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FINANCIAL STATIC FOR
CLEAR CHANNEL
Texans Boot Their Forecast,
Will Buy More Stuff Anyway
Clear Channel Communications—owner of over 1,200 radio stations, 19 television stations and over three-quarters of a million billboards, at last count—said its fourth-quarter loss widened to $365.6 million over last year’s Q4 loss of $192 million.

At 61 cents a share compared to 33 cents a share last year, that’s nearly double. Analysts had expected a loss of 45 cents a share. Adding to the fun, the continuing slump in the ad market pushed the company’s Q4 revenue down 8 percent to $1.86 billion. EBITDA, meanwhile, took a 46-percent tumble to $345 million.

Clear Channel said it intends to take a one-time charge of $15-25 billion (yes, billion) in order to comply with new accounting rules pertaining to the amortization of goodwill, just one of the many, many things we know nothing about—or just close enough to nothing to get us into lots of trouble. This one has to do with writing off the premium paid to acquire an asset over time. Or something.

For 2001 as a whole, the company’s net loss was $1.14 billion, or $1.93 a share. This compares unfavorably with the prior year’s results, when Clear Channel was in the black with net income of $248.8 million, or 57 cents a share.

At the end of Q4, Clear Channel had written $9.5 billion in I.O.U.s, but management says its $3 billion credit line should be enough to keep the bill collectors happy for the time being. And as for all that deregulation stuff last week in the cable and TV sectors, the company says it’s still more interested in increasing its share of the radio market, which stands at around 10 percent.

As of this writing, Clear Channel shares were down 4.7 percent to $46.80 from yesterday’s close of $49.09 in heavy trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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