Gannett swings to fourth-quarter profit

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Gannet Co. Inc. reported a $133.6 million profit during the fourth quarter compared with a $4.7 billion loss in the previous year.

Both quarters included special items. During the fourth quarter of 2009, Gannett received $50.1 million in non-cash charges based primarily on facility consolidations, asset impairments and work-force restructuring. In 2008, Gannett’s results included $5.6 billion charges for impairment of goodwill, property, plants and equipment, and work-force restructuring.

Excluding special items, net income fell 11.3 percent to $172 million from $194 million during the same period the year before.

Revenue dropped in the fourth quarter 14.4 percent to $1.5 billion, compared with $1.7 billion the year before.

“Our fourth quarter revenue comparisons were the best of the year with sequential improvement during the quarter,” CEO Craig Pope said in a statement. “Numerous efforts to consolidate and centralize operations along with lower newsprint expense resulted in significantly lower costs.”

For the year, revenues fell 17.1 percent to $5.6 billion, compared with $6.8 billion in 2008. Net income in 2009 rose to $355 million, compared with a $6.6 billion loss the previous year.

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