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Disney Hurt at Box Office in 4th Q

November 4, 1998

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) _ New venture operating losses and the box office bombs ``Holy Man″ and ``Beloved,″ hurt the Walt Disney Co. in the fourth quarter as it failed to beat analysts’ expectations.

Disney earned $296 million, or 14 cents per diluted share, a decrease of 26 percent from the $390 million, or 19 cents per diluted share, earned in the year-ago quarter.

Fourth-quarter revenues increased 13 percent from $5.4 billion to $6.1 billion.

A survey of First Call analysts had projected earnings of 15 cents a share.

For the year, Disney reported a slight increase in earnings due to theme park and resort growth.

Revenues for the year increased 6 percent to $23 billion and operating income decreased 2 percent to $4.0 billion. Net income for the year increased 4 percent to $1.9 billion and diluted earnings per share increased 3 percent to 89 cents, on par with analysts’ expectations.

All share data reflects a 3-for-1 stock split in the latest quarter.

Disney said results for the quarter and the fiscal year also reflect charges of $64 million due to downsizing in Disney’s consumer products business, particularly in response to Asian economic difficulties and consolidation of certain studio operations in its movie business.

``Although our 1998 results do not match the overall growth levels attained in previous years, we did experience continued strong growth from our theme parks, driven by the success of Animal Kingdom and new resort properties at Walt Disney World and New Tomorrowland at Disneyland,″ Disney chairman Michael D. Eisner said in a statement.

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