Times Mirror's earnings rose to $12.5 million in quarter


LOS ANGELES -- Times Mirror Co.'s first-quarter earnings from continuing operations, excluding extraordinary items, rose to $12.5 million from $7.5 million in the year-ago period, the media company said yesterday.

Times Mirror's net income in the three months that ended March 31 soared to $1.65 billion, or $13.32 a share, from $22.7 million, or 18 cents, a year ago because of a $1.63 billion gain from the February merger of Times Mirror's cable TV holdings into Cox Communications Inc.

Times Mirror said the exclusion of that and other one-time gains, along with an after-tax restructuring charge of $1.9 million in the latest quarter, produced the $12.5 million in earnings from continuing operations.

Times Mirror, which publishes The Sun and The Evening Sun, along with the Los Angeles Times and other publications, said the higher earnings came on a 5.5 percent increase in its first-quarter revenue, to $774 million from $733.7 million.

The company's newspaper publishing line, its biggest segment, posted a 1 percent increase in revenue, to $476.2 million. But the group's operating profit slipped 2.3 percent, to $35.3 million, partly because of a $3.2 million charge for a voluntary employee-retirement plan at The Baltimore Sun Co. Higher revenue was reported by Times Mirror's two other main groups: its professional-information division, which provides education and trade publications, and its consumer media segment, which produces magazines and multimedia programming.

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