Sinclair soars on new acquisitions


SBG / Sinclair Broadcast GroupRapidly expanding Sinclair Broadcast Group realized big gains in key financial categories and figures to keep gaining via the already-announced acquisition of 35 more television stations since 4/1/13. Looking ahead, it expects issue ads involving the Affordable Care Act will help replace missing electoral campaign cash.

Net revenues were up 28.4% in Q2 to $279.3M; and operating income was up 17.2% to $84.3M. A one-time payment to retire debt adversely affected earnings per share, which were $0.19. Sinclair said that excluding the payment, EPS would have been $0.30, still down from $0.37 in Q2 2012.

“The first half of 2013 has been very successful for the Company, not only with respect to the Company’s results but on growing our platform through additional acquisitions of broadcast assets, especially our most recently announced planned acquisition of the Allbritton stations and their local news cable/satellite channel,” commented David Smith, President and CEO of Sinclair.  “Since April 1, 2013, we have announced definitive agreements for the acquisition of 35 additional stations bringing the total number of acquired or announced stations in the past two years to 91.  The effect is to not only grow our national footprint and reach, but to unlock operating synergies, gain access to valuable spectrum, and build a platform whereby we can expand content offerings and shape the future of the broadcast industry.   We are excited about the successes we have achieved and the additional value that we have created and anticipate creating for our shareholders.”

Other factors noted by Sinclair included:

* A drop in political income from $11.4M to $1.5M.

* Local, including advertising and retransmission revenue was up 35.9%, while national gained 7%.

* Strong advertising categories included automotive, telecommunications, furniture, grocery and direct response; weaker categories included schools, paid programming, and restaurants.

Looking ahead, EVP/CFO David Amy said, “We continue to see growth in local and national advertising, excluding political, in the third quarter, as well as continued advertising spending by the automotive sector on our stations, which is estimated to be up high single-digit percents. In addition, we expect political revenues to benefit from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the fourth quarter of 2013.”