March 5, 2002
Belo updates investment community on First Quarter Outlook
Newyork, NY -- Belo (NYSE: BLC) presented at the Bear Stearns Media, Entertainment & Information Conference in Palm Beach, Florida, today, providing guidance to the investment community on the Company's business strategies, operations and financial outlook for the
first quarter of 2002.
Robert W. Decherd, Belo's chairman, president and chief executive officer, said: "We believe Belo is in a strong position as the economy rebounds.
In 2001, we reset expenses Company-wide to match up with expected revenue generation.
From an operating standpoint, we increased share of market revenues at almost all Belo operating companies in 2001.
Belo is benefiting from these measures in 2002 and is positioned to be an early beneficiary of the economic recovery."
Dunia A. Shive, Belo's executive vice president and chief financial officer, provided guidance for the
first quarter of 2002 and commented on Belo's prospects for the remainder of the year.
Shive said that the Company
currently expects Television Group revenue to be flat in the first quarter. Belo's Newspaper Group revenues will continue to be affected by weak classified employment volumes at The Dallas Morning News until comparisons to the prior year ease in May.
However, Shive noted that several other advertising categories at The Morning News have performed well so far this year. For the first quarter, the Company expects Newspaper Group revenue to be down about six percent. Excluding the effect of the extra Sunday in the first quarter of 2002 versus 2001, Newspaper Group revenue should be down about eight percent.
Shive noted that because of the cost-reduction measures implemented during 2001 and newsprint savings, total cash expenses in the first quarter of 2002 will be better by about three
percent. Operating cash flow is expected to decline in the mid-single digits. Earnings per share in the first quarter should be in the range of $.10 to $.12, including a $.02 gain Belo recorded in February related to the sale of the Company's interest in the Dallas Mavericks and the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Addressing the remainder of 2002, Shive said, "We are optimistic about Belo's prospects for the balance of the year.
Clearly, our full-year results will depend on the timing of the advertising recovery. We benefited from Olympics-related advertising in February and political revenue will have a positive effect on 2002. Revenue comparisons for both the Newspaper Group and Television Group should ease as the year progresses.
"The Company's cash expenses are well in hand. Direct compensation, excluding performance-based bonuses, should be down one to two percent for the full year.
Newsprint expense should be down about 16 percent. Offsetting these savings are a 16 percent increase in benefits expense and the inclusion of performance-based bonuses, which were not paid in 2001 and will only be paid in 2002 if full-year financial targets are met. As a result, Belo's total cash expenses could increase about one percent for the full year. Excluding performance-based bonuses, total cash expenses would be flat versus 2001.
" Additional information on Belo and its outlook for 2002 is available online at www.belo.com, including the full text of the Bear Stearns presentation.
Belo is one of the nation's largest media companies with a diversified group of market-leading television, newspaper, cable and interactive media assets. A Fortune 1000 company with approximately 8,000 employees and $1.4 billion in annual revenues, Belo operates news and information franchises in some of America's most dynamic markets and regions, ncluding 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
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.