* Q1 rev $303.7 mln vs est $311.7 mln
* Q1 adj EPS loss $0.04 vs estimated loss $0.10
* Shares fall 8.5 percent to $3.25 in early trading (Adds analyst comment, updates shares)
By Himank Sharma
April 26 (Reuters) - Newspaper publisher McClatchy Co reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue on a 11 percent decline in advertising sales.
Shares of the publisher of the Miami Herald and other U.S. newspapers fell more than 8 percent in morning trading.
“It was a very difficult quarter, much worse than expected,” said Benchmark Co analyst Edward Atorino. “The revenue decline was so large in the first quarter — much more than competition — they are seeing some very weak revenue trends.”
The New York Times Co last week reported a 7.5 percent fall in print advertising revenue while USA Today publisher Gannett Co Inc reported a 6.2 percent decline in publishing revenue as advertisers shunned print spending. [ID:nN20183428] [ID:nN24153263]
First-quarter revenue fell 10 percent to $303.7 million, lower than the $311.7 million that analysts were expecting on average.
That included an 11 percent decline in advertising revenue and a 5 percent decline in circulation revenue.
“The slowing in advertising revenue that we previously reported for January continued through the first quarter,” Chief Executive Gary Pruitt said in a statement. “National advertising continued to be one of the largest areas of decline.”
The company, which publishes the Herald, the Sacramento Bee and the Kansas City Star among other papers, reported a loss of $2 million or 2 cents a share, the same as in the first quarter a year earlier.
McClatchy recorded an Income tax benefit of $16.5 million during the quarter.
“This company has seen a situation that they must have a pileup of tax credit because of their ongoing losses,” Atorino said.
Excluding items, McClatchy lost 4 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, better than the 10-cent loss that analysts were expecting on average.
Shares of Sacramento, California-based McClatchy, which have lost more than a third of their value in the last three months, were down 8.5 percent at $3.25 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Himank Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Robert MacMillan)