Astral reports strong first quarter results for Fiscal 2013
-- 7% increase in net earnings(1) -- 5% increase in diluted EPS(1) -- 4% increase in EBITDA(2) MONTREAL, Jan. 10, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Astral Media Inc. (TSX: ACM.A ACM.B) today reported its financial results for the first quarter ended November 30, 2012, which saw continued growth in net earnings(1), EPS(1), EBITDA(2), revenues and cash flow from operations(2). In the first quarter, consolidated net earnings(1) rose 7% to $59.6 million from $55.8 million for the same period last year, while diluted earnings per share(1) increased by 5% to $1.05 from $1.00 last year. EBITDA(2) grew 4% to $93.7 million from $90.4 million last year, while consolidated revenues totalled $274.5 million, an increase of 1% over the $271.1 million recorded last year for the same period. Cash flow from operations at $69.2 million is slightly above last year's figure of $69.0 million. "I am very pleased with our Company's consolidated and segmented performance in the first quarter of Fiscal 2013, marking the single largest quarter in the Company's history" said Ian Greenberg, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Our relentless focus on delivering better value to advertisers and consumers combined with the discipline that defines Astral's decision-making approach provide us with the optimal strategy to reach our objectives and continue to deliver balanced growth across our diversified asset portfolio." 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. Following the October 18, 2012 decision of the CRTC to deny Bell's application to acquire the control of the Company, the Company and Bell announced on November 19, 2012 that they have amended the arrangement agreement signed on March 16, 2012 and submitted a new proposal to the CRTC for approval of Bell's acquisition of the Company. As a result of the amendments made to the terms of the arrangement agreement: (i) the outside date for the closing of the transaction has been extended to June 1, 2013, with each of the Company and Bell having a further right to postpone it to July 31, 2013, (ii) Bell's regulatory covenants have been modified, and (iii) the Company's Board of directors has declared a cash dividend of $0.50 per share on its class A non-voting shares and class B subordinate voting shares, payable on February 1, 2013 to shareholders of record at the close of business on January 15, 2013. The consideration payable to the Company's shareholders remains unchanged under the amended arrangement agreement. The Bell-Astral Transaction is subject to closing conditions, including regulatory approvals from the CRTC and the Competition Bureau. There can be no assurance that the Bell-Astral Transaction will occur, or that it will occur on the terms and conditions currently contemplated. SEGMENTED FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS Television -- Revenue growth of 2%; -- EBITDA(2) growth of 5%; -- EBITDA margin(2) of 39.3%, up from 38.2% for the same period last year. Radio -- Revenue growth of 1%; -- EBITDA(2 )growth of 1%; -- EBITDA margin(2) of 31.3%, consistent with last year; -- Prior to the beginning of the first quarter, rebranding of two stations in London and Winnipeg to the prestigious Virgin Radio brand, bringing the total of Astral Virgin Radio stations to seven; -- On November 23, inauguration of Canada's largest private radio broadcasting centre with five Astral French- and English-language stations under the same roof in Montréal. Out-of-Home -- Revenue growth of 2%; -- EBITDA(2) growth of 1%; -- EBITDA margin(2) of 40.0%, consistent with last year; -- In September, launch of a brand new network of 30 urban Digital Columns in the heart of downtown Montréal; -- Announcement of the addition of 6 new Digital faces by February 2013 on Toronto's Gardiner Expressway, bringing Astral's popular national Digital Network to 49 faces. Corporate -- Over the course of the first quarter, the Company repaid $7.0 million of its long-term debt, bringing its Net Debt and leverage ratio just below $356.0 million and 1.1 respectively; -- Astral announced in November a cash dividend of $0.50 per share on its class A non-voting shares and class B subordinate voting shares, payable on February 1, 2013. The unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements and related notes and Management's Discussion and Analysis are available on the Company's website: astral.com. There will be a conference call with analysts and media at 10:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, January 10, 2013. To access the conference call dial 1-800-731-5319. The conference call will also be broadcasted live and archived for a three-month period on the Astral website at astral.com. 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 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. 1. Excluding Bell-Astral transaction costs. See "Additional IFRS and Non-IFRS Measures" in Appendix 1. 2. For more details, see "Additional IFRS and Non-IFRS Measures" in Appendix 1. 3. For more details, see the "Bell-Astral Transaction" section in the Management's Discussion and Analysis for the periods ended November 30, 2012 and 2011 and the press release issued by the Company on November 19, 2012. ASTRAL MEDIA INC. Interim Consolidated Statements of Earnings for the three months ended (in thousands of Canadian dollars except for per-share data) (unaudited) November 30 2012 2011 Revenues $ 274,465 $ 271,100 Operating expenses 180,811 180,699 Depreciation of property, plant and equipment 6,931 7,506 Amortization of other intangible and non-current assets 2,363 1,962 Financial expense, net 2,836 3,953 Bell-Astral Transaction costs 660 - Earnings before income taxes 80,864 76,980 Income tax expense 21,759 21,224 Net earnings $ 59,105 $ 55,756 Earnings per share - Basic $ 1.06 $ 1.01 - Diluted $ 1.04 $ 1.00
ASTRAL MEDIA INC. Interim Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income for the three months ended (in thousands of Canadian dollars) (unaudited)
November 30 2012 2011 Net earnings $ 59,105 $ 55,756 Item that is never subsequently reclassified to statements of earnings Actuarial loss on employee future benefit plans, net of income tax recovery of $1.8 million and $2.4 million respectively (4,830) (6,772) Item that may be subsequently reclassified to statements of earnings Change in fair value of derivatives designated as cash flow hedges, net of income tax expense (recovery) of ($0.2 million) and $0.1 million respectively (663) 110 Other comprehensive loss (5,493) (6,662) Comprehensive income $ 53,612 $ 49,094 ASTRAL MEDIA INC. Interim Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows for the three months ended (in thousands of Canadian dollars) (unaudited) November 30, 2012 2011 OPERATING ACTIVITIES Net earnings $ 59,105 $ 55,756 Non-cash items: Stock-based compensation costs 2,098 2,152 Depreciation and amortization 9,294 9,468 Imputed interest, net 288 259 Amortization of deferred financing costs 281 205 Deferred tax expense (recovery) (1,902) 1,122 Cash flows from operations 69,164 68,962 Net change in non-cash operating items (44,841) (45,111) Cash provided by operating activities 24,323 23,851 INVESTING ACTIVITIES Additions to property, plant and equipment (9,708) (5,574) Additions to other intangible and non-current (999) (952) assets Cash used for investing activities (10,707) (6,526) FINANCING ACTIVITIES Repayment of long-term debt (7,000) (10,000) Deferred financing costs - (2,011) Stock options exercised 1,702 3,110 Shares repurchased - (7,757) Cash used for financing activities (5,298) (16,658) Net change in cash 8,318 667 Cash - beginning of period 20,892 22,653 Cash - end of period $ 29,210 $ 23,320 ASTRAL MEDIA INC. Interim Consolidated Balance Sheets as at (in thousands of Canadian dollars) (unaudited) November 30, August 31, 2012 2012 ASSETS Current Cash $ 29,210 $ 20,892 Accounts receivable 193,823 174,384 Program and film rights 123,080 114,753 Prepaid expenses and other current assets 41,861 29,007 387,974 339,036 Program and film rights 52,588 51,208 Property, plant and equipment 209,824 210,035 Broadcast licences 1,631,307 1,631,307 Goodwill 118,489 118,489 Other intangible and non-current assets 63,178 64,750 Non-current financial assets 15,491 16,084 Deferred tax assets 40,530 34,582 $ 2,519,381 $ 2,465,491 LIABILITIES Current Accounts payable and accrued liabilities $ 150,184 $ 141,729 Provisions 3,208 5,319 Income taxes payable 20,408 15,531 Program and film rights payable 74,744 63,619 248,544 226,198 Long-term debt 383,419 390,138 Deferred tax liabilities 133,422 131,377 Program and film rights payable 9,877 7,446 Provisions 6,305 6,717 Other non-current liabilities 80,935 76,556 Other non-current financial liabilities 9,351 8,466 871,853 846,898 SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY Capital stock 783,133 778,548 Contributed surplus 19,199 20,445 Retained earnings 845,729 819,470 Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) (533) 130 845,196 819,600 1,647,528 1,618,593 $ 2,519,381 $ 2,465,491 ASTRAL MEDIA INC. Business Segments for the three months ended November 30, (in thousands of Canadian dollars) (unaudited) 2012 2011 REVENUES Television $ 155,827 $ 153,552 Radio 88,786 88,291 Out-of-Home 29,852 29,257 $ 274,465 $ 271,100 EBITDA((1)) Television $ 61,251 $ 58,608 Radio 27,773 27,591 Out-of-Home 11,935 11,835 Corporate (7,305) (7,633) $ 93,654 $ 90,401 ((1)) See Appendix 1. ASTRAL MEDIA INC. Appendix 1 Additional IFRS and Non-IFRS Measures for the periods ended November 30, 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 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 Bell-Astral Transaction costs 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 unaudited interim consolidated statements of earnings for the periods ended November 30, 2012 and 2011 to EBITDA: November 30 (in thousands of $) 2012 2011 ("Fiscal 2013") ("Fiscal 2012") Earnings before income taxes 80,864 76,980 Depreciation and amortization 9,294 9,468 Financial expense, net 2,836 3,953 Bell-Astral Transaction costs 660 - EBITDA 93,654 90,401
Net earnings and diluted earnings per share before Bell-Astral Transaction costs. These measures provide an indication of the Company's ability to generate earnings from its ongoing operations, by excluding some items such as Bell-Astral Transaction costs as they are not considered to be in the ordinary course of business.
The following tables reconcile IFRS measures disclosed in the unaudited interim consolidated statements of earnings for the periods ended November 30 2012 and 2011 to net earnings and diluted earnings per share before Bell-Astral Transaction costs:
(in thousands of $) 2012 2011
Net earnings 59,105 55,756 Bell-Astral Transaction costs, net of income taxes 484 - Net earnings before Bell-Astral Transaction costs 59,589 55,756 November 30 (in dollars) 2012 2011 Diluted earnings per share 1.04 1.00 Bell-Astral Transaction costs, net of income taxes 0.01 - Diluted earnings per share before Bell-Astral 1.05 1.00 Transaction costs 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/January2013/10/c4992.html CO: Astral Media Inc. ST: Quebec NI: ENT TVNEWS RADIO ERN DIV CONF -0- Jan/10/2013 12:55 GMT