December 4, 2001
Belo updates investment community on key business strategies
NewYork, NY-- Belo(NYSE: BLC) presented at the CS First Boston Media Week Conference in New York City today, providing guidance to the investment community on the Company's business strategies, operations and financial performance.
Robert W. Decherd, Belo's chairman, president and chief executive officer, said: "Like all media companies, Belo has experienced great challenges during 2001. In this economic trough, we are improving market position and gaining operating efficiencies so that Belo companies emerge even stronger when the advertising environment improves. In 2001, we have taken the steps necessary to accelerate the crucial process of aligning Belo's expenses with expected revenue generation. With our expenses properly aligned, we know that Belo will benefit when the inevitable recovery in U.S. advertising commences."
Decherd reviewed the key investment considerations for Belo citing the Company's market-leading assets that are regionally clustered in outstanding markets. The strength of these assets will enable Belo to generate at least $110 million in free cash flow in 2001. Decherd emphasized that the Company is also continuing to invest in important extensions of Belo's core businesses such as Belo Interactive and Belo's regional cable news operations.
These investments provide Belo with opportunities to establish incremental revenue streams that will further enhance shareholder value.
Dunia A. Shive, Belo's executive vice president and chief financial officer, provided guidance for the fourth quarter of 2001 and commented on Belo's prospects for 2002. Regarding Belo's outlook for the fourth quarter of 2001, Shive said that the Company currently expects Television Group spot revenue excluding political to be down in the low-single digits in the fourth quarter. Including the effect of political, spot revenues should be down in the mid-teens. Television Group cash expenses, excluding non-recurring items, should be 5 to 6 percent less than the fourth quarter of last year, with a resulting decrease in operating cash flow in the mid-twenties.
Shive noted that fourth quarter Newspaper Group revenue is expected to be down in the mid-teens with continued weakness in the classified employment category at The Dallas Morning News. Total cash expenses for the Newspaper Group, again excluding non-recurring charges, will be about 6 percent less than last year. As a result, Newspaper Group operating cash flow is expected to decline 35 to 40 percent.
Shive stated that the Company's effective tax rate will exceed 100 percent in the fourth quarter and for full-year 2001 because of lower annual pretax earnings coupled with a fixed amount of goodwill amortization that is not deductible for tax purposes but is deducted in determining book income. As a result, Belo's earnings per share loss should be about $0.03 to $0.04 in the fourth quarter, before non-recurring items. Full-year EPS should be $0.15 to $0.16, before non-recurring items.
Commenting on the outlook for 2002, Shive said, "We expect the advertising environment to improve, but the timing and rate of improvement is unknown.
Because of this, it is very difficult to predict advertising revenues in 2002. Belo will benefit from political revenue on its television stations and from the Olympics on its NBC-affiliated stations. For both the Newspaper Group and Television Group, revenue comparisons should ease as the year progresses."
Additional information on Belo and its outlook for 2001 and 2002 is available online at www.belo.com, including the full text of the CS First Boston presentation.
Belo is one of the nation's largest media companies with a diversified group of market-leading broadcasting, publishing, cable and interactive media assets. A Fortune 1000 company with more than 8,000 employees and $1.5 billion in annual revenues, Belo operates news and information franchises in some of America's most dynamic markets and regions, including Texas, the Northwest, the Southwest, Rhode Island, and the Mid-Atlantic region. Belo owns 18 television stations (six in the top 16 markets) reaching 13.9 percent of U. S. television households; owns or operates six cable news channels; and manages two television stations through local marketing agreements. Belo publishes four daily newspapers: The Dallas Morning News, The Providence Journal, The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA.) and the Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, TX.). Belo Interactive's new media businesses include 34 Web sites, several interactive alliances, and a broad range of Internet-based products.
Statements in this report concerning the Company's business outlook or future economic performance, anticipated profitability, revenues, expenses, capital expenditures, investments or other financial or operating items and other statements that are not historical facts, are "forward-looking statements" as the term is defined under applicable Federal Securities Laws. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those statements.
Such risks, uncertainties and factors include, but are not limited to, changes in advertising demand, interest rates and newsprint prices; technological changes; development of Internet commerce; industry cycles; changes in pricing or other actions by competitors and suppliers; regulatory changes; the effects of Company acquisitions and dispositions; and general economic conditions, as well as other risks detailed in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), including the Annual Report on Form 10-K.
For more information, contact Dunia Shive, Belo's executive vice president and chief financial officer, or Carey Hendrickson, Belo's vice president of investor relations, at 214-977-6606. Additional information on Belo is available online at www.belo.com.