Profits at Gannett Plummet 22%, As Print Ads Decline

Dismal earnings beat Wall Street's low expectations

It was bleak times at Gannett Company, as one of the country’s largest newspaper chains saw profits crater 22 percent in its second quarter.

The USA Today publisher posted profits of $151.5 million, or 62 cents a share, down from $195.5 million, or 81 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

The company’s revenues slid 2.2 percent to $1.3 billion.

Though it’s doubtful many were popping champagne at Gannett’s headquarters, its dismal earnings did beat Wall Street’s projections.

Analysts had predicted earnings of 57 cents and revenue of $1.33 billion, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.

Gannett’s digital business continued to grow, but it was not enough to make up for the steep declines the company suffered on its print side. Ad revenues dropped 7 percent to $646.9 million, compared to $692.2 million in the second quarter last year.

The bright spot for investors is that the newspaper giant announced plans to increase its quarterly dividend to 8 cents a share.

That will cost Gannett some $40 million a year.  

Shares rose .47 percent in after hours trading.