Granite Reports Q4 Losses, Hires Financial Advisor

Mar 14, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Granite Broadcasting Corp. said Tuesday that it fell deeper into the red in the fourth quarter despite an increase in revenue.

Also Tuesday, the troubled broadcaster announced it has hired a financial advisor to explore ways for the company to meet a June interest payment it presently is unable to make.

Granite, which owns 19 stations, reported a loss of $43.6 million in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with a year-earlier loss of $30.2 million. Revenue rose nearly 6 percent to $24.5 million.

For the year, Granite’s loss widened to $98.9 million from year-earlier red ink of $83.3 million. Revenue for the 12-month period advanced 7 percent to $86.2 million.

The company noted that despite a decline in network compensation and a sharp drop in political advertising revenue, Granite was able to generate $1.5 million in new advertising revenue. The company also benefited from the addition of its recently acquired stations in Duluth, Minn., and Fort Wayne, Ind.

Separately, Granite said that it hired investment firm Houlihan, Lokey Howard & Zukin to help the company identify financing strategies that would enable it to raise the capital needed to make the interest payment, which is due June 1.

Granite had been counting on the sale of its stations in San Francisco and Detroit to help make the payment, but those deals were tabled after The WB Network announced it would shut down at the end of the summer to make way for the launch of the CW Network.

The station sales were also expected to help Granite move ahead with a $45 million purchase of the CBS affiliate WBNG-TV in Binghamton, N.Y. Granite officials said that deal is still moving ahead, even though the company is working out how to finance a purchase.