Gannett Executives Speak at the UBS Media and Communications Conference
Gannett (NYSE: GCI) executives at the UBS Media and Communications Conference today reported on the company’s business strategy and presented the company’s outlook for 2010. CareerBuilder’s president and chief executive officer also presented with Gannett, which owns 51% of the largest online career site in North America and global leader in human capital solutions.
Craig A. Dubow, Gannett’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, reviewed Gannett’s performance over the last year and said the company had successfully managed through an unprecedented economic environment during 2009 and continued to execute on its strategy.
“We have effectively delivered on our strategic priorities while strengthening the company during this extraordinarily challenging time. We enhanced our core media properties and continued to invest and build out our digital businesses. Many of the changes we made throughout the year were necessary in this economic environment, but they also represent necessary permanent changes,” Dubow said. “Today, we stand as a stronger and better positioned company.”
Bob Dickey, president of U.S. Community Publishing, said, “USCP is seeing signs that readership and revenue are beginning to bounce back and trends over the past few months suggest we are emerging from a cyclical economic downturn. We fundamentally restructured how we do business in 2009. That fiscal prudence now leaves us poised to take advantage of any economic improvements at the local level.”
Reviewing the fourth quarter 2009 and 2010 outlook for Gannett’s broadcast division, Dave Lougee, president of Gannett Broadcast, said, “This year is ending decidedly different than it began and our underlying trends are now positive. Looking to 2010, Gannett’s political footprint is very strong and fundraising and spending are expected to be very heavy. Combining all of Gannett’s assets with the strength of our twelve NBC stations, the winter Olympics in Vancouver will be a big opportunity for us.”
Chris Saridakis, chief digital officer, provided an update on Gannett’s digital businesses, noting growth in key areas. “We are pleased that our online audiences continue to show solid growth in both page views and unique visitors. PointRoll continues to grow impressions and its client roster, taking share from the competition. Our acquisition of ShopLocal continues to exceed our expectations and synergies between PointRoll and ShopLocal should drive revenue growth in 2010 and beyond.”
Matt Ferguson, president and chief executive officer of CareerBuilder, reviewed that company’s competitive positioning efforts and growth strategies. “Although it has been a tough economic and labor environment, CareerBuilder has gained significant market share over its competitors during this downturn and our traffic has maintained its leadership position in the United States.”
Reporting on Newsquest and Digital segment results, Gracia Martore, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said, “The economy in the UK seems to be stabilizing and advertising revenue declines have slowed considerably. The management team at Newsquest, as have our other division teams, has done an outstanding job controlling expenses. As a result, the bottom line improved year-over-year this quarter.” Regarding Gannett’s Digital segment, Martore said, “Revenue growth at PointRoll and ShopLocal as well as cost control efforts at CareerBuilder enabled us to maintain solid profitability in the digital segment.”
Martore also reported on company-wide results for 2009 and some key assumptions for 2010. “The company is clearly comfortable with the high end of current fourth quarter 2009 earnings per share estimates which range from $0.48 to $0.62,” she said.
Speeches by the Gannett executives will be available by Webcast for 30 days at www.gannett.com.
Attached to this release and posted on the company’s Web site under Investor Relations are Gannett’s operating assumptions for 2010.
Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) is an international news and information company operating on multiple platforms including the Internet, mobile, newspapers, magazines and TV stations. Gannett is an Internet leader with hundreds of newspaper and TV Web sites; CareerBuilder.com, the nation’s top employment site; USATODAY.com; and more than 80 local MomsLikeMe.com sites. Gannett publishes 84 daily U.S. newspapers, including USA TODAY, the nation’s largest-selling daily newspaper, and more than 700 magazines and other non-dailies including USA WEEKEND. Gannett also operates 23 television stations in 19 U.S. markets. Gannett subsidiary Newsquest is the United Kingdom’s second largest regional newspaper company with 17 daily paid-for titles, more than 200 weekly newspapers, magazines and trade publications, and a network of Web sites.
Certain factors affecting forward-looking statements
Certain statements in this press release, including the operating assumptions for 2010, may be deemed “forward-looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release, including the operating assumptions, are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could adversely affect the company’s ability to obtain these results include, without limitation, the following factors: a) increased consolidation among major retailers or other events which may adversely affect business operations of major customers and depress the level of local and national advertising; (b) a continuance of the economic recessionary conditions in the U.S. and the UK or a further economic downturn leading to a continuing or accelerated decrease in circulation or local, national or classified advertising; (c) a decline in general newspaper readership and/or advertiser patterns as a result of competitive alternative media or other factors; (d) an increase in newsprint or syndication programming costs over the levels anticipated; (e) labor disputes which may cause revenue declines or increased labor costs; (f) acquisitions of new businesses or dispositions of existing businesses; (g) a decline in viewership of major networks and local news programming; (h) rapid technological changes and frequent new product introductions prevalent in electronic publishing; (i) an increase in interest rates; (j) a weakening in the British pound to U.S. dollar exchange rate; (k) volatility in financial and credit markets which could affect the value of retirement plan assets and the Company’s ability to raise funds through debt or equity issuances; (1) changes in the regulatory environment; (m) an other than temporary decline in operating results and enterprise value that could lead to further non-cash goodwill, or other intangible asset or property, plant and equipment impairment charges; (n) credit rating downgrades, which could affect the availability and cost of future financing; and (o) general economic, political and business conditions. Other risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements are disclosed from time to time in the Company’s current and periodic SEC reports. Any forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated in light of these important risk factors.
Gannett is not responsible for updating the information contained in these assumptions beyond the published date, or for changes made to the assumptions by wire services, Internet service providers or other media.
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Director, Investor Relations
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Vice President of Corporate Communications
GANNETT CO., INC.
OPERATING ASSUMPTIONS – 2010
A. Headcount down high-single digits primarily due to carryover
effect of actions taken during 2009.
B. Other costs down mid-single digits.
A. Headcount will be down slightly.
B. Costs are expected to be up low-single digits in line with
A. Headcount down low-single digits
B. Costs up slightly
A. Domestic costs will decrease in the low teens.
B. Newsquest costs will decline in the mid teens.
CONSOLIDATED GANNETT (Including Acquisitions)
A. Capital Expenditures
1. 2010 Plan $85,000,000
2. 2009 Estimate $65,000,000 – $75,000,000
1. 2010 Plan $188,000,000
2. 2009 Estimate $209,000,000
C. Amortization of Intangibles (Goodwill and Other)
1. 2010 Plan $31,800,000
2. 2009 Estimate $33,000,000
D. Benefit Costs
1. Pension expense will be slightly less than 2009.
2. Health care costs will be about flat with 2009.
E. Interest Expense
We expect our debt at the beginning of the year to be about
$3.1 billion. For budget purposes only, we have assumed that
all of our free cash flow will be used to pay down debt.
F. Tax Rate
The tax rate for 2010 will be approximately 35.0%, depending
on the mix of earnings.