Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Torstar posts $7M profit as reporters at the Toronto Star stage ‘byline strike’

Torstar Corp. reported a drop in quarterly revenue Wednesday as lower print advertising affected its media business and slower sales hit its Harlequin division.
The company reported first-quarter sales of $310.5-million, down 6.6% from the same period last year although cost containment helped bring net income up to $7.1-million from $4.9-million this time in 2013.
Torstar reported adjusted earnings per share of $0.14, in line with what analysts projected.
The company, which publishes the Toronto Star and Metro group of free commuter newspapers, announced a deal last week to sell its Harlequin romance novel division to News Corp. for $455-million.
Harlequin’s revenues were $99.2-million, down 3.2% from the same period last year, but that figure benefited from a $7.6-million increase from the impact of foreign exchange.
Print advertising at the Toronto Star was down 17% in the quarter, publisher John Cruickshank said on Wednesday’s call.
Torstar is holding its annual general meeting in Toronto Wednesday and reporters at the Toronto Star withdrew their bylines from the print and online editions of the publication to coincide with the event.
The Unifor local union organized the a “byline strike” to protest labour practices at the publication including layoffs and plans to create a new job class of digital reporters at lower salaries. (Condensed from the NatPost)

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