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Torstar reports Q4 profit as cost-cutting offsets impact of lower revenue

TORONTO — Torstar Corp. had $8.65 million of net income attributable to its shareholders in the fourth quarter, as it benefited from cost-cutting efforts that offset a 10 per cent decline in revenue compared with the year-earlier period.

The profit amounted to 11 cents per share for the three months ended Dec. 31, up from a profit attributable to shareholders of $1.26 million or a penny per share in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Operating revenue for the Toronto-based publishing company was $169.34 million in the three months ended Dec. 31, down from $188.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

On an adjusted basis, Torstar says its adjusted earnings amounted to 32 cents per share, up from 16 cents per share a year earlier.

Torstar said the adjusted earnings included 19 cents per share amortization item related primarily with its investment in VerticalScope, a digital publishing business.

Torstar and Postmedia announced on Nov. 27 that they had exchanged a total of 41 publications and would stop publishing the majority of them, resulting in 291 job losses.

Torstar chief executive John Boynton said in announcing the deal that the transaction would allow for more operational efficiencies and improve annualized operating earnings by between $5 million and $7 million.

Besides the Toronto Star newspaper and its affiliated website, Torstar owns daily and community newspapers throughout Ontario, a 56.4 per cent interest in VerticalScope and minority interests in a number of other companies.

Torstar also holds an investment in The Canadian Press as part of a joint agreement with a subsidiary of the Globe and Mail and the parent company of Montreal's La Presse.

Companies in this story: (TSX:TS.B, TSX:PNC.B)

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