DISNEY PROFITS SURGE 63.2% IN 2ND QUARTER

BURBANK, Calif. — The Walt Disney Co., owner of Fairchild Publications, reported net earnings, on an adjusted basis, rose 63.2 percent in the second quarter ended March 31.
The earnings came to $333 million, or 49 cents a share, against $204 million, or 30 cents, a year ago. To improve comparability, the figures were adjusted to assume that Disney and ABC Inc., acquired in February 1996, were combined throughout this year’s and last year’s periods. Adjusted earnings also exclude year-ago charges of $525 million for costs related to the ABC acquisition and an accounting change.
Unadjusted, year-ago net earnings were $21 million, or 3 cents a share.
Operating income rose 32 percent to $864 million in the second quarter ended March 31, on an adjusted basis.
Revenues were up 9.9 percent to $5.5 billion from $5 billion.
In the half, adjusted net earnings increased 31.2 percent to $1 billion, or $1.46 a share, from $764 million, or $1.11, a year earlier. Unadjusted earnings a year ago were $581 million, or 84 cents.
Revenues rose 8.1 percent to $11.8 billion from $10.8 billion.
Michael D. Eisner, chairman and chief executive officer, said the overall financial performance benefited from “impressive box office results” from most movie releases, including “The English Patient”; record attendance at its theme parks, led by Walt Disney World, and strong results at ESPN.
The first-quarter earnings topped Wall Street estimates of 45 cents a share. Shares of Disney rose 7/8 Wednesday to close at 79 1/8 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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