Morris Publishing Extends Loan Payment, Reports Profit Loss
Publisher missed deadline for $9.7 million payment; cuts wages up to 10 percent.
Newspaper and magazine publisher Morris Publishing today said it has reached an agreement with its lenders to extend the deadline for its $9.7 million interest payment on its senior subordinated notes until April 24. The payment was originally due February 1.
Morrisâ€™ senior bank group also agreed to extend to April 24 the waiver of cross default arising from the overdue interest payment on the senior notes, the Augusta, Georgia-based publisher said. Morris owes more than $226 million in senior notes.
For 2008, Morris reported a net loss of $140.6 million, down from a $68.6 million net income in 2007. Net revenue was $251.6 million, down roughly 18 percent from the previous year.
Morris also said it would cut employee salaries by 5 percent to 10 percent, effective April 1. Staffers who earn $50,000 or more per year will receive 10 percent wage reductions, the company said.
In January, Morris hired investment banking firm Lazard Freres & Co. as financial advisor and Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg as legal counsel as the publisher explores strategic options. According to a 10-Q document filed November 14 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Morris Publishing said it will be â€śunlikely to meet the financial covenantsâ€ť by the second quarter of 2009.
In addition to 13 daily newspapers, Morrisâ€”an affiliate of the Morris Communications Companyâ€”publishes several city magazines including Augusta, Athens, H magazine and Savannah.