Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Earnings down 'only' 9.2 percent

Lee's revenue continues to slide: January total revenue fell 9.2 percent from the previous year. At the annual stockholder meeting, CFO Carl Schmidt said he expects the "improvement" to continue in February and March.

In the second quarter, which ends in March, Lee expects operating costs to fall by 9 percent. No details on cost-cutting measures, but compensation costs have fallen 19.6 percent from 2008 to 2009. The opening slide in the stockholder slideshow said "We continue to generate substantial cash flow in a difficult economy."

CEO Mary Junck told stockholders that Lee's papers and websites reach up to three-fourths of adults over a week in their markets.

"In a time of rapidly evolving digital interactivity, our newspapers and online sites remain in front, by far, surpassing all print, broadcast and online competitors as the primary source for local news, information and advertising in our communities," she said. "Without us, most local news would never come to light."

Schmidt also said the company paid down $198 million of debt in 2009.

Read Lee's statement on its earnings report, and see the 31-page slideshow (PDF).

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