Even In Bankruptcy, Tribune Makes Money But Margins Keep Slipping

newspapers on table

Since filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December, The Tribune Company has been burning through cash and though still profitable, the publisher is significantly less so than it was six months ago, Morningstar Inc. analyst Tom Corbett told Crain’s Chicago Business. To be sure, bankruptcy doesn’t mean you’re not profitable, as Tribune brought in $112 million more in cash than it spent between January and the end of May, the Tribune added, citing bankruptcy filings. To put that number in context, in Q108, Tribune’s operating profit was $143.3 million, a figure that represented a 21 percent drop from the year before.

Just like other newspapers: Corbett added that Tribune’s balance sheet resembles all the other newspaper publisher financials he’s seen lately. While Tribune’s revenue fell roughly 23 percent in the past six months, said Corbett, who says he has poured over the company’s recent bankruptcy filings. While it doesn’t offer revenue and net income reports anymore, Tribune does publicly post its operating receipts, which dropped 14 percent to $1.36 billion during the six-month period ending May 31. While not exactly comparable, in Q1, the newspaper industry suffered its worst quarter in 50 years, when revenues plummeted 28 percent.

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