Saga Communications’ Q4 revenue spiked 10.3% from the comparable period in 2011 to $35.5 million. Operating income was up a healthy 27.8% to $9.8 million compared to $7.7 million for the same period last year. Station operating expense (includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations) was up 3.3% to $23.6 million for the quarter compared to Q4 2011.
Net income for the quarter was $5.8 million ($1.01 per fully diluted share) compared to $4.1 million ($0.72 per fully diluted share) for the same period last year. All per share amounts are adjusted for the 4 for 3 stock split on 1/16/13. Capital expenditures in Q4 were $956K compared to $1.4 million for the same period last year. Free cash flow increased 11.2% to $8.2 million.
Revenue for the full year was up 4.0% to $130.3 million from $125.3 million in 2011. Operating income from continuing operations increased 19.7% to $32.0 million compared to $26.8 million for the same period last year. Station operating expense was down 1.0% to $90.3 million.
Net income for the year was $17.9 million ($3.16 per fully diluted share) compared to net income of $12.6 million ($2.23 per fully diluted share) in 2011. Saga reported free cash flow increased 9.5% to $25.1 million for the year. Capital expenditures were $4.9 million compared to $5.6 million for the comparable period last year. The company currently expects to spend approximately $5.0 million on Cap Ex in 2013.
Noted Wells Fargo Securities Analyst Marci Ryvicker: “Q4 revenue of $35.5MM (+10.2%) was ahead of our $34.5MM (+7.0%) forecast – the beat was in radio revenue, which was $30.6MM (+9.5%) v. our $29.3MM (+5.0%), while TV revenue was slightly below our estimate at $5.0MM (+15.1%) v. our $5.2MM (+20.0%).
EBITDA was $11.6MM (+21.4%) v. our $11.4MM (+19.6%) est. driven by radio. The higher-than-expected revenue results more than offset expenses, which came in above our estimates, leading to a slight EBITDA beat of $11.6MM (+21.4%) v. our $11.4MM (+19.6%) forecast.
In particular, radio expenses were up +3.4% v. our +1.0% expectation and television expenses grew +7.5% v. our +1.0% expectation. Taking segment revenue and expenses together, radio profitability exceeded our estimate by $0.8MM, while television profitability was $0.4MM below our estimate.
EPS from continuing operations of $1.02 beat our $0.97 estimate. The beat came mostly from EBITDA, with an additional boost from lower interest expense and taxes.
No Q1 revenue or expenses guidance was provided. SGA did guide to 2013E capex of $5MM, which is in line with our estimate. Bottom line, the radio results were strong and drove the beat, while television was a bit weaker than expected.”