NEW YORK -- New York Times Co., hurt by the deteriorating economy and the resulting advertising slowdown, Monday posted a sharp decline in first-quarter net income and trimmed its growth forecast for this year.
The publisher said first-quarter net income fell 26% to $61.3 million, or 37 cents a diluted share, from $83.1 million, or 47 cents a share, a year earlier. The results were in line with analysts' lowered expectations.
Revenue in the quarter slipped 5.3% to $778.2 million.
In early March, New York Times said it expected first-quarter earnings in a range of 35 cents to 38 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call had been expecting first-quarter earnings of 46 cents a share.
New York Times also had been maintaining its earnings-per-share growth target of 10% to 15% this year, but on Monday the company said it now expects earnings per share to grow 2% to 6%. For 2000, the company earned $2.10 a share, excluding items, on revenue of $3.5 billion. Wall Street expects the company to post a profit of $2.24 a share for 2001,according to First Call.
For the second quarter, New York Times expects earnings of 46 cents to 52 cents a share, compared with 59 cents a share in the second quarter of 2000. A First Call survey produced a mean earnings estimate of 60 cents a share for the second quarter.
New York Times said first-quarter advertising revenue dropped 8.3% to $544.3 million.
Last week, New York Times (NYT), citing the weakening advertising environment, said it will reduce its work force through voluntary buyouts and layoffs.
New York Times said reductions will come from across the whole company and should be completed in two to three months. A spokeswoman said there likely won't be layoffs at the flagship New York Times newspaper, but the Internet unit, New York Times Digital, won't escape cuts.
Knight Ridder Inc. (KRI) and Dow Jones&Co. (DJ), publisher of The Wall Street Journal and this news service, already have announced layoffs in response to the sudden deterioration in advertising,especially in comparison to last year's boom.
New York Times, which also publishes the Boston Globe, started the year in a relatively positive mood, in contrast to its competitors.
After the company warned that first-quarter earnings would be worse than expected, a spokeswoman said there was no plan for layoffs to meet its targets of 10% to 15% growth. However, the rapidly deteriorating advertising environment and cloudier economic outlook prompted the change.
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