Emmis Communications

(EMMS) - Get Report

swung to a $140 million profit in its fourth quarter, thanks to proceeds from the sale of television properties. Before the gains, however, the company lost money on a continuing-operations basis.

Emmis earned $140 million, or $3.71 a share, in the quarter, compared with a loss of $265.9 million, or $4.75 a share, a year ago. The latest quarter included a profit from discontinued operations of $175 million, primarily reflecting the proceeds from asset divestitures.

On a continuing-operations basis, Emmis lost $35.4 million, or $1.01 a share. The figure included a number of special items that widened the loss by 99 cents a share, including a pretax loss of $37.4 million from asset impairments, a pretax $7 million loss on debt redemption, and an incremental interest expense of $11.9 million.

Analysts had been forecasting a loss of 21 cents a share in the quarter, presumably excluding the litany of items affecting Emmis' loss from continuing operations.

The Indianapolis-based media company said revenue for its fiscal fourth quarter rose 4% to $84.5 million, missing the $86.17 million consensus estimate.

The company attributed the earnings-per-share miss to four factors: a pretax impairment; extinguished debt; bonus and severance payments; and interest expense. Together, those items represent a diluted net loss per common share of 99 cents.

"In the past fiscal year, we have transformed the company," said Chairman Jeff Smulyan. "We sold 13 of our 16 television stations at higher-than-expected prices, and we used that money to pay down debt and buy back nearly 40% of our stock. Our balance sheet is very strong, which will allow us to invest both in our core properties and in businesses we expect to grow faster, including our interactive division."

Looking forward, the company expects its radio net revenue for its next quarter to be down mid-single digits. Thomson Financial analysts expect the company to earn 10 cents per share on $97.9 million in revenue.

Emmis shares were set to open at $15 on Tuesday.