Gaylord Ent. profit plummets in 1st qtr.

NEW YORK — Gaylord Entertainment Co., shortly to sell its cable networks to Westinghouse Electric Corp., suffered an 84% drop in net profit to $8.6 million in the first quarter, as its earnings returned to normal after being inflated a year ago by a one-time profit on the sale of a TV station.

Gaylord’s operating income before interest and taxes rose 10%, to $15.1 million, it reported Tuesday. Interest costs doubled to $7.5 million, however, bringing down net profit by about 16% even when last year’s TV station gain is excluded from the comparison.

No need to worry

The cable networks group — the Nashville Network, Country Music Television and CMT Intl. — suffered a 1.8% dip in operating profit to $17.6 million. But Westinghouse needn’t fret, as the downturn was due to a big increase in losses at CMT Intl., which is not being acquired by Westinghouse.

Gaylord’s broadcasting and music division, which includes three radio stations and two TV stations, suffered a 13.8% drop in operating profit to $1.9 million. Gaylord has agreed to sell one of the stations, KSTW Seattle, to Cox Broadcasting in a deal due to close before the end of the second quarter.

The only division to show improvement was the hospitality and attractions group, which includes the Opryland Hotel. The group reported operating profit of $1.4 million, up from a loss of $241,000 a year ago.

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