DALLAS – A.H. Belo Corp., the parent company of the Providence Journal and three other daily newspapers, saw its net income fall 5.2 percent to $2.6 million, or 11 cents per diluted share during the fourth quarter, but moved into the black for the whole of 2012.
A.H. Belo saw its 2012 net income rise to $419,000, or 1 cent per diluted share, from a $10.9 million, or 51 cent per diluted share, loss during 2011.
“For the first year since the spin-off from Belo Corp. in 2008, A.H. Belo was net income positive, an outstanding accomplishment during these transformational times,” Robert W. Decherd, chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement.
The company saw revenue drop 6.1 percent to $117.2 million during the fourth quarter and 4.6 percent to $440 million during 2012, the smallest year-over-year decline since the company’s spin-off from Belo Corp., according to its release.
Belo saw advertising revenue, including print and digital revenue, decline 9 percent year over year in 2012, including an unspecified drop in revenue from The Providence Journal.
Circulation revenue totaled $136.5 million in 2012, a decrease of 2 percent compared with 2011. Excluding the $2.7 million of year-over-year increase in circulation revenue resulting from the Journal’s transition from a carrier to a distributor circulation model at the end of 2011, total circulation revenue declined 4 percent as single-copy sales declined. The company said the Dallas Morning News was primarily responsible, due to the impact of the Dallas Mavericks’ NBA championship in 2011.
Printing and distribution revenue was $45.3 million in 2012, a 16 percent increase year over year, primarily due to the expansion of commercial printing and distribution contracts for the Journal and the Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise. The company added that 27 percent of this increase was the result of a contract with the North County Times in Southern California, which subsequently ceased printing the paper with the company, well before the expiration of a multi-year contract.
Consolidated operating expenses totaled $440.7 million in 2012. Excluding the effect of pension and impairment expenses, operating expenses in 2012 totaled $434.5 million, a 4 percent decrease year over year. Belo said the decrease was driven by lower salaries and wages, newsprint, computer, repair and maintenance, and depreciation expenses.
At the end of 2012, A.H. Belo had roughly 2,000 full-time equivalent employees, a decline of 4 percent from the end of 2011.
“We begin 2013 with a strong balance sheet and the flexibility to deploy cash in the long-term interests of the company, its shareholders and employees,” said Decherd.