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Sinclair Broadcast Group net income down 41 percent

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.'s second-quarter net income fell 41 percent, to $17.8 million, or 19 cents a share, from $30.1 million, or 37 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier but beat Wall Street's expectations.

Profits for the three months that ended June 30 included a $16.3 million, onetime loss from the extinguishment of debt, the Hunt Valley-based broadcaster reported. Earnings would have been 30 cents a share without the loss from paying down debt, the company said.

Earnings beat Wall Street analysts' estimates of 18 cents a share.

Net broadcast revenue from continuing operations rose more than 28 percent for the quarter, to $279.3 million, compared with $217.6 million in the second quarter of 2012, Sinclair reported.

Marci Ryvicker, a senior analyst with Wells Fargo Securities, issued a report touting "great results" for a quarter that showed strength in core advertising categories, which include automotive, telecommunications and grocery.

Political revenue fell to $1.5 million in the second quarter of 2013 from $11.4 million in the second quarter of 2012. But local net broadcast revenue jumped nearly 40 percent and national net broadcast revenue were up 7 percent, Sinclair said.

Sinclair CEO David Smith said the first half of the year has been successful in terms of the company's performance and growth through TV station acquisitions. Sinclair announced last week that it plans to purchase Allbritton Communications Co.'s seven ABC affiliates and a local cable news network for nearly $1 billion.

Since April, the company has announced the acquisition of 35 additional stations, bringing the total number of acquired stations or planned acquisitions to 91 in two years.

"The effect is to not only grow our national footprint and reach, but to unlock operating synergies, gain access to valuable spectrum, and build a platform whereby we can expand content offerings and shape the future of the broadcast industry," Smith said in the earnings announcement.

The company also announced that it will pay stockholders a quarterly dividend of 15 cents per share Sept. 13. Shares of Sinclair fell 3.2 percent Wednesday to close at $26.58 on the Nasdaq.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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