Newspaper Companies Report Mostly Improved Results

Times Mirror Co., Knight-Ridder Inc. and Washington Post Co. reported improved third-quarter results Tuesday, with all three citing highe...

Times Mirror Co., Knight-Ridder Inc. and Washington Post Co. reported improved third-quarter results Tuesday, with all three citing higher revenues from their newspaper businesses.
Providence Journal Co., however, turned in a widened loss for the period due to costs related to its cable television ventures. The company agreed last month to be purchased for $1.5 billion by A.H. Belo Corp., publisher of The Dallas Morning News.

< ^Times Mirror Co.=

Times Mirror, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, earned $55.7 million, or 43 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with a loss of $298.9 million, or $2.98 per share, in the same period a year earlier.
Revenue rose to $885.6 million from $864.8 million.

The year-earlier loss was due to $379.5 million in charges, related largely to a restructuring that included 2,200 job cuts. It has closed New York Newsday and Baltimore's Evening Sun amid other efforts to reduce expenses.
Operating profits for the company's newspaper group more than doubled in the 1996 quarter, in part due to the cost-reduction efforts.

For the year to date, the Los Angeles-based company earned $127.8 million, or 89 cents per share, compared with $1.37 billion, or $11.37 per share, during the first nine months of 1995. The year-earlier period reflected a $1.63 billion gain on the sale of some operations.

Revenue rose to $2.53 billion from $2.48 billion.
Times Mirror shares closed down 25 cents at $44.87 1/2 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

< ^Knight-Ridder Inc.=

Knight-Ridder, which publishes The Miami Herald, the Detroit Free Press and other newspapers, earned $126.3 million, or $1.31 a share, in the three months ended Sept. 29, compared with $6.6 million, or 7 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier.
Revenue rose to $653.8 million from $638.0 million.

The Miami-based company said the improved profits included a $90.9 million, or 94 cent a share, gain on the sale of Knight-Ridder Financial in July.
Losses from the 15-month Detroit Newspapers strike narrowed to about 3 cents a share from 21 cents, and the company said it expects Detroit to make a positive contribution in the fourth quarter. Knight-Ridder also cited the best quarterly advertising revenue growth this year.

For the year's first nine months, earnings rose to $192.1 million, or $1.96 a share, from $129.1 million, or $1.28 a share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue rose to $2.07 billion from $2.00 billion.
Knight-Ridder shares closed down $1 at $36.62 1/2 each in NYSE trading.

< ^Washington Post Co.=

The company, based in Washington, said its earnings rose 33 percent to $55.4 million, or $5 per share, from $41.8 million, or $3.79 per share, in the same period a year ago.

Revenue rose to $460.3 million from $417.9 million.
Washington Post Co., publisher of The Washington Post and Newsweek magazine, said the year-ago earnings included a charge of $5.6 million to write off its investment in Mammoth Micro Productions.

The company said newspaper division revenue rose 7 percent in the third quarter, while broadcast revenue was up 14 percent and its cable division gained 19 percent. For Newsweek, revenue advanced 12 percent.

For the year to date, earnings improved to $155.6 million, or $14.09 a share, from $137.2 million, or $12.35 a share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue improved to $1.35 billion from $1.26 billion.
Washington Post Class B shares closed down $3.37 1/2 to $330.87 1/2 on the NYSE.
Providence Journal Co.=

Providence Journal Co. reported a loss of $6.4 million, or 14 cents per share, compared with a loss of $4.9 million, or 13 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.
Revenue for the Providence, R.I., company rose to $88.0 million from $73.6 million.

The company, publisher of the Providence Journal-Bulletin, said this year's losses were driven by investments in the cable TV ventures America's Health Network, the Television Food Network and NorthWest Cable News. They lost $12.7 million during the quarter.
The merger with Belo is expected to be completed during the first half of 1997. Together, the two companies will own TV stations that reach more than 12 percent of the nation, as well as their newspaper holdings.

For the first nine months of the year, the company lost $24.2 million, or 58 cents per share, compared with a loss of $7.7 million, or 20 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue rose to $254.4 million from $223.7 million.
The company's stock closed down 62 1/2 cents to $30.25 in NYSE trading.

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