18% decline tied to company's downsizing

Warner Music Group posted an 18% decline in operating income during its fiscal fourth quarter, with the drop tied to downsizing.

Income of $54 million for the quarter ended Sept. 29 included $14 million in severance charges.

During the 2009 fiscal year, income totaled $135 million, off 35% from $207 million a year earlier. Revenue declined 9% for the year.

Total revenue from the fourth quarter saw a 1% uptick to $861 million.

Company trumpeted digital revenues, up 5% over the third quarter of ’09 and 10% over the same quarter last year, as a bright spot. Digital revenues tallied $184 million, or 21% of total revenue for the quarter.

Warner’s recorded music revenue grew a slim 0.3% over the same quarter last year.

In the most recent quarter, WMG cited revenue growth in Japan, France, Germany, the U.K., Italy and Spain, offset by weakness in the U.S. and Latin America.

Major sellers for the quarter included Jay-Z, Madonna, Paramore and Michael Buble, plus the Japanese acts Ayaka, Kobukuro and Superfly.

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