Lee Enterprise stock falls to new 52-week low after reporting 5 percent drop in first quarter revenues

Lee Enterprises, Inc. stock today (2/4) fell to a new 52-week low – $1.15 per share – after reporting first quarter operating revenues declined 5 percent compared with a year ago.

The company's first quarter includes the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season, typically the best advertising period for newspapers, and the results apparently disappointed investors. Shares of the Davenport-based media firm, owner of the Quad City Times, dropped more than 10 cents per share in heavy trading after the company announced its earnings.

Lee first quarter earnings totaled $11.5 million, 21 cents per share, compared with $10 million, 19 cents per share, a year ago.

First quarter operating revenue totaled $168 million in the first quarter, compared with $177 million last year. Advertising and marketing revenues were down nearly 9 percent compared with a year ago.

The lower operating revenues were offset by lower operating expenses, including a 5.3 reduction in compensation costs and a 24 percent drop in newsprint and ink expenses. Average full-time employees at the company totaled 4,125 at year-end, a drop of more than 7.4 percent from a year ago.

The company paid down $80.5 million on its debt during the past 12 months and it now totals $678 million.

CLICK HERE to download the full first quarter earnings report.

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