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Meredith reports 45 percent drop in 3Q profit


Meredith Corp. today reported a 45 percent drop in profits for its fiscal third quarter, citing sharp declines in advertising revenues. According to the company, publishing advertising revenues declined 12 percent and broadcasting advertising revenues were down 31 percent.

The company’s net income for the three months ended March 31 was $25 million, or 56 cents per share, compared with $46 million, or 97 cents per share, a year ago. Company revenues dropped to $338 million, which is down 14 percent from the $392 million reported last year.

However, Meredith President and CEO Steve Lacy said that despite a decline in net income, the company is on target and continues to execute its performance improvement plan, which was put in place at the end of fiscal 2008 to help reduce costs and increase market share and revenues.

In line with the improvement plan, Meredith increased its total share of magazine advertising from 9.4 percent to 11.1 percent, and decreased its operating costs by 6 percent, despite a 7 percent increase in paper prices.

“The plan we proactively put in place nearly one year ago is yielding improving results across many of our businesses,” Lacy said in a release. “We will eliminate approximately $100 million, or 20 percent, of our debt load in fiscal 2009, and we continue to be well-positioned to make further investments in our business as strategic opportunities arise.”

As of March 31, Meredith’s total debt load was $455 million, which was only $30 million less than it was on June 30.

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