Lee reports higher 4th quarter earnings; lower expenses offset 4.3% drop in operating revenue

Lee Enterprises reported higher fourth quarter earnings today (12/10) compared with a year ago thanks primarily to lower operating expenses that offset a 4.3 percent decline in revenue for the three-month period.

For the fourth quarter ended Sept. 27, Lee reported earnings of 18 cents ($10.13 million) compared with 6 cents per share ($3.38 million) for the same quarter last year. For the fiscal year, earnings totaled 44 cents per share ($24.3 million) compared with 13 cents per share ($7.67 million) a year ago.

The company, owner of the Quad City Times, saw advertising and marketing revenue fall 9 percent in the fourth quarter compared with a year ago, with total operating revenue of $159.1 million, down 4.3 percent compared with last year.

More than offsetting the revenue drop was a nearly 7 percent reduction in operating costs for the period.

Lee reported total operating revenue for fiscal 2015 of $648.5 million, down nearly 2 percent compared with fiscal 2014.

While overall advertising and marketing service revenue fell 7 percent in fiscal 2015, the company reported mobile advertising revenue grew by 3.6 percent, subscription revenue by 10 percent and digital advertising and marketing service revenue nearly 7 percent.

During the quarter, the company reduced its debt by $19.1 million, and nearly $79 million for the fiscal year, leaving it with outstanding debt of $726 million as of September 27.

CLICK HERE to download the company's fourth quarter earnings news release and financial.

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