Author`s name Pravda.Ru

Media company Meredith new magazines help set first quarter earnings record

Meredith Corp. said Monday profit rose 11 percent in its fiscal first quarter as the acquisition of five magazines boosted sales.

The media company reported net income of $26.4 million (Ђ22.1 million), or 52 cents a share, in the period ended Sept. 30, up from $23.9 million, or 46 cents a share, a year ago.

The results beat by 1 cent per share the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

Sales increased 35 percent to $390.3 million (Ђ327 million), with advertising revenue up 29 percent. Excluding the new magazines, sales grew 6 percent to $306.9 million (Ђ257 million), the company said.

Meredith completed its $350 million (Ђ293 million) purchase of Parents, Family Circle, Fitness, Child and Ser Padres magazines from German-based Gruner + Jahr Ag & Co. on July 1.

Chief Executive William T. Kerr said the performance of the new magazines was meeting expectations.

"This strong start to fiscal 2006 follows record results in fiscal 2005 and once again validates our ability to execute our growth strategies," Kerr said.

Publishing advertising revenue grew 50 percent, mostly because of the addition of the new magazines. Excluding them, sales grew 4 percent on gains from Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies' Home Journal, Traditional Home, More and American Baby magazines.

Meredith Books and the company's Integrated Marketing units each increased sales by more than 25 percent, the company said.

Broadcasting sales declined 2 percent to $71.8 million (Ђ60 million), mostly because of the absence of $6.4 million in political advertising. The decrease was partially offset by nonpolitical advertising, which rose 7 percent.

The company affirmed analysts' earnings estimates of 56 cents per share in the second quarter and $2.83 for the year.

The Meredith publishing group features 25 subscription magazine brands and special interest publications.

Meredith also owns television stations across the U.S., AP reported. V.A.