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TBS Reports First Annual Profit Since 1985

February 19, 1991

ATLANTA (AP) _ Turner Broadcasting System Inc. on Tuesday reported a small profit for the 1990 fourth quarter, as well as its first annual profit since 1985.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, TBS had earnings of $7.3 million, compared with a $110.9 million loss in the same period a year earlier. The company reported a per-share loss of 3 cents, down from a loss of 83 cents a share, after paying dividends on preferred stock.

Revenue came to $356.5 million, up from $292.8 million in the 1989 period.

For the year, Turner reported a profit of $4.6 million compared with a loss of $70.7 million in 1989. Per-share losses came to 28 cents, vs. a loss of 80 cents in 1989.

Operating profit in 1990 came to $201.3 million, down from $266.1 million in 1989. TBS Chairman R.E. Turner attributed the decline to a $33.1 million loss on the 1990 Goodwill Games and a softer advertising climate.

Full-year revenues rose to $1.39 billion from $1.06 billion in 1989 due to a 78 percent increase in entertainment division revenues, including subscriber fees and advertising. The news division, including Cable News Network and Headline News, had a 16 percent increase in revenues.

The earnings statement covered the period just before the start of the Persian Gulf War, which is expected to have an adverse effect on earnings. Each of the networks has lost advertising revenue because of the war, while having to devote additional staff and equipment to covering the military actions that began Jan. 17.

CNN is continuing to devote almost all of its resources to reporting the war.

″While global hostilities and domestic economic problems cause us to view 1991 cautiously, we are optimistic that investments made in 1990 ... will enable us to show further improvements in operating performance in the current year,″ Turner said in a statement.

He noted that the decline in operating profits was due primarily to the loss on the Goodwill Games, the advertising climate and a $39 million gain in 1989 because of a tax settlement.

″The company’s bottom-line results are markedly improved,″ Turner said.

Turner, based in Atlanta, owns four cable television networks, the Atlanta Braves baseball team, the Atlanta Hawks basketball team, a real estate business and a licensing and syndication division.

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