Clear Channel posts fourth-quarter loss

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Clear Channel Communications reported a net loss of $248.8 million for 2000, a 243% increase over 1999 losses, on record revenues of $5.3 billion, a 100% increase over 1999's revenue of $2.7 billion, on the heels of its acquisition of rival AMFM and concert promoter SFX Entertainment last year. The leading out-of-home media company posted higher-than-expected losses of $192 million for the fourth quarter, up from only $22.8 million in the 1999 period, on fourth-quarter revenue of $2 billion, up 128% over the year-earlier period.

On a pro forma basis, which assumes the same portfolio of assets in both years, revenue rose 13% to $6.9 billion, from $6 billion a year earlier. Radio, the company's largest revenue driver, was up 6% on a pro forma basis for 2000, bolstered primarily by local radio sales. The company projected a $392 million loss for 2001 on revenue of $8.3 billion.

"We continue to believe that the first half of 2001 will be more difficult due to the strong performance in 2000 and the extremely tough comparables," and look toward a "more favorable" second half, said Clear Channel's exec VP-Chief Financial Officer Randall Mays in a call to investors after the markets closed Feb. 13.

Clear Channel owns billboard company Eller Media Co. and 1,170 radio stations across the country and operates leading radio network Premiere Radio Networks. Shares of Clear Channel closed at $58 on Tuesday, in the middle of its 52-week range of $43.8 to $88.5.

-Cara Beardi

Copyright February 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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