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A. H. Belo Corporation Announces Fourth Quarter And Full-Year 2011 Financial Results And Discusses 2012 Outlook

Total consolidated operating expense in the fourth quarter was $119.2 million. Excluding the effect of pension and impairment expenses in both periods, operating expense in the fourth quarter was $111.4 million, a 9.9 percent decrease compared to the prior year period as salaries, wages and employee benefits, legal, temporary labor, consulting and other expenses all decreased.

The Company’s newsprint expense in the fourth quarter was $10.8 million, a decrease of 6.4 percent compared to the prior year period. Newsprint consumption dropped 7.4 percent to 17,152 metric tons. Compared to the prior year period, newsprint cost per metric ton increased 1.0 percent, and the average purchase price per metric ton for newsprint increased 2.0 percent.

Excluding the effect of pension and impairment expenses in both periods, fourth quarter corporate and non-operating unit expenses were $6.6 million in the fourth quarter, a 12.0 percent decrease, as salaries and wages, computer and communication expenses all decreased.

The Company’s fourth quarter severance and related expenses totaled $1.0 million and included expense related to the departure of a senior executive at The Dallas Morning News.

Full-Year Results

Total revenue was $461.5 million in 2011, a decrease of 5.3 percent compared to the prior year. Advertising revenue, including print and digital revenues, decreased 8.9 percent – a 300 basis point improvement in the rate of decline compared to the prior year.

  • The smallest percentage decrease came at The Dallas Morning News followed by The Providence Journal and The Press-Enterprise
  • Display advertising revenue decreased 15.1 percent to $101.6 million
  • Preprint revenue decreased 3.9 percent to $87.7 million
  • Classified revenue decreased 7.5 percent to $58.2 million
  • Digital revenue decreased 3.7 percent to $35.2 million
  • Advertising revenue from niche publications, which is included in the display, preprint, classified and digital revenues reported above, increased 1.7 percent to $23.8 million

Circulation revenue was $139.9 million in 2011, a decrease of 0.8 percent compared to 2010. Excluding $1.1 million of increased circulation revenue resulting from The Providence Journal’s transition from a carrier to a distributor circulation model at the end of 2011, total circulation revenue decreased 1.6 percent to $138.8 million.

Printing and distribution revenue was $39.0 million in 2011, an increase of 8.6 percent compared to the prior year due primarily to several new commercial printing contracts in Providence.

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