CBS' fourth-quarter results mixed

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NEW YORK -- CBS Corp. reported mixed fourth-quarter results Tuesday and predicted low to mid-single-digit percentage growth in profits for 2008 despite economic concerns on Wall Street.

Fourth-quarter results for CBS Corp. showed strength in outdoor and lower TV and radio results.

The company expects operating income before depreciation and amortization and operating profit to grow 3%-5% each this year when excluding stock-based compensation expense. For 2007, those metrics hit $3.18 billion and $2.73 billion, respectively.

Revenue of $3.76 billion for the fourth quarter meant a 3% decline over the year-ago period, but OIBDA rose 4% to $824 Million, leaving full-year OIBDA up 1% at $3.1 billion. That gain came despite a 2% revenue decrease in 2007 to $14.1 billion.

Net earnings from continuing operations on an adjusted basis were $366.7 million for the fourth quarter, down from $410.6 million for the prior-year period due to a higher effective income tax rate, the absence of UPN, as well as TV and radio station sales.

Operating income edged up 3% in the quarter and 1% for the year to $705 million and $2.62 billion, respectively.

"We finished 2007 with our businesses well poised to increase revenues and profits in 2008 and beyond," president and CEO Leslie Moonves said. "I'm particularly pleased with the recent resolution of the WGA strike, which has restored stability to the network season."

He also once again received accolades from his boss and controlling shareholder. "I'm very pleased that CBS has turned in another solid quarter while making significant strides in the expanding interactive marketplace," executive chairman Sumner Redstone said. "Leslie and his team continue to lead the company with distinction, capitalizing upon our strength today and positioning CBS for success in the months and years to come."

Television revenue for the fourth quarter decreased 4% to $2.5 billion because of a 7% decline in advertising revenue, reflecting lower political advertising sales, which had set a record in the fourth quarter of 2006. TV station divestitures also affected results. Television OIBDA before impairment charges decreased 6% to $501.6 million.

Radio revenue on a "same station" basis, excluding divested stations, fell 7% and reported revenue dropped 10%. Weakness in advertising sales and the impact of the radio station divestitures in 10 markets were the culprits.

Radio OIBDA for the fourth quarter decreased 21% to $167.4 million.
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