Lee Enterprises stock dips below $1 minimum

Lee Enterprises Inc., the Davenport, Iowa-based parent company of the Wisconsin State Journal, the Capital Times and the Racine Journal Times in Wisconsin, has been notified by the New York Stock Exchange that its 30-trading-day average share price has fallen below the $1 minimum standard and will need to cure the deficiency within six months for continued listing.
The NYSE noted that as of July 1, the 30-trading-day average closing price of Lee common stock was 99 cents. The LEE stock symbol will be assigned a ".BC" indicator to denote that the company is “below compliance” with listing standards.
Under the NYSE rules related to the average share price, Lee common stock is allowed to continue to be listed on the exchange during a six-month cure period.
Mary Junck, Lee chairman and chief executive officer, said Lee will provide the NYSE with an outline of its plans to return to compliance, beginning with steps to refinance its $1 billion of debt before maturity in April 2012.
"We are in substantive and productive discussions with key lenders about an extension of our credit agreement and fully expect a satisfactory outcome, though the process will likely take several months" she said. "We believe that investor sentiment will improve when questions about our refinancing are resolved, especially as our revenue outlook strengthens."
Junck said same property revenue for Lee’s third fiscal quarter ended June 26, 2011, is expected to total 4.2 percent below a year ago "with significant improvement in the month of June." She added: "Fourteen of our markets reported positive year-over-year revenue in June, with several showing better than 5 percent gains. Still, our progress toward overall revenue growth continues to be slowed by the uncertainty of a still-lagging economy."

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