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A pedestrian walks past a Toronto Star newspaper box in front of the Toronto Star building at One Yonge Street in Toronto. (MARK BLINCH/REUTERS)
A pedestrian walks past a Toronto Star newspaper box in front of the Toronto Star building at One Yonge Street in Toronto. (MARK BLINCH/REUTERS)

Torstar profit rises on revenue gains Add to ...

Newspaper publisher Torstar Corp. said Wednesday its third-quarter net profits jumped by 74 per cent as the company generated higher revenues.

The owner of the Toronto Star newspaper, the Harlequin book publisher and other media properties said Wednesday it earned $25.2-million or 32 cents a share for the third quarter ended Sept. 30.

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That was up from $14.5-million or 18 cents last year.

Adjusted earnings per share were 38 cents, a penny higher than a year earlier, and two cents better than analysts had predicted, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.

Revenue increased to $378.7-million from $353.7-million.

“Results continue to be mixed in 2011,” said David Holland, president and CEO of the company.

“EBITDA (earnings before interest taxes, depreciation and amortization) was down slightly, by $1.4 million to $53.7 million in the quarter, with improved Harlequin results offset by a modest decline in Media.

“We view the third quarter results to be solid given the economic environment in which we are operating. The diversification of our asset base is serving us well in a challenging environment.”

Torstar made two newspaper acquisition deals in October.

The Toronto-based company is paying $22.5-million to buy Performance Printing Ltd. of Smiths Falls, Ont., a publisher of community papers and ad flyers.

It also announced it will pay $51.5-million to take nearly full control of the Canadian chain of Metro free daily newspapers, which are read by more than one million commuters each day.

The Toronto-based media group said it has raised its stake in Metro to 90 per cent from 50 per cent.

In the previous quarter, the publisher of the Toronto Star newspaper acquired beauty website TheKit.ca and struck a deal to distribute print editions of satirical newspaper The Onion in the city.

The company has been struggling in the turbulent media market as readership declines as more people turn to the free digital format, where advertisers pay significantly less than they were in an already weak ad market.

Torstar has about 6,600 employees across its operations, which includes the Star Media Group led by the Star, Canada's largest daily newspaper and digital properties including Thestar.com, Toronto.com, Travelalerts.ca, daily deal website WagJag.com, Workopolis, Olive Media, and EyeReturn Marketing.

The company also owns the Metro free daily newspaper chain, Metroland Media Group, publishers of community and daily newspapers in Ontario, as well as Harlequin Books — the world's biggest publisher of romance fiction.

 

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