This was definitely a good start to the year. With TTM earnings ex items currently at $0.50/share, I see LEE easily doing $0.50-0.60/share in earnings (ex items) in the upcoming fiscal year despite revenues still sliding. The reduced interest costs and continued cost reductions should help earnings tick up slightly as we move forward. Although my projection estimates revenues to decline 3% this year, the continued double digit digital growth is very encouraging. And if they can finally monetize the St. Louis property via pay walls, revenue may actually start to trend upwards as we get to the back half of the fiscal year. With the positive earnings and continued strong cash flows coupled with successful refinancing of their debt well into the future (past 2020), I think the Street might start to see LEE in a more positive focus as they have virtual monopolies in most of their local markets. LEE is very undervalued at $3.88/share.
Q2 will be the least profitable quarter of the year, but I still think LEE can be breakeven ex items in this quarter. We will find out in April.