Times Mirror reported Thursday that its first-quarter earnings rose 35% from the year before, largely on the strength of its newspaper and professional book publishing operations.
The company, publisher of the Los Angeles Times and eight other newspapers, said it earned $58 million in the first quarter.
"We expect that operating earnings for the full year will exceed the record results of 1986, although the first quarter's exceptional pace may not be maintained," said Robert F. Erburu, chairman and chief executive.
The quarterly results, Erburu said, also reflect efficiencies gained by the company's restructuring over the last two years to concentrate on core businesses.
The improved profit, for instance, came even though revenue rose only 3%, to $716 million.
Based in Los Angeles, Times Mirror has interests in newspaper, book and magazine publishing; broadcast and cable television; information services, and other operations.
Profit rose, the company said, despite the absence of various businesses sold last year to complete the restructuring, including microwave operations, a graphics company, most of its paper products group and three television stations.
A major contributor to the improved quarterly results was the company's newspaper publishing operations, which posted a pretax operating profit of $82 million, a 24% gain from the year before. The company said the "most significant" improvement occurred at The Times. The Baltimore Sun newspapers, acquired last year, also "contributed strongly," the company's statement said.
Operating profit also rose a dramatic 234% in the company's book, magazine and other publishing divisions, reaching $22 million. Matthew Bender (a legal publisher), Learning International (a professional training firm) and Jeppesen Sanderson (an aeronautical chart and pilot training company) were the major contributors.
Operating profit actually declined in the company's other divisions, with cable television down 63% to $5 million, broadcast television down 14% to $12 million and other operations down 45% to $4 million.
These declines were caused in part by the absence of profit from operations sold last year, the company said. Indeed, profit in cable television continuing operations actually improved.
On the other hand, broadcast television is "experiencing a soft advertising environment," the company said, as well as reflecting "the deterioration of the Texas economy."
The company also enjoyed a lower tax rate--to 45.9% from 48.3%--as a result of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.