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A. H. Belo Announces Full-Year Results, Confuses Me

The financial wires are playing the company’s announcement straight, comparing its 2008 $33.1 million loss against last year’s $343.6 million loss (which was due to gigantic and mostly non-cash write-downs).  But I have questions. From the company’s statement:

The Company generated $5.9 million and $6.1 million in consolidated EBITDA for the fourth quarter and full year 2008, respectively, excluding the $14.0 million non-cash pension obligation. The aggregate newspaper EBITDA margin excluding all special charges mentioned above was 13 percent in the fourth quarter and 10 percent for the full year.

Full-year revenues were $637.3 million. How is $6.1 million a 10 percent margin? Maybe a FrontBurnervian with a better grasp of corporatese can explain what I’m missing. Regardless, $6.1 million is thin gruel (or working capital) on which to feed $600 million or so of revenues. Which is why the company recently announced a renegotiated credit line of $50 million.

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  • Not being productive at work

    I can’t believe I did this, but if you go pull the financial statements that are attached to the press release, you will see there are two EBITDA calculations. One if for the entire company and the second is just for newspaper operations. The $6.1M is for the entire company. The newspaper only EBITDA is $37M. It mentions something about special charges so I guess if you had those back to the $37M then you get to the 10% margin (the overall EBITDA was -7.9M before special charges).

  • tl

    6.1 + 14.0(pension) + 1.5(layoffs) + 14.1(goodwill) + 11.1(severance) + 4.5(impairment)+ 14.0 (pension again because it was not included in EBITDA????) is the only way I can get to $ 65.3 million.

  • Slighty Askew

    Their analyst call begins at 12:30 CT today. It can be heard by visiting their IR site: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?p=irol-eventDetails&c=219524&eventID=2071715.

    I look forward to the Q&A.

  • Annoyed

    I know Belo Corp. has not performed much better, but it is annoying that A.H. Belo posts it’s bad figures today and just plain Belo (the tv side) stock drops 15% while A.H. Belo drops 4%. The guys on Wall Street need to get their facts straight on who is who. I know it is confusing, but come on!

  • Rick Coulon

    I don’t understand everyone’s obsession with their numbers.

  • JS

    Two EBITDA calcs, one for the entire company and one for newspaper operations? I thought the idea of the split was that AH Belo would be a newspaper only company? So what is being excluded from “newspaper operations”? The website? Admin?

  • White Rock Eagle

    I was told there would be no math on this blog.