Penton posts $286M loss for 2002

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Cleveland--B-to-b media company Penton Media Inc. Friday reported a net loss of $286.3 million for 2002, including large writedowns of goodwill, compared with a net loss of $104.1 million in 2001.

Revenues totaled $235.1 million in 2002, a decline of $123.8 million from 2001.

Penton said its adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) was $14.5 million, a decrease of $27.1 million from 2001.

The declines were due primarily to sharp downturns in the company’s trade shows serving Internet and telecom-related markets.

In a conference call Friday, Penton Chairman-CEO Tom Kemp described the drop in attendance and exhibitors at these trade shows as an “implosion.”

Penton posted fourth-quarter net income of $12.9 million, primarily due to a $30.7 million tax benefit,compared with a net loss of $67.9 million a year earlier. Fourth-quarter revenues totaled $63.8 million compared with $86.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2001.

Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter of 2002 totaled $5.3 million, down from $11.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2001.

Penton said $97 million in cuts to operating costs should boost EBITDA for the first quarter of2003 over the same period in 2002, despite expectations of a 10% drop in revenue.

While Penton, thanks in part to a $52.7 million tax refund, describes its liquidity as “sufficient,” the company is not optimistic that stagnant b-to-b marketing spending will improve in the near term, especially because of the uncertainty surrounding the situation in Iraq.

--Sean Callahan

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