Sinclair's quarterly income falls 31%, earnings miss estimates

Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcast Group said net income fell 31 percent in the fourth quarter, with earnings missing analysts' estimates by 4 cents per share.

The broadcasting company on Wednesday reported net income of $22.7 million, or 28 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Dec. 31, compared to net income of $33.1 million, or 41 cents per share, in the last three months of 2010.

The company declared a quarterly dividend of 12 cents per share.

Analysts had expected earnings of 32 cents per share on revenue of $211.34 million. Sinclair said its fourth quarter net broadcast revenues from continuing operations decreased nearly 5 percent, from $190.1 million to $180.8 million.

Political advertising revenues in the fourth quarter decreased to $4.1 million, compared to $26.8 million in the same period a year ago. But the company saw 12 percent growth in advertising from automakers, its largest category, compared to the fourth quarter of 2010.

"As we look ahead to 2012, our outlook is for continued ad spending growth by the automotive industry, as well as an increase in political advertising in this presidential election year," said David Smith, Sinclair's president and chief executive.

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