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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Spanish-Language Broadcaster Signals Recovery

A growing audience. Rising advertising revenue. A reduced debt load. Add in a dividend payment, wrap it up and call it a gift to Entravision Communications Corp. shareholders

The Spanish-language TV and radio broadcaster was the third biggest gainer on the LABJ Stock Index for the week ended Dec. 14, closing up almost 15 percent to $1.73 after a series of well-received announcements. (See page 18.)

“Confidence in the business is the overarching reason why the stock is up,” said David Joyce, an analyst at Miller Tabak & Co. in New York.

Indeed, Entravision’s outlook is sharply better than it was during much of the year. In its third-quarter filings released Nov. 4, the Santa Monica company reported that it lost $6.2 million during the first nine months of the year compared with earnings of $11.2 million during the same period a year earlier.

But during a conference call with analysts, Entravision Chief Executive Walter Ulloa indicated a turnaround was in progress during the fourth quarter. For October, Entravision’s ad revenue was pacing 8 percent higher in TV and 4 percent higher in radio than in October 2010.

The company announced Dec. 6 that it would pay a one-time special dividend of six cents per share Dec. 30.

Anil Gupta, an analyst at Imperial Capital in Los Angeles, said Entravision’s repurchase of $16.2 million in stock also shows attention to the balance sheet. In the past, the company might have been more likely to buy a radio station than reduce debt.

Gupta also expects that the election year will produce an increase in ad revenue for the company.

“Keep in mind that 2012 is widely expected to be a big year for political advertising and Entravision is well positioned to capture political revenues given the importance of the Latino vote,” Gupta said.

What’s more, the company’s long-term outlook is bright.

U.S. Census data released earlier this year showed that the U.S. Hispanic population grew by 43 percent between 2000 and 2010, four times faster than the country as a whole.

The report also indicated that Hispanics are moving away from inner cities to suburbs and smaller cities where Entravision’s stations are primarily located. And as advertisers take account of the population shift, the thinking is Entravision should win more business.

“The U.S. Census data point to the big growth in Entravision’s target market,” Joyce said, “so the stock is anticipating some of that.”

In Los Angeles, Entravision has four radio stations with KSSE-FM (107.1) “Super Estrella” the largest.

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