Disney earnings lose their sparkle

The Walt Disney Company said on Thursday its net profit for its fiscal third quarter slid 31% from a year earlier to $364-million amid lower theme park attendance and slumping ad revenues.

Earnings per share for the media-entertainment giant amounted to 18 cents a share, or 17 cents excluding one-time charges. This was in line with Wall Street estimates.

Revenues declines three percent to $5,8-billion.

“The quarter was hampered by some external factors and some performance issues that we are addressing, over the longer term, the Disney recipe of high-quality content leveraged across our broad range of businesses forms the foundation for future growth,” chairman and chief executive officer Michael Eisner said.

“The downturn in the international and domestic travel and tourism industry as well as the economy as a whole is impacting the company’s businesses and, accordingly, attendance and occupancy at its domestics parks and resorts continues to be negatively impacted,” the company said.

The company continues to experience that “softness” so far in its current fourth quarter, with attendance and advance reservations trends being negatively impacted.

Disney expects its fourth-quarter earnings to come in “somewhat lower” than year-ago pro forma levels.

Eisner remained, however, upbeat on the company’s prospects.

“Challenging times consistently create future opportunities for Disney, which has the staying power of global brands, leading market share, efficient operations and solid financials,” he said.

Eisner said the company is “in favour” of expensing stock options and called for “consistent and clear guidelines” from regulators so that all companies use the same method for valuing and expensing stock options.

Until such guidelines are adopted, Disney will provide supplementary information each quarter on its awarded stock options, he said. - Sapa-AFP

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