Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cashing In

In case you missed it, this little nugget was buried in Tribune's bonus news as reported by the Chicago Tribune: "The Tribune Co.’s publishing division generated $461 million in operating cash flow last year, a margin of 16.7 percent 'during one of the worst years in newspaper advertising history.' ”

Sounds like that's a very respectable figure--considering. Cash flow measures the money or cash companies generate in relation to their sales or revenue to pay expenses. If that's the kind of cash flow margin Tribune's publishing division can generate in a bad year, imagine what it must have been in a good year--20 percent, 25 percent, 30 percent?

Of course, the amount of cash generated is not enough to pay off Tribune's billions of dollars in debt. And we all know that Tribune achieved the nearly 17 percent cash flow margin by rolling lots of heads down the aisle, which freed up cash by reducing expenses.

Considering all the heads that are still being axed, perhaps the cash flow margin for 2009 will hit 20 percent or better?? Banks and creditors are going to love it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

newspaper margins often approached the 20 and even 30% mark, tv stations even higher.
that phrase, a license to print money, was true. there is a poynter staffer who once worked at a tv station with 90% profit margin, he swears.
the problem now is that those profits - and most industries would kill for 16% - go to the debt load and are inadequate. if the paper was free of the zell deal, it would flourish.
the severances zero out - they are not affecting the future and that is what analysts look for.