BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Shares of Lamar Advertising Co. fell Thursday after the billboard and outdoor advertising company said its first-quarter loss grew by 72 percent as it paid down debt.
Shares fell 8.8 percent in afternoon trading.
Lamar posted a net loss of $22.9 million, or 25 cents per share for the three months ended March 31. That compares with a loss of $13.3 million, or 14 cents per share, in the prior year period.
Analysts, on average, predicted a loss of 14 cents per share, according to data provider FactSet.
Revenue rose 4 percent to $266.2 million from $255.2 million last year.
Wall Street, on average, expected revenue of $264.7 million.
Lamar booked a loss of $30 million on debt extinguishment, related to settling roughly $583 million in outstanding notes through a tender offer that expired in late February.
The company said it expects second quarter revenue of $303 million. Analysts, on average, expect revenue of $305.3 million, with estimates ranging from $302.1 million to $309.5 million.
Lamar operates billboards and other outdoor advertising in 44 states, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as a logo business — providing signs that indicate where gas stations, restaurants and attractions are located on interstate highways — in 22 states and Canada. It also has 60 transit advertising franchises in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico that place ads on buses and bus shelters.
Citi analyst Jason Bazinet said the results showed a "good quarter," pointing to the fact that revenue exceeded Wall Street expectations. Expenses rose 4 percent, he noted, below the target previously set by management. He kept a "Neutral" rating on the shares.
Lamar Advertising shares fell $2.88, or 9.1 percent, to $28.91 during afternoon trading, with volume more than three times normal. The stock had changed hands between $16.49 and $34.19 in the past 52 weeks.