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Sinclair beats 2Q profit expectations; shares jump

TV station operator Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. on Wednesday reported a second-quarter net income increase of 62 percent, due to political ad spending that was three times higher than the company expected. The Hunt Valley-based company’s shares jumped nearly 13 percent.

Sinclair raised its quarterly dividend by 25 percent to 15 cents per share.

Shares gained $1.31 to close at $11.51. They have traded as high as $13.33 over the last 52 weeks.

Net income in the three months to June 30 rose to $30.1 million, or 37 cents per share. That beat the 29 cents per share expected by analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue rose 34 percent to $253.6 million, also beating the $248 million analysts were looking for.

The company has been on a TV-station buying spree lately, taking advantage of what it sees as undervalued assets.

In April, Sinclair completed its acquisition of eight TV stations from Freedom Communications for $385 million, and last month it announced it was buying six TV stations from Newport Television for $412.5 million.

The addition of stations has helped boost revenue. Net broadcast revenue rose 38 percent to $220 million in the quarter. Political ad revenue came to $11.4 million in the quarter, up from $1.2 million a year ago.

Excluding buoyant political ad spending and the effect of acquisitions, local broadcast revenue was up 4.5 percent and national broadcast revenue was up 4.7 percent.

Including barter revenue, which is break-even on a profit basis, the company said it expects revenue of $240.3 million to $245.3 million in the third quarter. The midpoint was slightly below the $245 million analysts expect.