Playboy Posts Profit, Expects Stronger Q4

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Playboy Enterprises Inc. (PLA), the adult entertainment company, on Tuesday reported a quarterly profit, reversing a year-earlier loss, helped by gains at its television and video operations and increased advertising at its namesake magazine.

Playboy, whose shares jumped 6.5 percent, also said it expects to record a stronger fourth quarter than a year ago, adding that it remains on track to post a per-share profit for full-year 2004.

Third-quarter profit totaled $1.9 million, or 6 cents a share, matching analysts' consensus expectations. It posted a loss of about $900,000, or 3 cents a share, a year earlier, when results were weighed down by higher debt expenses and foreign taxes.

Revenue rose 8 percent to $80.2 million, above analysts' average target of $78.5 million, based on forecasts compiled by Reuters Estimates.

Revenue at its entertainment group, which includes its cable television channel and the Spice adult TV networks, rose 8 percent to $36.4 million, as higher international TV sales and continued roll-out of video-on-demand in the United States boosted results.

Publishing revenue climbed 4 percent to $29.5 million. During the quarter, ad revenue at Playboy magazine jumped 35 percent.

For the current fourth quarter, Playboy said results should be stronger than a year ago, citing the performance of its entertainment and Internet divisions. It reaffirmed its full-year 2004 target for positive earnings per share.

Ad pages at Playboy magazine (search) are expected to fall about 25 percent in the fourth quarter compared with last year, when the magazine published a 50th anniversary issue stuffed with ads. But the Chicago-based company said the magazine is on track to end the year with higher annual ad pages compared with 2003.

Shares rose 72 cents to $11.75 on the New York Stock Exchange (search) after touching as high as $11.85.