Gannett 'comfortable' with high end of 4Q outlook

AP News
Posted: Dec 09, 2009 2:20 PM

Newspaper publisher Gannett Co. said Wednesday it is "clearly comfortable" with the high end of its fourth-quarter earnings guidance range and has successfully made it through an unprecedented economic environment in 2009.

Gannett's profit outlook is for earnings of 48 cents to 62 cents per share for the quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters are expecting, on average, a profit of 52 cents per share.

Speaking at the UBS Media and Communications Conference, Chairman, CEO and President Craig A. Dubow said many of the changes the company made during the year were needed because of the economy, but they "also represent necessary permanent changes." These changes have included hundreds of job cuts as the company grappled with an advertising slump made worse by the economic turmoil.

Dave Lougee, president of Gannett's broadcast division, said the year is "ending decidedly different than it began and our underlying trends are now positive."

The remarks from Gannett executives came a day after two other media companies, The New York Times Co. and McClatchy Co., signaled that advertising revenue declines won't be as bad in the current quarter as earlier in the year.

Gannett, based in McLean, Va., had said last week it is reducing the newsroom staff at USA Today by 5 percent. On top of the 26 newsroom jobs at USA Today, 11 jobs will be cut at USA Weekend magazine, a weekly insert in other newspapers. Over the summer Gannett cut 3 percent of its total work force, or 1,400 positions.

Shares slipped 5 cents to $11.71 in afternoon trading.