The full report can be found here. Excerpts include:
•Operating profit excluding depreciation, amortization, severance and the special items discussed below grew 10.9 percent to $157.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared with $142.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. On a GAAP basis, the Company had an operating profit of $136.0 million compared with $63.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2008.
•Operating costs excluding depreciation, amortization and severance declined 16.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009 versus the fourth quarter of 2008. On a GAAP basis, the Company’s operating costs declined 15.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009 versus the fourth quarter of 2008. For the year operating costs declined by approximately $475 million as a result of reductions in nearly all major expense categories.
•Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations excluding severance and special items were $.44 per share in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared with $.36 per share in the same period of 2008. On a GAAP basis, the Company had diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of $.48 per share in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared with $.19 per share in the fourth quarter of 2008.
•The Company has reduced its debt by over $290 million to $769 million from its balance at the end of 2008 of $1.059 billion. As of the end of the quarter, excluding $67 million in letters of credit, there were no outstanding borrowings under the Company’s $400 million revolving credit facility.
Total revenues were down 11.5 percent in the quarter, a significant improvement from the third quarter decline of 16.9 percent.
“We were pleased to see advertisers increase their rate of spending across our newspapers, Web sites and other platforms as advertising trends improved during the fourth quarter,” said Janet Robinson, president and CEO. “Our results also reflect our ability to restructure our cost base, introduce new products and innovations, leverage our brand strength and extend our reach to new audiences.
“In the fourth quarter total advertising revenues declined approximately 15 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2008, as a 20 percent decrease in print advertising was offset in part by growth in digital advertising, which rose nearly 11 percent. While the advertising market remains challenging, the rate of decline across the major advertising categories – national, retail and classified – lessened as the quarter progressed.
“Circulation revenues increased 2 percent as we were able to command higher subscription and newsstand prices at The New York Times and The Boston Globe. This growth demonstrates the strong demand and loyalty for our high quality news and information in print, even as the content marketplace becomes increasingly digital.
“Once again we were encouraged by the strong performance at the About Group, whose fourth-quarter operating profit rose 80 percent to $18 million. The Group’s advertising revenues grew 23 percent on healthy gains in both cost-per-click and display advertising.
“We continued to capitalize on our ability to aggressively manage our expenses, as evidenced in an approximately 16 percent decline in operating costs. And we remain focused on securing strong performance on costs as we continue to reposition our Company for the evolving media marketplace.
"Looking ahead, visibility remains limited for advertising. In the first quarter of 2010, we expect the rate of decline for print advertising to continue to improve modestly from the fourth quarter of 2009, while digital advertising is expected to perform in line with the fourth-quarter level.
“Lastly, we have begun taking steps to enhance our digital strategy by planning to introduce a paid model for NYTimes.com in 2011, to create an additional revenue stream while preserving our robust advertising business. We continue to embrace innovative new platforms and devices that provide rich experiences for our content.”