Profit at The Washington Post Co. was $82.5 million in the fiscal third quarter ($8.57 per share) compared with $19.9 million ($2.06) in the third quarter last year, when the company absorbed nearly $75 million in expenses for stock compensation to executives.
Revenue for the quarter ended Sept. 26 was $820 million, up 16 percent from $706 million in the comparable period last year, attributable to gains across the entire company but fueled by double-digit revenue growth in The Post Co.'s six-station television group and its Kaplan Inc. education division.
The company's television stations benefited from Olympics and election-related advertising. Two of The Post Co.'s six stations are affiliates of NBC, which broadcast the Summer Olympics in August. Station operating income for the third quarter was up 36 percent to $43 million, compared with the same period last year. Hurricane-related ad losses in Miami and Orlando offset the gains.
Kaplan -- a wholly owned Post Co. subsidiary that sells test-preparation and other education services -- showed a third-quarter revenue gain of 31 percent, to $294 million, with operating income of $38 million, compared with a $43 million operating loss in the third quarter last year, when the company bought back a large share of outstanding stock options at Kaplan.
The Post newspaper bucked an industry trend of declining help-wanted advertising, showing a 23 percent quarterly gain in classified recruitment ad revenue compared with last year, up to $20 million. Newspaper circulation, however, fell. For the first nine months of 2004, Post daily circulation was down 3.3 percent to 709,500 copies and Sunday circulation was down 2.3 percent to 1.014 million.
Ad revenue at washingtonpost.com for the third quarter was $16 million, up from $12 million in the third quarter last year.
* Alliance Bankshares Corp. said lower gains on the sale of assets and higher operating expenses led to a drop in third-quarter earnings.
The Chantilly-based bank said it earned $851,000 (17 cents) in the quarter, compared with a profit of $1.15 million (33 cents) in the third quarter of 2003.
Alliance's assets on Sept. 30 were $525.7 million, up from $369 million.
* Constellation Energy Group, parent company of Baltimore Gas and Electric, said third-quarter profit rose 9 percent, to $210.4 million ($1.19). Revenue rose 32 percent, to $3.43 billion .
* GTSI Corp., a Chantilly government technology contractor, earned $10.5 million ($1.13) in the third quarter, up from $3.5 million (39 cents). Sales were $330.6 million, up 21 percent.
* Sherwood Brands Inc., a Rockville candy manufacturer and distributor, reported a $4.1 million loss ($1.02) for the fiscal year ended July 31, compared with a loss the previous year of $5.37 million ($1.34.) Revenue for the year was $45.9 million, down from $49.2 million a year earlier.
The company said it is phasing out domestic manufacturing in favor of purchasing hard candy from South America and gift baskets from China. It said it will close its candy cane factory in New York in November 2005.