Clear Channel falls short in first quarter, warns on second quarter

Friday, April 27th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ Clear Channel Communications Inc., the largest U.S. radio broadcaster, reported a wider-than-expected first quarter loss Thursday. The company also warned of lower second-quarter results.

However, the San Antonio-based company slightly beat forecasts for cash flow.

Clear Channel's net loss was $309 million, or 53 cents per share, compared with a loss of $39 million, or 12 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call were expecting a loss of 45 cents per share.

To avoid the impact of acquisitions on the bottom line, analysts often measure growing media companies by their after-tax cash flow _ net income before depreciation, amortization of goodwill from acquisitions and other special charges.

Clear Channel said its after-tax cash flow rose to $324 million, or 52 cents per share, compared with $192 million, or 51 cents per share, a year earlier. The company beat expectations by a penny.

Clear Channel said first-quarter revenue grew more than doubled, to $1.76 billion from $871.3 million in the first quarter of 2000.

``Despite the tough comparisons, we were able to increase after tax cash flow per share, the best measure of our performance, versus the outstanding first quarter of last year,'' said Lowry Mays, chairman and chief executive officer. ``Most importantly, after tax cash flow per share during the first quarter of 2001 has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 19 percent since the first quarter of 1999.''

Clear Channel said it sees a second quarter loss of $170 million, or 28 cents a share, much wider than the current consensus view of a loss of 9 cents a share.

The company sees second quarter revenue of $2.09 billion, which also compares unfavorably with consensus estimates of $2.24 billion, as complied by Thomson Financial/First Call.

Shares of Clear Channel closed at $58.74, up $1.27, on the New York Stock Exchange.