting operating earnings of $7.0 million decreased 30.0% compared to $10.0 million, primarily due to reduced political and issue advertising revenue this quarter.
Revenue from television stations for the third quarter decreased 6.8% to $27.9 million compared to $30.0 million. Excluding political and issue advertising revenue of $1.8 million in 2011 and $4.3 million in 2010, revenue from television stations increased 1.6%. Local advertising revenue increased 2.5% primarily due to an increase in retail, restaurants and automotive advertising. National advertising revenue decreased 10.5% primarily due to a decrease in automotive advertising. Operating earnings were $2.9 million compared to $5.5 million, a decrease of 47.4%. Television operating expenses increased 2.3% primarily due to higher employee-related expenses and promotion costs.
For the third quarter, revenue from radio stations increased 2.7% to $19.0 million from $18.5 million. Radio political and issue advertising revenue was $0.4 million in each of 2011 and 2010. Operating earnings from radio stations were $4.1 million compared to $4.5 million, a decrease of 8.6%. Radio operating expenses increased 6.3% primarily due to higher employee-related expenses and promotion costs.
For the third quarter, publishing revenue decreased 5.9% to $40.9 million compared to $43.4 million, largely due to continued decreases in the retail and classified advertising categories, partially offset by an increase in other revenue. Operating earnings from publishing were $2.8 million, including a $1.3 million pre-tax workforce reduction charge, compared to $3.1 million, a decrease of 8.0%.
Total newsprint and paper expense in publishing was $4.1 million compared to $4.4 million, a 6.5% decrease, primarily due to a reduction in newsprint consumption.
Revenue at the daily newspaper for the third quarter decreased 3.3% to $34.7 million compared to $35.9 million. Retail advertising revenue decreased 3.8%. Classified advertising revenue decreased 18.2% driven primarily by a decrease in the real estate and other categories. Interactive advertising revenue decreased 4.7% to $2.7 million compared to $2.8 million, primarily due to a decrease in retail sponsorships and classified advertising packages. Circulation revenue of $12.4 million increased 1.5% due to price increases that off-set circulation declines. Other revenue, which primarily consists of commercial printing and delivery, of $4.2 million was up 13.3%. Operating earnings from the daily newspaper were $2.3 million, including a $1.3 million pre-tax workforce reduction charge, compared to $2.4 million, a decrease of 2.4%. Daily newspaper operating expenses decreased 3.4%, primarily due to lower employee-related costs.
In the third quarter in two separate transactions, we sold the remaining interests in our Northern Florida publications. Total combined proceeds were $0.8 million and we recorded a pre-tax gain of $0.3 million.
Community newspapers and shoppers revenue for the third quarter decreased 17.9% to $6.2 million compared to $7.5 million. Excluding Florida operations revenue of $0.5 million in 2011 and $1.3 million in 2010, revenue decreased 9.3%. Retail advertising revenue decreased 21.0% and classified advertising revenue decreased 19.4%. Excluding Florida advertising revenue of $0.5 million in 2011 and $1.2 million in 2010, retail advertising revenue decreased 12.2% and classified revenue decreased 4.8%. Operating earnings from community newspapers and shoppers were $0.5 million, including a $0.3 million pre-tax gain on the sale of the remaining Florida operations, compared to $0.7 million. Operating expenses were down $0.9 million or 13.3%, primarily due to the sale of the remaining Florida operations, cost savings from previous workforce reductions and lower operating costs associated with lower revenue. Excluding Florida operating expenses of $0.5 million in 2011 and $1.1 million in 2010, operating expenses declined 6.4%.
The operating loss for the third quarter was $1.7 million compared to $2.0 million. The reduction in the operating loss was due to lower executive incentive compensation costs in 2011 and a reduction in other expenses.
For the third quarter, other expense, which primarily consists of interest expense, was $0.8 million compared to $1.0 million. The decrease in interest expense reflects a decrease in average borrowing levels for the quarter partially offset by an increase in average borrowing rates under our amended and extended credit agreement entered into on August 13, 2010.
The third quarter effective tax rate was 38.8% compared to 37.4%. The increase in the effective tax rate in 2011 is primarily due to recording a benefit for certain amended federal tax returns in 2010.
Notes Payable to Banks and Cash Flows
At the end of the third quarter, our notes payable to banks were $55.0 million, a reduction of $6.0 million from the end of the second quarter. During the first three quarters of 2011, we reduced our notes payable to banks by $19.6 million as compared to the fiscal 2010 year-end. Our consolidated funded debt ratio, as defined in our credit agreement, was 0.75-to-1. Year-to-date cash from operating activities was $26.4 million compared to $45.5 million. Year-to-date cash from operating activities has decreased primarily due to a decrease in cash provided by working capital and the decrease in net earnings. Year-to-date capital expenditures were $8.1 million compared to $7.3 million.
Share Repurchase Authorization
On July 12, 2011, the Board of Directors authorized a share repurchase program of up to $45.0 million of our outstanding class A common stock and/or class B common stock until the end of fiscal 2013. During the third quarter, we repurchased 603,200 class A shares at a total cost to the company of $2.1 million.
Fourth Quarter 2011 Outlook
For the fourth quarter of 2011, broadcast revenues, excluding political and issue advertising, are expected to be up slightly compared to the prior year period. We anticipate that publishing revenues will be down compared to the prior year period reflecting continued challenges with publishing advertising revenue.
Conference Call and Webcast
The company will hold an earnings conference call today at 10:00 a.m. Central Time (11:00 a.m. ET, 8:00 a.m. PT). To access the call, dial (866) 700-0161 (domestic) or (617) 213-8832 (international) at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the call. The access code for the conference call is 43924780. A live webcast of the third quarter conference call will be accessible through the Journal Communications' website at http://cts.businesswire.com/ct/CT?id=smartlink&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.journalcommunications.com%2Finvestors&esheet=50041582&lan=en-US&anchor=www.journalcommunications.com%2Finvestors&index=1&md5=27d1c0cb4e8028aad5d09caf3fa820fb, also beginning at 10:00 a.m. CT this morning. An archive of the webcast will be available on this site today through November 7, 2011. Replays of the conference call will also be available through November 7, 2011. To hear the replay, dial (888) 286-8010 (domestic) or (617) 801-6888 (international) at least one hour after the completion of the call. The access code for the replay is 80364804.
About Journal Communications
Journal Communications, Inc., headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was founded in 1882. We are a diversified media company with operations in radio and television broadcasting, publishing and interactive media. We own and operate 33 radio stations and 13 television stations in 12 states and operate an additional television station under a local marketing agreement. We publish the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which serves as the only major daily newspaper for the Milwaukee metropolitan area, and several community newspapers and shoppers in Wisconsin. Our interactive media assets build on our strong publishing and broadcasting brands.
Industry Intelligence Editor's Note: In an omitted table, Journal Communications reported Q3 net income of US$4.4 million. For the same period a year ago, the company recorded net income of US$6.3 million.