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New York Times Q1 Profit Up 66%; Results Beat View

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New York Times Co. (NYT) on Thursday reported a 66 percent surge in profit for the first quarter from last year on higher revenues reflecting strong growth in the company's digital subscription business.

First-quarter net income attributable to New York Times common stockholders rose to $21.91 million or $0.13 per share from $13.18 million or $0.08 per share in the prior year.

The latest quarter's results include a charge of $1.4 million after tax or $.01 per share in connection with the redesign and consolidation of space in the company's headquarters building.

Adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations were $0.17, compared to $0.10 per share in the year-ago period.

On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $0.15 per share. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Total revenues for the quarter grew 3.8 percent to $413.95 million from $398.80 million in the same period last year. Analysts expected revenue of $409.07 million.

Subscription revenues increased 7.5 percent, while advertising revenues decreased 3.4 percent and other revenues increased 5.0 percent. The increase in subscription revenues was primarily due to growth in recent quarters in the number of subscriptions to the company's digital-only products.

Operating profit rose to $34.1 million from $27.8 million in the same period last year, principally driven by strong digital subscription revenues, which were partially offset by higher operating costs and lower print advertising revenues.

Mark Thompson, President and CEO of New York Times Co., said, "In the first quarter, we saw increases in revenue and overall profitability and continued solid growth in our digital subscription business. The strong demand for the high quality, independent journalism that The Times produces resulted in a 139,000 net increase in digital-only subscriptions for the quarter."

Looking ahead to the second quarter, New York Times forecast subscription revenues to increase in the mid-single digits and advertising revenues to decrease in the low-teens compared with the year-ago period.

The company also said it expects another down quarter in digital advertising in the second quarter, but was confident of returning to solid year-over-year growth in the third quarter.

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