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N.Y. Times Co. Operating Profit Doubles

But company warns it faces a challenging second half

The New York Times Company reported its second quarter financials on Thursday – peppered with some mixed messages.

While its net income — $32 million, 21 cents per share – declined 18 percent compared to last year’s second quarter, its operating profit — $60.8 million – more than doubled.

The Times blamed the net profit slide on a $37 million tax benefit the company received in the second quarter of 2009, artificially boosting its performance.

Overall, the company’s revenue ticked up 1.2 percent (to $589.6 million), with circulation revenue and a healthy bump (21 percent) in digital advertising helping offset another print advertising slide (6 percent) – with print and digital combined essentially flat.

Not insignificant to note: the Times’ online advertising now accounts for 26 percent of its overall advertising haul.

Times Co. president Janet Robinson said the company “is well-positioned to thrive in the evolving media marketplace, thanks to the significant progress we are making in reinventing our enterprise.” She called the results “positive.”

Still, there are concerns for the company heading into the second half: higher newsprint and payroll costs (there are no salary cuts on the books this year) and the development of that fancy paywall mean the Times is facing an uphill battle to post a profit.

Or, as the Times put it: “While the company will remain diligent in managing its operating expenses, its year-over-year cost trends will become more challenging in the second half of the year.”