Astral shows continued growth in the second quarter of Fiscal 2013

Astral shows continued growth in the second quarter of Fiscal 2013 


    --  8% increase in net earnings(1)
    --  6% increase in diluted EPS(1)
    --  5% increase in EBITDA(2)
    --  2% increase in revenues
    --  9% increase in cash flow from operations(2)

MONTREAL, April 11, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Astral Media Inc. (TSX: ACM.A ACM.B) 
today reported its financial results for the second quarter ended February 28, 
2013, which saw continued growth in net earnings, EPS, EBITDA(2), revenues and 
cashflow from operations(2).

In the second quarter, consolidated net earnings(1) totalled $41.2million, 
an 8% increase over the $38.2million recorded last year for the same period, 
while diluted earnings per share(1) rose 6% to $0.73 from $0.69 last year. 
EBITDA(2) grew 5% to $69.4 million from $66.0 million for the same period last 
year, while consolidated revenues reached $237.1 million, a 2% growth over the 
$233.5 million recorded last year. Cash flow from operations(2) rose 9% to 
$54.7million for the second quarter compared to $50.2million for the 
corresponding period last year.

For the first half of the year, consolidated net earnings(1) grew 7% to 
$100.8million from $94.0 million for the same period last year, while 
diluted earnings per share(1) increased by 6% to $1.78 from $1.68 last year. 
EBITDA(2) totalled $163.1 million, a 4% increase over the $156.4 million 
recorded last year for the same period, while consolidated revenues rose 1% to 
$511.6 million compared to $504.6 million for the corresponding period last 
year. Cash flow from operations(2) rose 4% to $123.9 million for the first 
half of the year compared to $119.2 million for the corresponding period last 
year.

"I am very pleased by the Company's performance in the second quarter of 
Fiscal 2013, which is Astral's 66(th) consecutive quarter of profitable 
growth," said Ian Greenberg, Astral's President and Chief Executive Officer. 
"Our diversified portfolio, innovative multiplatform offering and financial 
discipline enabled us to thrive in a still challenging market environment."

BELL-ASTRAL TRANSACTION(3)
On March 16, 2012, the Company announced that it entered into a definitive 
agreement with 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. The 
outside date for the closing of the transaction is June 1, 2013, with each of 
the Company and Bell having a further right to postpone it to July 31, 2013. 
The consideration payable to the Company's shareholders remains unchanged 
under the amended arrangement agreement.

On March 4, 2013, the Company and Bell announced that the Canadian Competition 
Bureau has issued a "no action letter" in connection with the acquisition of 
the Company by Bell. The issuance of the no action letter constitutes one of 
the two required regulatory approvals contemplated in the Arrangement 
Agreement.

The Bell-Astral Transaction remains subject to closing conditions, including 
the approval of the CRTC. The CRTC approval is the only remaining regulatory 
approval required in connection with the Bell-Astral Transaction. The CRTC 
announced on March 6, 2013 that a public hearing will be held in Montreal, 
commencing on May 6, 2013, to consider the new proposal for the approval of 
the acquisition of the Company by Bell. There can be no assurance that the 
Bell-Astral Transaction will occur, or that it will occur on the terms and 
conditions currently contemplated.

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

Television
    --  2% revenue growth for the quarter (2% growth for the six-month
        period);
    --  EBITDA(2) growth of 6% for the quarter (5% for the six-month
        period);
    --  Launch, on February 27, of The Movie Network GO including HBO
        GO, a new video streaming service giving subscribers access to
        The Movie Network, HBO Canada and TMN Encore from their iPhone,
        iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC at no extra charge. The service is
        currently available to Bell TV, Cogeco and Rogers Cable
        subscribers.
    --  Subsequent to end of quarter, TELETOON Retro reached the nine
        million subscribers mark, a record for subscriber penetration
        of any all-digital Canadian specialty channel.

Radio
    --  Revenue decline of 1% for the quarter, a performance in line
        with that of the industry (consistent year-over-year
        performance for the six-month period, outperforming the
        industry);
    --  On February 5, launch of Astral Radio's new Built for
        BlackBerry® application.

Out-of-Home
    --  Revenue growth of 10% for the quarter (5% growth for the
        six-month period);
    --  EBITDA(2) growth of 9% for the quarter (3% growth for the
        six-month period);
    --  On December 19, rollout of a new landmark in the domestic jetty
        at Montréal-Trudeau international airport;
    --  In February, addition of 6 new Digital faces on Toronto's
        Gardiner Expressway, bringing Astral's popular national Digital
        Network to 51 faces.

Corporate
    --  During the quarter, the Company repaid $22.0 million of its
        long-term debt for a total of $29.0 million since the beginning
        of the fiscal year and reduced its available credit facility by
        $240.0 million.
    --  On February 1, Astral paid a cash dividend of $28.1 million to
        shareholders of record at the close of business on January 15,
        2013.

The unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements with related 
notes and 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 10:30 a.m. ET on 
Thursday,April 11, 2013. 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.

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.

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. Except as 
required under applicable securities regulations, we disclaim any intention or 
obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. 

  1. Excluding Bell-Astral transaction costs in Fiscal 2013 and
     acquisition and other costs in Fiscal 2012. 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
     February 28, 2013.


ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
Interim Consolidated Statements of Earnings
for the periods ended February 28, 2013 and February 29, 2012
(in thousands of Canadian dollars except for per-share data)
(unaudited) 


                                                                       
                                                                       
                                      3 months              6 months
                                   2013      2012        2013      2012
                                                                       

Revenues                      $ 237,102 $ 233,503   $ 511,567 $ 504,603
                                                                       

Operating expenses              167,662   167,459     348,473   348,158

Depreciation of property,
plant and equipment               7,040     7,360      13,971    14,866

Amortization of other
intangible and non-current
assets                            2,406     1,976       4,769     3,938

Financial expense, net            3,024     3,973       5,860     7,926

Acquisition and other costs           -     4,311           -     4,311

Bell-Astral Transaction costs     4,004         -       4,664         -
                                                                       

Earnings before income taxes     52,966    48,424     133,830   125,404
                                                                       

Income tax expense               14,637    13,419      36,396    34,643
                                                                       

Net earnings                  $  38,329 $  35,005   $  97,434 $  90,761
                                                                       

Earnings per share                                                     

 - Basic                      $    0.68 $    0.63   $    1.74 $    1.64

 - Diluted                    $    0.68 $    0.63   $    1.72 $    1.62



ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
Interim Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income
for the periods ended February 28, 2013 and February 29, 2012
(in thousands of Canadian dollars)
(unaudited) 
                                                                       
                                                                       
                                      3 months              6 months
                                   2013      2012       2013       2012
                                                                       

Net earnings                   $ 38,329 $  35,005   $ 97,434 $   90,761

Item that is never                                          
subsequently reclassified to
the statements of earnings                                             

  Actuarial gain (loss) on                                    
  employee future benefit
  plans, net of income tax
  expense (recovery) of $3.0
  million and ($1.3 million)
  respectively for the three
  months, and $1.2 million and
  ($3.7 million) respectively
  for the six months              8,122   (3,591)      3,292   (10,363)

Item that may be subsequently                               
reclassified to the statements
of earnings                                                            

  Change in fair value of                                     
  derivatives designated as
  cash flow hedges, net of
  income tax expense
  (recovery) of ($0.1 million)
  and $0.5 million
  respectively for the three
  months, and ($0.3 million)
  and $0.6 million
  respectively for the six
  months                          (181)     1,523      (844)      1,633
                                                                       

Other comprehensive income                             2,448
(loss)                            7,941   (2,068)               (8,730)
                                                                       

Comprehensive income           $ 46,270 $  32,937   $ 99,882 $   82,031



 
ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
Interim Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
for the periods ended February 28, 2013 and February 29, 2012
(in thousands of Canadian dollars)
(unaudited)
                                                                
                                                                       
                                    3 months               6 months
                                2013       2012         2013       2012
                                                                       

OPERATING ACTIVITIES                                                   

  Net earnings            $   38,329 $   35,005   $   97,434 $   90,761
                                                                       

  Non-cash items:                                                      
    Stock-based                2,699      1,872        4,797      4,024
    compensation costs
    Depreciation and           9,446      9,336       18,740     18,804
    amortization
    Imputed interest, net        372        426          660        685
    Amortization of              606        272          887        477
    deferred financing
    costs
    Deferred tax expense       3,270      3,288        1,368      4,410
                                                                       

  Cash flows from             54,722     50,199      123,886    119,161
  operations

  Net change in non-cash      22,357      6,260     (22,484)   (38,847)
  operating items
                                                                       

Cash provided by              77,079     56,459      101,402     80,314
operating activities
                                                                       
                                                                       
                                                                       

INVESTING ACTIVITIES                                                   

  Additions to property,     (6,382)    (6,808)     (16,090)   (12,382)
  plant and equipment

  Additions to other         (2,040)    (1,344)      (3,039)    (2,296)
  intangible and
  non-current assets

  Business acquisition,            -   (11,520)            -   (11,520)
  net of cash acquired

Cash used for investing      (8,422)   (19,672)     (19,129)   (26,198)
activities
                                                                       

FINANCING ACTIVITIES                                                   

  Repayment of long-term    (22,000)   (20,000)     (29,000)   (30,000)
  debt

  Deferred financing               -        (6)            -    (2,017)
  costs

  Stock options exercised      4,642     14,166        6,344     17,276

  Shares repurchased               -    (6,369)            -   (14,126)

  Dividends                 (28,061)   (27,919)     (28,061)   (27,923)

Cash used for financing     (45,419)   (40,128)     (50,717)   (56,790)
activities
                                                                       

Net change in cash            23,238    (3,341)       31,556    (2,674)

Cash - beginning of           29,210     23,320       20,892     22,653
period

Cash - end of period      $   52,448 $   19,979   $   52,448 $   19,979


ASTRAL MEDIA INC. 
Interim Consolidated Balance Sheets as at
(in thousands of Canadian dollars)
(unaudited) 


                                                              
                                                              
                                              February 28,  August 31,
                                                      2013        2012
                                                                      

ASSETS                                                                

Current                                                               

  Cash                                        $     52,448 $    20,892

  Accounts receivable                              172,193     174,384

  Program and film rights                          114,331     114,753

  Prepaid expenses and other current assets         30,561      29,007
                                                   369,533     339,036
                                                                      

Program and film rights                             58,478      51,208

Property, plant and equipment                      209,216     210,035

Broadcast licences                               1,631,307   1,631,307

Goodwill                                           118,489     118,489

Other intangible and non-current assets             62,605      64,750

Non-current financial assets                        15,691      16,084

Deferred tax assets                                 37,831      34,582
                                              $  2,503,150 $ 2,465,491
                                                                      

LIABILITIES                                                           

Current                                                               

  Accounts payable and accrued liabilities    $    115,775 $   141,729

  Provisions                                         2,978       5,319

  Income taxes payable                              18,192      15,531

  Program and film rights payable                   75,380      63,619
                                                   212,325     226,198
                                                                      

Long-term debt                                     362,025     390,138

Deferred tax liabilities                           136,882     131,377

Program and film rights payable                      9,568       7,446

Provisions                                           6,258       6,717

Other non-current liabilities                       67,494      76,556

Other non-current financial liabilities              8,910       8,466
                                                   803,462     846,898
                                                                      

SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY                                                  

Capital stock                                      788,381     778,548

Contributed surplus                                 19,886      20,445

Retained earnings                                  892,135     819,470

Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)        (714)         130
                                                   891,421     819,600
                                                 1,699,688   1,618,593
                                              $  2,503,150 $ 2,465,491


ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
Business Segments
for the periods ended February 28, 2013 and February 29, 2012
(in thousands of Canadian dollars)
(unaudited) 


                                                
                                                
                    3 months               6 months
                 2013      2012         2013       2012
                                                       

REVENUES                                               
                                                       

Television  $ 143,209 $ 140,561   $  299,036 $  294,113

Radio          73,254    74,197      162,040    162,488

Out-of-Home    20,639    18,745       50,491     48,002
                                                       
            $ 237,102 $ 233,503   $  511,567 $  504,603
                                                       
                                                       

EBITDA((1))                                            
                                                       

Television  $  52,778 $  49,665   $  114,029 $  108,273

Radio          17,569    18,396       45,342     45,987

Out-of-Home     4,689     4,310       16,624     16,145

Corporate     (5,596)   (6,327)     (12,901)   (13,960)
                                                       
                                                       
            $  69,440 $  66,044   $  163,094 $  156,445
    ((1)) See Appendix 1.


ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
Appendix 1
Additional IFRS and Non-IFRS Measures
for the periods ended February 28, 2013 and February 29, 2012
(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 acquisition and other costs, and 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 February 28, 2013 and February 
29, 2012 to EBITDA: 
                        3 months                    6 months 
(in thousands        2013            2012           2013         2012
of $) 


                                                                     

Earnings           52,966          48,424        133,830      125,404
before income
taxes

Depreciation        9,446           9,336         18,740       18,804
and
amortization

Financial           3,024           3,973          5,860        7,926
expense, net

Acquisition             -           4,311              -        4,311
and other
costs

Bell-Astral         4,004               -          4,664            -
Transaction
costs

EBITDA                             66,044        163,094      156,445
                   69,440


Net earnings and diluted earnings per share before acquisition and other 
costs, and 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 acquisition and other costs, and 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 February 28, 
2013 and February 29, 2012 to net earnings and diluted earnings per share 
before acquisition and other costs, and Bell-Astral Transaction costs: 
                                        3 months         6 months 
(in thousands of $)                        2013   2012      2013   2012 


                                                                       

Net earnings                             38,329 35,005    97,434 90,761

Acquisition and other costs, net of           -  3,198         - 3,198
income taxes

Bell-Astral Transaction costs, net of     2,896      -     3,380      -
income taxes

Net earnings before acquisition and      41,225 38,203   100,814 93,959
other costs, and Bell-Astral Transaction
costs
                                                                       
                                                                       
                                            3 months         6 months

(in dollars)                               2013   2012      2013   2012
                                                                       

Diluted earnings per share                 0.68   0.63      1.72   1.62

Acquisition and other costs, net of           -   0.06         -   0.06
income taxes

Bell-Astral Transaction costs, net of      0.05      -      0.06      -
income taxes

Diluted earnings per share before          0.73   0.69      1.78   1.68
acquisition and other costs, and
Bell-Astral 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 oracette@astral.com 
Analysts: 
Robert Fortier Vice-President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer Astral 
Media Inc. 514-939-5000 rfortier@astral.com 
SOURCE: Astral Media Inc. 
To view this news release in HTML formatting, please use the following URL: 
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CO: Astral Media Inc.
ST: Quebec
NI: ENT TVNEWS RADIO ERN MNA CONF  
-0- Apr/11/2013 11:55 GMT
 
 
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