Post Co. 4Q Profit Down Despite Revenue Gain

By Frank Ahrens
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 28, 2007 1:08 PM

The Washington Post Co. said today its fourth-quarter profit was down 6.7 percent to $95.5 million, from $102.4 million in 2005, despite a 10 percent gain in revenue.

The company generated profit of $325 million ($33.68 per share) on $3.9 billion in revenue in 2006, up from $314 million ($32.59 per share) on $3.6 billion in revenue in 2005.

Revenue at The Post Co.'s Kaplan Inc. education division continued to surge -- it rose 19 percent for the year, to $1.7 billion, outpacing all other Post Co. business units. Yearly revenue was up 11 percent at the company's Cable One Inc. business, 9 percent at its six television stations, and 1 percent at its newspaper division. It was down 4 percent at its magazine division, which includes Newsweek.

The company does not break out profit for its divisions.

The Post Co. attributed the fourth-quarter slump to several one-time expenses, including early-retirement buyouts for about 100 Post employees, $14 million worth of stock compensation for Kaplan executives, the cost of settling a $13 million lawsuit at Kaplan and an ongoing decline in advertising revenue at its newspaper division, which includes The Post and several smaller papers.

Advertising at The Washington Post was down 8 percent in the fourth quarter and 4 percent for the year (to $573 million), compared to 2005. Online advertising -- primarily -- was up 28 percent to $103 million for the year, breaking the $100 million mark for the first time.

Daily circulation at The Post for 2006 was down 2.9 percent to 673,000, and Sunday circulation was down 3.2 percent to 937,700, compared to a year ago. The numbers represent an improvement from 2005 declines, when daily and Sunday circulations each dropped more than 4 percent compared to 2004.

Post Co. stock was down slightly in morning trading.

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