The New York Times Co. said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter earnings more than tripled, helped by cost cutting, an improving ad market and lower pension costs.
The publisher of The New York Times, The Boston Globe, the International Herald Tribune and 15 other daily newspapers had its smallest ad revenue decline in a year. Ad revenue dropped 14.7 percent in the fourth quarter from the same period of 2008, compared with a 26.9 percent year-over-year decline during the third quarter.
The company's print newspapers saw a 20 percent ad decline, but Internet advertising started growing again, climbing 10.6 percent after a year of declines.
That, along with cost-cutting steps and one-time gains, helped the Times Co. earn $90.9 million, or 61 cents per share. In the same quarter of 2008, it earned $27.6 million, or 19 cents per share.
The most recent quarter included a $32.4 million after-tax gain from a freeze in pension benefits the company put in place last year. It also included after-tax charges of $10.5 million from early termination fees on printing contracts and losses on office leases. And the company took a $2.6 million charge to account for the falling value of assets.
Stripping out the unusual items, the Times Co. said it would have earned 44 cents per share, up from a comparable figure of 36 cents per share a year earlier.
Analysts, who typically exclude such items, expected 38 cents, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.
Overall revenue fell 11.5 percent to $681 million, better than the $653 million expected by analysts.
Times Co. shares fell 1 cent to $11.66 in morning trading.