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Lamar Advertising's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

To touch on the expenses real quick. I had mentioned on the last call that for the first quarter, I thought we'd be up about 5%. And expense growth on a consolidated basis, we came in a little better than that at 3.5%. There were 2 categories that really contributed to that performance: number one, our lease expense on the billboard side was approximately $1 million for the quarter, less than what we had projected. Our guys are still managing their lease portfolios. We started that back at the end of '08 and they continue to groom that. We dismantled 700 structures in the first quarter that didn't meet profitability hurdles and that contributed to the reduction in that lease cost.

Also the bad debt expense category was about $0.5 million less than we were expecting, which I think is just a sign that the economy continues to improve and our customers are in pretty good shape.

For the year, we still stand by our expense growth guidance from the last call of approximately 3%. And in Q2, we think that the expense growth will be somewhere in the 4% range for the quarter, which was what we expected. It's not that it's an increase -- an unexpected increase over the second quarter. When I told you that the expense growth would be approximately 3% for the year, we were expecting roughly 5% for the first quarter, 4% for the second and then low second digits in the back half.

So with that, Sean?

Sean E. Reilly

Thank you, Keith, and I want to thank everybody for accommodating our later-than-usual call time. We all -- we're flying back from the old AAA convention this morning, and it was a great convention. There's some solid industry initiatives going on and it was an exciting place to be, and you could feel the energy in the room.

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