* Publisher of Canada's largest daily newspaper cuts 67 jobs
* Fourth-qtr earnings C$0.30 versus C$0.81 a year earlier
* Revenue falls 7 pct, company could delay dividend increase
* Shares plummet 9 pct in early trading
TORONTO, March 6 Torstar Corp,
publisher of the Toronto Star, Canada's largest daily newspaper,
cut 67 jobs and said it would rein in costs in 2013 as the
revenue outlook from its main media business remained uncertain.
Its profit and revenue slips in the fourth quarter were
worse than anticipated by analysts, and the company warned of
continued tough times ahead. Its shares fell almost 9 percent in
Torstar, like many publishers in North America, has
struggled with declining print advertising. It has been
investing to create digital content as more readers move online,
while also aggressively cutting jobs.
"Costs continue to be an area of emphasis as we resize the
cost base in response to the pressures on ad revenue," David
Holland, Torstar's chief executive, said on a call with
He said the company expects to save C$6.6 million a year in
labor costs once the job cuts are fully implemented, while early
indications point to more print advertising weakness in 2013.
Higher royalties paid to authors for digital sales, and
promotional and incentive spending also hurt profit.
RBC analyst Haran Posner said Torstar had suffered another
challenging quarter, with the company's community newspapers
providing the only positive surprise.
The company, which publishes more than 100 newspapers in
Canada, said it could delay its dividend increases as an
increased portion of its free cash gets funneled to pension
Net income attributable to equity shareholders fell to
C$24.1 million, or 30 Canadian cents per share, from C$64.3
million, or 81 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.
Revenue fell 7 percent to C$395.7 million primarily on lower
The declines in print revenue were only partially offset by
an increase in digital revenue, the company said.
Excluding restructuring and others charges, Torstar earned
49 Canadian cents per share.
Analysts had expected earnings of 53 Canadian cents per
share on revenue of C$413.65 million, according to Thomson
Torstar's shares fell 10 percent to C$7.11 in early trading
on the Toronto Stock Exchange. They had fallen some 36 percent
in the past six months, prior to Wednesday's drop.
The company's Star Media group owns numerous titles
including the online newspaper thestar.com, the weekly city
magazine The Grid, and the Canadian Immigrant magazine.
The media business accounted for 73 percent of Torstar's
operating revenue of C$395.7 million in the fourth quarter.
The company said it cut 260 jobs in 2012.
Canadian media and telecommunications conglomerate Quebecor
Inc cut 500 jobs in its Sun Media division
in November and said it planned to charge for online access to