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Lee Enterprises posts smaller 4Q loss

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) -- Lee Enterprises Inc., publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and other newspapers, said Monday that it lost $7.7 million, or 15 cents per share, in its fiscal fourth quarter, compared with a net loss of $8.8 million, or 20 cents per share, a year ago.

Excluding one-time items, the company lost $334,000, or 1 cent per share, in the July through September period. That compared with income of $8.9 million, or 20 cents per share, a year ago. This year's results were hurt by higher interest costs.

Revenue grew 3 percent to $180.3 million from $175.8 million. Advertising revenue grew nearly 1 percent to $124.7 million from $123.7 million. Circulation revenue increased 3 percent to $45.2 million from $43.7 million. Lee said that an extra week in this year's quarter helped its results. Excluding the additional week, revenue would have declined by about 4.5 percent, the company said.

Lee emerged from a prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy process earlier this year. The process allowed the company to restructure its roughly $1 billion of debt. In October, the company said it had reduced its debt to $930.6 million.

Lee's stock closed down 7 cents, or 4.2 percent, to $1.58 on Monday and was unchanged in after-hours trading. The stock has traded between 49 cents and $1.81 in the past 52 weeks.