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FP Canadian Newspapers sees decline in Q1 profit

The company which owns the Winnipeg Free Press, the Brandon Sun and a number of regional newspapers has reported a big drop in profit for the first quarter of 2014.

FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership (FPLP) said today that net earnings fell by 41.7 per cent to $1.7 million from $2.9 million in the wake of an 8.7 per cent decline in overall revenues.

EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) was also down, falling by 29.5 per cent to $3.1 million from $4.4 million in the first three months of 2013.

The company said the biggest revenue decline was in print advertising revenues, which fell by $1.9 million, or 10.9 per cent, to $15.2 million for the quarter. That decline there was largely due to a 15.8 per cent reduction in revenue in the largest print advertising revenue category — display advertising — where spending was down on both automotive and telecommunications advertising.

Classified advertising revenues declined by $100,000, or 4.3 per cent, while print circulation revenues decreased by $400,000, or 5.8 per cent. Flyer distribution revenues were unchanged.

On the bright side, the company was able to reduce its operating expenses for the quarter. They declined by $1 million, or 4.3 per cent, to $21.5 million, thanks to savings in employee compensation costs, newsprint expenses and other costs.

FP Newspapers Inc. (FPI) — the publicly traded company which owns securities entitling it to 49 per cent of the distributable cash of FPLP — also saw its net earnings for the quarter tumble to $500,000, or 7.9 cents per share, from $1 million, or 14.1 cents per share a year earlier.

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