CAP CITIES/ABC NET UP 44.3% IN QUARTER

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NEW YORK--Powered by strong broadcast earnings, Capital Cities/ABC Inc., parent of Fairchild Publications, reported fourth-quarter earnings grew 44.3 percent.
Earnings rose to $240.6 million, or $1.56 a share, from $166.7 million, or $1.03, a year earlier. Sales gained 12.5 percent to $1.97 billion from $1.76 billion. Broadcasting operating profits rose 47 percent to $409.8 million. Thomas S. Murphy, chairman and chief executive officer, said the ABC network had a "significant gain" in operating profits, driven by stronger advertising.
Broadcast revenues moved ahead 14 percent to $1.69 billion, with robust sales at ABC Television Network, television stations, and ESPN, and moderate sales growth in radio operations.
Publishing earnings gained 17.2 percent to $42.2 million reflecting significant gains at the specialized publications and moderate increases at newspapers. Publishing revenues advanced 4 percent to $283.7 million, with newspapers and specialized publications showing comparable gains.
On Monday, the stock, traded on the New York Stock Ex-change, closed at 87 3/8, up 3/4.
In the year, earnings rose 49.3 percent to $679.8 million, or $4.42 a share, from $455.3 million, or $2.78, a year earlier. The year-ago period included a $12.1 million charge for the early retirement of debt.
Sales climbed 12.4 percent to $6.38 billion from $5.67 billion.
Broadcast income climbed 44.8 percent on a 13.2 percent sales gain. Publishing earnings advanced 23.4 percent with sales up 9.1 percent. Average shares outstanding were 153.9 million at the year's close versus 163.8 million a year earlier, reflecting Capital Cities' repurchase of its common stock.--Fairchild News Service

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