November 2, 2016 / 10:52 AM / 2 years ago

Publisher Torstar reports bigger-than-expected adjusted loss

Torstar Corp President and Chief Executive Officer David Holland looks on at the annual general meeting for shareholders in Toronto, May 5, 2010. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

(Reuters) - Torstar Corp, owner of Canada’s largest circulation daily newspaper, reported a bigger-than-expected adjusted third- quarter loss as it struggles with slumping advertising revenue.

Torstar said its operating revenue also fell, by 12.6 percent to C$162.1 million ($121.15 million), but the publisher of the Toronto Star recorded its first net profit in seven quarters, helped by the sale of a printing plant.

The company said on Wednesday it was difficult to predict performance for the rest of 2016, with lower revenue trends extending into the current quarter. However, it said digital revenue growth was expected for the rest of the year.

Torstar, which introduced its Star Touch app last year, has spent millions buying online community forums on hunting, fishing, autos and other topics as it tries to make up for dropping revenue from print advertising.

Torstar reported net income attributable to shareholders of C$1.4 million ($1.05 million), or 2 Canadian cents per share, for the quarter, including a gain of C$21.8 million from the sale of the Toronto Star’s printing plant.

That compared with a net loss of C$164.3 million, or C$2.05 per share, in the same period last year.

The year-earlier period included C$147.8 million of impairment charges and C$25.3 million of charges related to amortization and depreciation.

On an adjusted basis, Torstar reported a loss of 8 Canadian cents per share, steeper than the average analysts’ estimate of 5 Canadian cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

($1 = 1.3389 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by John Benny in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr

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