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Astral records a 16th consecutive year of growth


    --  10% increase in Diluted EPS(1)
    --  9% increase in Net Earnings(1)
    --  4% increase in EBITDA(2)
    --  1% in Revenues
    --  5% increase in Cash Flow from Operations(2)

MONTREAL, Oct. 31, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Astral Media Inc. (TSX: ACM.A ACM.B) 
today reported solid financial results for the fourth quarter and the year 
ended August 31, 2012 and delivered continued growth in revenues, EBITDA(2), 
net earnings, EPS, and cash flow from operations(2).

In Fiscal 2012, consolidated net earnings(1) grew 9% over last year to $204.4 
million from $188.0 million, while diluted earnings per share(1) grew 10% to 
$3.64 from $3.30 last year. EBITDA(2) rose 4% to $331.2 million from $318.4 
million for the same period last year. Consolidated revenues for Fiscal 2012 
totalled $1,021.9 million, a 1% increase over the $1,015.4 million recorded 
last year for the same period. Cash flow from operations(2) rose a healthy 5% 
to $259.0 million for the year compared to $246.5 million for the 
corresponding period last year.

In the fourth quarter, consolidated net earnings(1) grew 14% over last year to 
$54.3 million from $47.7 million, while diluted earnings per share(1) grew 13% 
to $0.96 from $0.85 last year. EBITDA(2) rose 11% to $85.6 million from $77.2 
million for the same period last year. Consolidated revenues in the fourth 
quarter totalled $251.8 million, a 2% increase over the $247.6million 
reported last year for the same period. Cash flow from operations(2) rose 11% 
to $71.1 million for the fourth quarter compared to $63.8 million for the 
corresponding period last year.

"I am very pleased with the solid performance delivered by our business units 
in Fiscal 2012, particularly with the strong finish in the fourth quarter, 
consolidating the Company's 16th consecutive year of profitable growth," said 
Ian Greenberg, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We remain fully 
committed to maintain the same financial discipline that allowed the Company 
to grow in Fiscal 2012 and to continue to invest in content and new products 
in order to offer the highest possible quality of products and services."

Bell-Astral Transaction(3)
On March 16, 2012, the Company announced that it entered into a definitive 
agreement with BCE Inc. ("Bell") for the sale of its business through the 
acquisition of all of its issued and outstanding shares. The transaction is 
valued at approximately $3.38 billion, including an estimated net debt of 
$380.0 million. The transaction is subject to closing conditions, including 
regulatory approvals from the CRTC and the Competition Bureau. On October 18, 
2012 the CRTC issued its decision on Bell's application for authority to 
acquire and change the effective control of the Company and denied Bell's 
application. On October 22, 2012, Bell submitted its request that the Federal 
Cabinet issue a policy direction to the CRTC, under Section 7 of the 
Broadcasting Act, that directs the CRTC to follow its existing policies when 
reviewing change of control transactions in broadcasting. Bell stated that 
with such a Cabinet policy direction in place, it would then re-submit a 
Change of Control Application to the CRTC. There can be no assurance that the 
transaction will occur, or that it will occur on the terms and conditions 
currently contemplated.

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

Television
    --  Revenue growth of 1% for the year (1% for the fourth quarter);
    --  EBITDA(2 )growth of 2% for the year (1% for the fourth
        quarter);
    --  In July 2012, launch of the new Cartoon Network service,
        currently available to 2.3 million subscribers on Cogeco,
        Eastlink, Telus and Bell;

Radio
    --  Revenue decrease of 1% for the year (2% growth for the fourth
        quarter);
    --  EBITDA(2) growth of 4% for the year (23% growth for the fourth
        quarter);
    --  In January 2012, Astral completed the acquisition of all
        outstanding shares of Shore Media Group Inc., a radio
        broadcaster in Vancouver, BC, for a consideration of $13.4
        million;
    --  In February 2012, launch of Astral Radio's all-new digital
        music service across NRJ and Virgin Radio networks.

Out-of-Home
    --  Revenue growth of 8% for the year (6% for the fourth quarter);
    --  EBITDA(2) growth of 10% for the year (9% for the fourth
        quarter);
    --  In June 2012, Astral Out-of-Home announced the addition of two
        new digital advertising faces in the greater Montréal region,
        bringing the total of faces in Astral's Digital Network to 41;
    --  Subsequent to year-end, launch by Astral Out-of-Home of a brand
        new network of 30 urban Digital Columns in the heart of
        downtown Montréal.

Corporate
    --  In October 2011, the Company established, in addition to its
        existing credit facility, a $700.0 million unsecured five-year
        revolving credit facility and entered into two new
        interest-rate swap agreements to hedge its exposure to interest
        rate fluctuations;
    --  During the year, the Company repaid $133.0 million of its
        long-term debt and repurchased 423,800 Class A shares for a
        total consideration of $14.2 million.
    --  Under the terms of the Bell-Astral Transaction(3), the
        Company's dividend payment scheduled for August 2012 and
        activity under the Company's normal course issuer bid have been
        suspended;

The audited consolidated financial statements and related notes and the 
Management's Discussion and Analysis are available on the Company's website: 
www.astral.com. There will be a conference call with analysts and media at 
2:30 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday,October 31, 2012. To access the conference call 
dial 1-800-731-5319. The conference call will also be broadcast live and 
archived for a three-month period on the Astral website at www.astral.com.

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements concerning the 
future performance of the Company. These forward-looking statements are based 
on current expectations. We caution that all forward-looking information is 
inherently uncertain and actual results may differ materially from the 
assumptions, estimates or expectations reflected or contained in the 
forward-looking information, and that actual future performance will be 
affected by a number of factors, including technological change, economic 
conditions, regulatory change, competitive factors and changes in accounting 
rules or standards, many of which are beyond the Company's control. We 
disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking 
statements.

Founded in 1961, Astral is one of Canada's largest media companies. It 
operates several of the country's most popular pay and specialty television, 
radio, out-of-home advertising and digital media properties. Astral plays a 
central role in community life across the country by offering diverse, rich 
and vibrant programming that meets the tastes and needs of consumers and 
advertisers. To learn more about Astral, visit www.astral.com.

1. Excluding acquisition and other costs, Bell-Astral transaction
   costs, impairment of broadcast licences and deferred income tax
   expense resulting from income tax rate change. See "Additional IFRS
   and Non-IFRS Measures" in Appendix 1.

2. See "Additional IFRS and Non-IFRS Measures" in Appendix 1.

3. See the "Bell-Astral Transaction" section in the Management's
   Discussion and Analysis.

ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
Consolidated Statements of Earnings
for the periods ended August 31, 2012 and 2011 
(in thousands of Canadian dollars except for per-share data)
(unaudited)
                                                             
                               3 months                   12 months
                           2012        2011          2012          2011
                                                                       

Revenues              $ 251,801   $ 247,620   $ 1,021,926   $ 1,015,431
                                                                       

Operating expenses      166,231     170,455       690,754       697,017

Acquisition and other        16           -         4,881         4,407
costs

Depreciation of           4,599       6,970        26,668        28,001
property, plant and
equipment

Amortization of other     2,733       2,224         8,656         8,254
intangible and
non-current assets

Financial expense,        2,885       4,587        14,198        20,737
net

Impairment charge on     21,085      22,164        21,085        22,164
broadcast licences,
net

Bell-Astral               6,557           -        12,789             -
Transaction costs
                                                                       

Earnings before          47,695      41,220       242,895       234,851
income taxes
                                                                       

Income tax expense       19,206      15,728        72,457        72,074
before undernoted

Deferred tax recovery
resulting from the
impairment charge on
broadcast licences      (5,136)     (4,293)       (5,136)       (4,293)

Deferred tax expense      2,267           -         2,267             -
resulting from tax
rate changes
                         16,337      11,435        69,588        67,781
                                                                       

Net earnings          $  31,358   $  29,785   $   173,307   $   167,070
                                                                       

Earnings per share                                                     

  - Basic             $    0.56   $    0.53   $      3.11   $      2.96

  - Diluted           $    0.55   $    0.53   $      3.08   $      2.93



ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income
for the periods ended August 31, 2012 and 2011
(in thousands of Canadian dollars)
(unaudited)
                                                    
                                  3 months                12 months
                              2012        2011         2012        2011
                                                                       

Net earnings             $  31,358   $  29,785   $  173,307   $ 167,070
                                                                       

Other comprehensive                                                    
income

Actuarial loss on
employee future benefit
plans, net of deferred
tax recovery of $2.5
million and
$0.6 million
respectively for the
three months and $8.1
million and $0.5 million
respectively for
the twelve months          (6,641)     (1,596)     (22,275)     (1,307)

Change in fair value of
derivatives designated
as cash flow hedges, net
of deferred tax expense
of
$0.3 million and $0.3
million respectively for
the three months and
$0.6 million and $2.1
million
respectively for the
twelve months                  687         893        1,540       5,627

Comprehensive income     $  25,404   $  29,082   $  152,572   $ 171,390





ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
for the periods ended August 31, 2012 and 2011
(in thousands of Canadian dollars)
(unaudited)
                                                                       
                               3 months                   12 months
                         2012          2011          2012          2011
                                                                       

OPERATING                                                    
ACTIVITIES                                                             

  Net earnings     $   31,358    $   29,785   $   173,307   $   167,070
                                                                       

  Non-cash items:                                                      
    Stock-based         1,539         1,124        11,244         7,099
    compensation
    costs                                                    
    Depreciation        7,332         9,194        35,324        36,255
    and
    amortization                                             
    Imputed               417           428         1,509         1,638
    interest, net                                            
    Amortization          273           171         1,022           686
    of deferred
    financing
    costs                                                    
    Impairment         21,085        22,164        21,085        22,164
    charge on
    broadcast
    licences, net                                            
    Deferred tax        6,784           909        13,207        11,565
    expense                                                  
    Deferred tax        2,267             -         2,267             -
    expense
    resulting from
    tax rate
    changes                                                  
                                                                       

  Cash flows from                                            
  operations           71,055        63,775       258,965       246,477
                                                                       

  Additional                                                 
  pension plan
  contributions       (6,344)       (1,813)       (6,344)       (1,813)

  Net change in                                              
  non-cash
  operating items    (11,004)         4,297      (41,185)       (1,465)
                                                                       

Cash provided by       53,707        66,259       211,436    
operating
activities                                                      243,199
                                                                       

INVESTING                                                    
ACTIVITIES                                                             

  Additions to                                               
  property, plant
  and equipment      (15,442)      (17,002)      (37,095)      (46,648)

  Additions to                                               
  other intangible
  and non-current
  assets              (3,187)       (3,225)       (6,382)      (13,508)

  Business                                                   
  acquisition, net
  of cash acquired      (150)             -      (11,971)             -

  Contingent                                                 
  consideration
  relating to a
  previous
  business
  acquisition               -       (8,042)             -       (8,042)

Cash used for        (18,779)      (28,269)      (55,448)    
investing
activities                                                     (68,198)
                                                                       

FINANCING                                                    
ACTIVITIES                                                             

  Repayment of                                               
  long-term debt     (33,000)             -     (133,000)      (65,000)

  Deferred                                                   
  financing costs           -             -       (2,017)             -

  Stock options                                              
  exercised               105           655        19,317        13,518

  Shares                                                     
  repurchased               -      (18,212)      (14,126)      (70,137)

  Dividends                 -      (20,895)      (27,923)      (42,274)

Cash used for        (32,895)      (38,452)     (157,749)    
financing
activities                                                    (163,893)
                                                                       

Net change in cash      2,033         (462)       (1,761)        11,108

Cash - beginning       18,859        23,115        22,653    
of period                                                        11,545

Cash - end of      $   20,892    $   22,653   $    20,892   $
period                                                           22,653



ASTRAL MEDIA INC. 
Consolidated Balance Sheets as at
(in thousands of Canadian dollars)
                                                            
                                August 31,    August 31,   September 1,
                                      2012          2011           2010

ASSETS                                                                 
                                                                       

Current                                                                

  Cash                         $    20,892   $    22,653   $     11,545

  Accounts receivable              174,384       170,063        169,240

  Program and film rights          114,753       105,385        106,723

  Prepaid expenses and other        29,007        29,096         29,451
  current assets
                                   339,036       327,197        316,959
                                                                       

Program and film rights             51,208        51,058         41,640

Property, plant and equipment      210,035       195,508        180,616

Broadcast licences               1,631,307     1,639,785      1,661,949

Goodwill                           118,489       116,016        116,016

Other intangible and                64,750        70,543         64,162
non-current assets

Non-current financial assets        16,084        19,852         22,848

Deferred tax assets                 34,582        34,954         45,292
                                                                       
                               $ 2,465,491   $ 2,454,913   $  2,449,482
                                                                       

LIABILITIES                                                            
                                                                       

Current                                                                

  Accounts payable and accrued $   141,729   $   141,893   $    143,156
  liabilities

  Provisions                         5,319         5,355          4,004

  Income taxes payable              15,531        13,560         16,654

  Program and film rights           63,619        77,033         64,908
  payable

  Other current financial                -         1,945              -
  liabilities
                                   226,198       239,786        228,722
                                                                       

Long-term debt                     390,138       524,133        588,447

Deferred tax liabilities           131,377       126,662        125,033

Program and film rights              7,446         8,839         12,668
payable

Provisions                           6,717         5,453          5,244

Other non-current liabilities       76,556        57,124         63,820

Other non-current financial          8,466        10,116         20,311
liabilities
                                   846,898       972,113      1,044,245
                                                                       

SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY                                                   

Capital stock                      778,548       762,572        768,762

Contributed surplus                 20,445        17,278         18,903

Retained earnings                  819,470       704,360        624,609

Accumulated other
comprehensive income (loss)            130       (1,410)        (7,037)
                                   819,600       702,950        617,572
                                 1,618,593     1,482,800      1,405,237
                               $ 2,465,491   $ 2,454,913   $  2,449,482



ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
Business Segments
for the periods ended August 31, 2012 and 2011
(in thousands of Canadian dollars) (unaudited)
                                     
                     3 months                   12 months
                 2012        2011          2012          2011
                                                             

REVENUES                                                     
                                                             

Television  $ 140,425   $ 139,681   $   586,026   $   582,231

Radio          84,129      82,177       335,993       340,300

Out-of-Home    27,247      25,762        99,907        92,900
                                                             
            $ 251,801   $ 247,620   $ 1,021,926   $ 1,015,431
                                                             

EBITDA((1))                                                  
                                                             

Television  $  47,591   $  47,280   $   214,981   $   211,384

Radio          32,759      26,717       108,202       104,427

Out-of-Home     9,635       8,820        33,979        30,758

Corporate     (4,415)     (5,652)      (25,990)      (28,155)
                                                             
            $  85,570   $  77,165   $   331,172   $   318,414

___________________

((1))See Appendix 1.



ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
Appendix 1
Additional IFRS and Non-IFRS Measures
for the periods ended August 31, 2012 and 2011
(unaudited)


In addition to discussing earnings measures in accordance with International 
Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS"), this press release provides the 
following additional IFRS and non-IFRS measures which are also factors used by 
the Company's management and Board of Directors in monitoring and evaluating 
the performance of the Company and its business segments: 
Additional IFRS Measure 
Cash flow from operations is defined as cash provided by operating activities 
before additional pension plan contributions and the net change in non-cash 
operating items. This measure provides an indication of the Company's ability 
to generate cash flows without considering certain timing and other factors 
causing variations in non-cash operating items. 
Non-IFRS Measures 
EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) is 
provided to assist investors in determining the ability of the Company to 
generate cash flow from operating activities and to cover financial charges. 
Other items such as acquisition and other costs, Bell-Astral Transaction costs 
and impairment of broadcast licences are also excluded from earnings in the 
determination of EBITDA as they are not considered to be in the ordinary 
course of business. EBITDA is also an indicator widely used for business 
valuation purposes. EBITDA margin is defined as the ratio obtained by dividing 
EBITDA by revenues. The following table reconciles IFRS measures disclosed in 
the audited consolidated statements of earnings for the periods ended August 
31, 2012 and 2011 to EBITDA: 
                                       3 months         12 months 
(in thousands of $)                     2012   2011      2012    2011 
                                                                  
Earnings before income taxes          47,695 41,220   242,895 234,851 
Depreciation and amortization          7,332  9,194    35,324  36,255 
Financial expense, net                 2,885  4,587    14,198  20,737 
Acquisition and other costs               16      -     4,881   4,407 
Bell-Astral Transaction costs          6,557      -    12,789       - 
Impairment of broadcast licences, net 21,085 22,164    21,085  22,164 
EBITDA                                85,570 77,165   331,172 318,414 
Earnings before income taxes, excluding impairment of broadcast licences. This 
measure provides an indication of the Company's ability to generate earnings 
and cash flows from its ongoing operations, by excluding the non-cash 
impairment of broadcast licences. The following table reconciles IFRS measures 
disclosed in the audited consolidated statements of earnings for the periods 
ended August 31, 2012 and 2011 to earnings before income taxes, excluding 
impairment of broadcast licences: 
                                       3 months         12 months 
(in thousands of $)                       2012   2011      2012    2011 
                                                                    
Earnings before income taxes            47,695 41,220   242,895 234,851 
Impairment of broadcast licences, net   21,085 22,164    21,085  22,164 
Earnings before income taxes, excluding 68,780 63,384   263,980 257,015
impairment of broadcast licences 
Net earnings and diluted earnings per share before acquisition and other 
costs, Bell-Astral Transaction costs, impairment of broadcast licences and tax 
rate changes. These measures provide an indication of the Company's ability to 
generate earnings from its ongoing operations, by excluding some items such as 
acquisition and other costs, Bell-Astral Transaction costs, impairment of 
broadcast licences and tax rate changes as they are not considered to be in 
the ordinary course of business. 
The following tables reconcile IFRS measures disclosed in the audited 
consolidated statements of earnings for the periods ended August 31 2012 and 
2011 to net earnings and diluted earnings per share before acquisition and 
other costs, Bell-Astral Transaction costs, impairment of broadcast licences 
and tax rate changes: 
                                       3 months         12 months 
(in thousands of $)                    2012      2011      2012    2011 


                                                                       

Net earnings                         31,358    29,785   173,307 167,070

Acquisition and other costs, net of      12         -     3,616   3,091
income taxes

Bell-Astral Transaction costs, net    4,713         -     9,272       -
of income taxes

Impairment of broadcast licences,    15,949    17,871    15,949  17,871
net of income taxes

Deferred tax expense resulting from   2,267         -     2,267       -
tax rate changes

Net earnings before acquisition and
other costs, Bell-Astral Transaction
costs,
impairment of broadcast licences
and  tax rate changes                54,299    47,656   204,411 188,032
                                                         
                                             3 months       12 months

(in dollars)                           2012      2011      2012    2011
                                                                       

Diluted earnings per share             0.55      0.53      3.08    2.93

Acquisition and other costs, net of       -         -      0.07    0.05
income taxes

Bell-Astral Transaction costs, net     0.09         -      0.17       -
of income taxes

Impairment of broadcast licences,      0.28      0.32      0.28    0.32
net of income taxes

Deferred tax expense resulting from    0.04         -      0.04       -
tax rate changes

Diluted earnings per share before
acquisition and other cost,
Bell-Astral Transaction
costs, impairment of broadcast
licences and tax rate changes          0.96      0.85      3.64    3.30


The above additional IFRS and non-IFRS measures do not have a standardized 
meaning prescribed by IFRS and may not be comparable to similar measures 
presented by other companies. 
Media: Olivier Racette Advisor, Corporate Communications Astral Media Inc. 
514-939-5000 
Analysts: Robert Fortier Vice-President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer 
Astral Media Inc. 514-939-5000  
SOURCE: ASTRAL MEDIA INC. 
To view this news release in HTML formatting, please use the following URL: 
http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/October2012/31/c3453.html 
CO: ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
ST: Quebec
NI: ENT TVNEWS RADIO ERN CONF FIN  
-0- Oct/31/2012 14:34 GMT
 
 
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