Wednesday, February 25, 2004

4th-quarter profits static for Clear Channel


The Associated Press

DALLAS - Radio giant Clear Channel Communications Inc. posted almost flat profits in the fourth quarter Tuesday, falling short of Wall Street expectations due to weak demand for advertising on local stations.

Clear Channel, the nation's largest radio station owner - which operates eight radio stations and one television station in Greater Cincinnati - earned $187 million, or 30 cents a share, in the October-December period, compared with $184 million, also 30 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had expected profit of 33 cents a share.

The San Antonio-based company said revenue rose 4 percent to $2.29 billion from $2.21 billion.

For all of 2003, Clear Channel earned $1.15 billion, or $1.85 a share, compared with $725 million, or $1.18 a share in 2002. Revenue for 2003 was $8.93 billion, up from $8.42 billion in 2002.

Shares of Clear Channel fell 92 cents to $42.92 Tuesday.

Smithfield Foods Inc.

The nation's largest hog producer and pork processor, parent of John Morrell meat processors in Springdale, reported sharply higher earnings in its fiscal third quarter.

The Smithfield, Va.-based company said its net income soared to $46.1 million, or 41 cents a share, in the quarter ended Feb. 1, from $5.3 million, or 5 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.

Sales rose to $2.70 billion in the quarter from $1.81 billion in the year-ago period.

The fiscal 2004 third quarter included the results of newly acquired Farmland Foods, a pork production and processing business. It also reflected $7.5 million in financing costs related to a short-term loan obtained to finance last year's purchase of Farmland Foods.

Smithfield shares fell 13 cents to $24.32.

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