said its first-quarter profit rose slightly, but that the war in Iraq took a toll on earnings.
The company earned $249.8 million, or 93 cents a share, compared with $243.6 million, or 91 cents a share, in the prior-year quarter. Analysts were expecting 92 cents a share.
Total revenue was $1.55 billion, compared with $1.51 billion in the same quarter last year. At the company's
newspaper, advertising revenue increased 1%, the company said. Total newspaper-segment operating cash flow rose 5% to $408.1 million, compared with $389.9 million in the same quarter of 2002.
Shares of Gannet, based in McLean, Va., were virtually flat at $74.62 in early trading Tuesday.
The company said results at its television stations and
"were depressed by the reluctance of advertisers to spend in an uncertain geopolitical environment." Gannett
warned earlier this month that the war hampered ad sales in the last two weeks of March. At that time, the company forecast earnings to be at the low end of its previously forecast range of 94 cents to 96 cents a share. Analysts had expected 95 cents a share.
Fellow media giant
New York Times
reported a profitable quarter
Monday but also said results were negatively affected by the war. The company beat analysts' expectation by 3 cents and said the war-related decline in advertising has begun to slow.