Morris Publishing Announces 2006 Third Quarter Results

    AUGUSTA, Ga., Nov. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Morris Publishing Group,
 LLC today reported third quarter operating income of $20.4 million, down
 $3.4 million, or 14.4%, from $23.8 million for the same period in 2005. Net
 income for the quarter was $6.9 million, down $1.6 million from $8.5
 million in the prior year.
     Total operating revenue for the third quarter was $117.4 million, up
 $3.7 million, or 3.2%, from $113.7 million in the same quarter last year.
 Total advertising revenue was $96.4 million, up $4.1 million, or 4.4%, from
 $92.3 million last year, with retail advertising revenue of $47.7 million,
 up 3.1%, classified advertising revenue of $43.0 million, up 6.5%, and
 national advertising revenue of $5.7 million, up 0.2%. Circulation revenue
 was $17.3 million, down $0.2 million, or 1.4%, continuing its trend.
     For the third quarter, total operating expense was $97.1 million, up
 $1.8 million, or 1.9%, from $95.3 million last year, with employee costs of
 $43.9 million, down 2.0%, newsprint, ink and supplements costs of $14.8
 million, up 6.3%, and other operating costs of $32.9 million, up 5.7%.
 Depreciation and amortization expense was $5.5 million, up slightly from
 the same period last year.
     During the third quarter of 2005, the company sold Savannah's former
 production facility for $7.2 million, net of closing costs, resulting in a
 $5.0 million pre-tax gain. Excluding this gain, operating income for the
 quarter was up $1.6 million, or 8.6%.
     Commenting on the results, William S. Morris IV, Morris Publishing
 Group's chief executive officer and president, said, "On the strength of
 Jacksonville's retail advertising gains this quarter, our results were
 good. We are doing a good job of managing our expenses and we continue to
 benefit from gains in the classified advertising revenue category at most
 of our newspapers."
     For the first nine months of 2006, operating income was $63.0 million,
 up $2.4 million, or 4.0%, from $60.6 million last year. Total net operating
 revenue was $351.6 million, up $7.5 million, or 2.2%, and total operating
 costs were $288.7 million, down slightly from last year. Net income for the
 first nine months of 2006 was $22.0 million, up $1.3 million from the same
 period last year.
     Morris Publishing Group, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Morris
 Communications Company, LLC, a privately held media company based in
 Augusta, Ga. Morris Publishing owns and operates 27 daily newspapers as
 well as nondaily newspapers, city magazines and free community publications
 in the Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and Alaska. For more information,
 visit our Web site, morris.com.
     A conference call will be held Thursday, November 9, 2006, at 10:00
 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. In order to participate, please call
 1-888-928-9177 ten (10) minutes prior to the scheduled start. The pass code
 and leader's name listed below will be required to join the conference
 call:
                      LEADER:   MR. STEVE STONE
                   PASS CODE:   MORRIS PUBLI
 
     To access the Audio Replay of this call, all parties can:
 
                   1. Go to the URL:  https://e-meetings.mci.com
                   2. Choose Audio Streaming under Join Events
                   3. Enter the conference number: 9000692
                   4. Enter the pass code: MORRIS PUBLI
     Replays of the conference call are available for 30 days after the live
 event at the URL link.
     Third-quarter results follow:
 
 
 
                          Morris Publishing Group, LLC
                  Condensed Consolidated Statements of Income
 
                                            Three months        Nine months
                                               ended               ended
     (Dollars in thousands)                 September 30,       September 30,
                                           2006      2005     2006       2005
 
     NET OPERATING REVENUES:
         Advertising                     $96,415   $92,349  $287,776 $278,814
         Circulation                      17,310    17,551    52,113   53,074
         Other                             3,722     3,871    11,750   12,212
         Total net operating revenues    117,447   113,771   351,639  344,100
 
     OPERATING EXPENSES:
         Labor and employee benefits      43,894    44,790   131,326  134,109
         Newsprint, ink and supplements   14,813    13,938    44,502   42,387
         Other operating costs (excluding
          depreciation and amortization)  32,918    31,145    96,962   95,872
         Depreciation and amortization     5,458     5,427    15,933   16,504
           Total operating expenses       97,083    95,300   288,723  288,872
 
         Net pre-tax gain on sale of
          fixed assets                       (24)   (5,337)      (41)  (5,335)
 
         Total operating expenses, net
          of pre-tax gains                97,059    89,963   288,682  283,537
 
           Operating income               20,388    23,808    62,957   60,563
 
     OTHER EXPENSE (INCOME):
         Interest expense, including
          amortization of debt
          issuance costs                   9,389     9,075    27,560   26,457
         Interest income                      (1)      604       (69)     (48)
         Other, net                          (62)        1      (119)      19
           Total other expenses, net       9,326     9,680    27,372   26,428
 
     INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES           11,062    14,128    35,585   34,135
     PROVISION FOR INCOME TAXES            4,154     5,591    13,619   13,514
     NET INCOME                           $6,908    $8,537   $21,966  $20,621
 
 

SOURCE Morris Communications Company, LLC

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