Clear Channel earnings drop 54%

Meena Thiruvengadam, Express-News Business Writer

As it lobbies shareholders to vote for an $18.7 billion buyout proposal, Clear Channel Communications Inc. today announced that its fourth-quarter 2006 earnings fell 54 percent. Beating analyst expectations, the nationís largest radio station operator reported fourth-quarter 2006 net income of $211.3 million, or 43 cents a share, down from $461.6 million, or 86 cents a share, including income from discontinued operations, for the same quarter in 2005. Fourth-quarter 2006 revenue rose 11 percent from $1.7 billion in 2005 to $1.9 billion in 2006.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial said they expected quarterly earnings of 41 cents a share and revenue of $1.89 billion.

For the year, Clear Channel said its net income fell 26.1 percent from $935.7 million in 2005 to $691.5 million in 2006. The companyís revenue rose 7 percent from $6.6 billion in 2005 to $7.1 billion in 2006.

Clear Channel said it would not hold the customary conference call to discuss results with analysts because of its pending buyout offer from Boston private equity firms Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners.

Under terms of the buyout deal, 10 percent of Clear Channel Outdoor, a Phoenix-based outdoor advertising company 90 percent owned by Clear Channel, will continue to be traded publicly.

Clear Channel Outdoor released its fourth quarter and full year 2006 financial results in conjunction with Clear Channel Communications.

The company, which operates billboards, street furniture and other outdoor advertising venues, said its fourth-quarter 2006 net income rose 61 percent to $65.1 million, or 18 cents a share, from $40.4 million, or 12 cents a share, in 2005. During the same time, Clear Channel Outdoor revenue, including fluctuations for foreign exchange, rose 13 percent from $734.6 million in 2005 to $830.7 million in 2006.

For the year, Clear Channel Outdoor net income more than doubled from $61.6 million in 2005, or 18 cents a share, to $153.1 million, or 43 cents a share. Revenue was up 9 percent from $2.7 billion in 2005 to $2.9 billion in 2006.

Clear Channel Communications stock was trading at $36.49, up 4 cents this morning on the New York Stock Exchange. Clear Channel Outdoor shares were at $28.23, up 33 cents.

Clear Channel executives declined comment for this article.





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