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Par moves fiscal year-end

Paramount Communications announced Tuesday it has moved its fiscal year-end and taken a sizable charge against earnings for its latest quarter.

The results, which reflect consolidation of Paramount’s publishing division, forced the company to report a net loss for its fiscal quarter.

Before the charge, the communications company posted a net profit of $ 15.9 million (14 cents a share) for the second quarter ended April 30, compared to net earnings of $ 28.3 million(23 cents) in the same period last year.

The performance soundly beat analysts’ estimate of 10 cents a share.

After the charge, however, the company posted a net loss of $ 10.1 million (8 cents) for the quarter.

Costly move

The one-time $ 26 million (22 cents) after-tax charge related to relocating several units of Paramount’s publishing arm to New Jersey, including writedowns on real estate and provisions for relocation costs. The portion was applied to a one-time cost of relocating Paramount’s headquarters within New York City. The company’s lease in Columbus Circle expires in April 1995.

Revenues were up 2.85% to $ 954.4 million.

Separately, Paramount moved its fiscal year-end to April 30 from Oct. 31, effectively closing out fiscal 1993 with the reported results.

Smoother cycle

The change, said analysts, will let the company smooth out its earnings cycle. As it was, the last quarters of Paramount’s fiscal year-end typically boasted a stronger performance, since they included the summer months, when turnstiles were spinning at its theme parks and at the box office. But the first half, covering fall and winter, could be slimmer since earnings rose and fell on the publishing group’s efforts.

“It will give them more predictability,” said one analyst. Until the change, “the earnings were coming out in the second half of the fiscal year.”

With a new fiscal year putting the summer months at the beginning, analysts said Paramount can tinker with release schedules to influence earnings in the later quarters.

Movie money

For the quarter just ended, filmed entertainment showed lower operating income of an estimated $ 70 million, vs. $ 91.7 million. Comparisons are difficult since the studio released such features as “Jennifer 8,””The Temp” and “Fire in the Sky” during the period, compared to “Wayne’s World” last year.

Revenues were up slightly to $ 641.2 million.

Fiscal 1994 promises to be brighter, with “Indecent Proposal,””The Firm, “”Coneheads” and “Wayne’s World II” in the lineup.

In television, operating income was higher than the comparable quarter because of sales of “Cheers,” and the success of syndication series “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”

The stations group also had improved profits because of higher revenues.

With the company closing the books on fiscal 1993, it also took a one-time after-tax charge of $ 66.9 million to its last fiscal quarter, ended Jan. 31, tied to a change in accounting rules. Paramount has restated that quarter’s results, with a net loss of $ 67.7 million (58 cents) instead of a net loss of $ 900,000 (1 cents).

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