DAVENPORT — Boosted by the impact of the new federal tax legislation, Lee Enterprises reported improved profits in the first quarter during an earnings call Thursday.
Davenport-based publisher Lee reported earnings of $35.3 million, or 63 cents per share, for the quarter ended Dec. 24. That was up from $12.4 million, or 22 cents per share, a year ago.
Lee is the parent company of The Courier.
Lee said the federal Tax Cuts and Job Act, which cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, resulted in a provisional net decrease of $24.9 million in income tax expenses in the quarter.
“While advertising results in the past quarter started off softer than anticipated, we saw directional improvement in several key revenue categories with results strengthening as we moved through the quarter,” Lee President and CEO Kevin Mowbray said a news release. “This was especially true in December, and we anticipate improved revenue performance for the remainder of the fiscal year.”
Revenue decreased 6.6 percent in the quarter to $143.8 million, compared to a year ago. Total digital revenue, including digital advertising and services, was up 3.2 percent compared to a year ago, to $27.3 million for the quarter. Digital advertising represented 27.9 percent of total advertising. Subscription revenue decreased 1.3 percent.