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Meredith fiscal 4Q profit increases 13 percent

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Meredith Corp. on Thursday posted a 13 percent increase in profit for its fiscal fourth quarter, helped by improved results at its national and local media groups.

The media and marketing services company, which publishes Better Homes and Gardens among many other titles, earned $33.8 million, or 75 cents per share, for the April-June period. That was up from $30 million, or 67 cents per share in the 2012 fourth quarter.

Revenue rose 3.3 percent to $387 million from $374.5 million last year.

Results topped Wall Street expectations. On average, analysts surveyed by FactSet forecast quarterly earnings per share of 72 cents on revenue of $383.6 million.

Revenue in Meredith's national media group, which includes magazines like Family Circle and Fitness, rose 2 percent to $295 million. Operating income in the unit rose 15 percent to $43 million, driven by stronger performance from brand licensing.

Meredith said its local media group, which includes 13 television stations, posted a 9 percent gain in revenue to $92 million. Operating profit totaled $28 million, as higher retransmission-related revenue was partially offset by higher programming fees paid to affiliated networks, and lower political advertising revenue.

For the full fiscal year, Meredith earned $123.7 million, or $2.74 per share, compared with $104.4 million, or $2.31 per share, the prior year.

Looking ahead, the company forecast fiscal 2014 earnings per share of $2.60 to $2.95, with earnings of 48 cents to 53 cents per share in the first quarter. Analysts expect Meredith to earn 53 cents per share in the first quarter and $2.79 per share in fiscal 2014.

In afternoon trading, Meredith shares added 9 cents to $47.49. The stock has traded between $29.27 and $48.75 in the past 52 weeks, and is up about 38 percent since the start of the year.