Transcontinental Profit Falls on Sale of Mexican Unit

Highlights

(in millions of dollars, except per share data) Q3-2011 Q3-2010 %
Revenues $492.6 $481.3 2 %
Adjusted operating income 57.2 57.4 - %
Adjusted net income applicable to participating shares 32.8 33.4 (2 %)
Per share 0.40 0.41 (2 %)
Net income applicable to participating shares 10.6 28.9 (63 %)
Per share 0.13 0.36 (64 %)
  • July 13, 2011, Transcontinental announced an agreement to indirectly acquire all of the shares of Quad Graphics Canada Inc. This transaction is currently being reviewed by the Competition Bureau of Canada
  • The Mexican Federal Competition Commission approved the sale of Transcontinental's Mexican operations to Quad/Graphics
  • Acquired the publishing assets of Groupe Le Canada Français and the majority of the assets of Avantage Consommateurs de l'Est du Québec inc.
  • Announced the consolidation of production activities of two commercial printing plants in Montreal, Transcontinental Litho Acme and Transcontinental Direct Montreal
  • Ranked by Corporate Knights as one of the Best 50 Corporate Citizens in 2011 and included in the Maclean's/Jantzi-Sustainalytics ranking of the 50 most socially responsible corporations in Canada

Transcontinental's revenues increased 2% in the third quarter of 2011, from $481.3 million to $492.6 million. This increase was primarily due to a number of new contracts, most notably from the expanded relationship with The Globe and Mail. Excluding acquisitions, divestitures and closures, the impact of the exchange rates and the paper component variance, organic revenue growth was 2%, driven primarily by the Printing sector.

Adjusted operating income was flat at $57.2 million, while the adjusted operating income margin slightly decreased from 11.9% to 11.6%. The contribution from new contracts coupled with the synergies associated with the use of our most productive assets and continued efficiency improvement initiatives in the Printing sector was compensated by more difficult market conditions in the Media sector, more specifically related to the educational book publishing division, continued strategic investments in the Interactive sector and the negative impact of the exchange rates. However, we generated 6% of organic growth.

Net income applicable to participating shares decreased 63%, from $28.9 million, or $0.36 per share, to $10.6 million, or $0.13 per share. This decrease is mainly due to a net loss related to the discontinuance of our operations in Mexico. Excluding unusual items and discontinued operations, adjusted net income applicable to participating shares decreased 2%, from $33.4 million, or $0.41 per share, to $32.8 million, or $0.40 per share.

"I am satisfied with our third quarter results, especially with the fact that we have generated organic revenue and profit growth for the sixth consecutive quarter in an industry that faces increasing competition. In the past few months, we pursued our strategy to strengthen our existing assets by making strategic acquisitions, divesting less core businesses and rationalizing certain activities. We also developed our offering of products and services on the digital side by expanding our digital advertising representation relationships as well as mobile partnerships. We will continue with our plan to transform Transcontinental to meet our customers' evolving needs. In the next few months we will launch new digital products and services and make use of our most productive assets in order to continue to grow and transform Transcontinental," said François Olivier, President and Chief Executive Officer.

Other Financial Highlights

  • Free cash flow from operations increased significantly as cash flow from operations, before changes in non-cash operating items, was stable at $71.4 million and capital expenditures decreased, from $21.4 million to $8.7 million.
  • As at July 31, 2011, the ratio of net indebtedness (including the securitization program) to adjusted operating income before amortization was 1.59x, as compared to 1.82x as at October 31, 2010 and 1.85x as at July 31, 2010. The ratio of net indebtedness to adjusted operating income before amortization is slightly above the target of 1.5x set by management. Over the next few quarters, it should reach the target given the expected increase in cash flow generation and reduction in capital expenditures.
  • In the quarter, Transcontinental prepaid and cancelled its five-year term loan of $50 million with SGF Rexfor Inc.

For more detailed financial information, please see Management's Discussion and Analysis for the Third Quarter Ended July 31, 2011 at www.transcontinental.com, under "Investors."

Operating Highlights

  • Transcontinental announced that it agreed to acquire all the shares of Quad Graphics Canada Inc. This transaction is currently being reviewed by the Competition Bureau of Canada. Transcontinental was informed by the Competition Bureau that it requires additional information in order to complete its review of the proposed transaction. Under the Competition Act, the period during which the parties may not complete the transaction has been extended until 30 days after providing the Competition Bureau with the additional information it has requested. Both parties have been cooperating with the Competition Bureau since the announcement of the transaction, and they expect to be able to comply with the request for additional information in a timely manner. Given the scope and complexity of the parties' businesses, the issuance of a request for additional information is not unusual.
  • The Mexican Federal Competition Commission has approved the sale of Transcontinental's Mexican operations to Quad/Graphics, therefore this transaction will close shortly. In connection with the upcoming closing, Transcontinental will also transfer its black and white book printing business, destined for U.S. export, to Quad/Graphics. As a result of this imminent volume reduction, Transcontinental will gradually reduce approximately one third of its workforce in its Louiseville and Sherbrooke plants where this book work is produced.
  • These transactions combined are expected to generate at least $40 million in incremental EBITDA for Transcontinental, over 12 to 24 months following the closure of the transactions.
  • Transcontinental announced the consolidation of production activities of two commercial printing plants in Montreal, Transcontinental LithoAcme and Transcontinental Direct Montreal by late September 2011. As a result of this reorganization, the workforce will be reduced.
  • Transcontinental Media acquired the publishing assets of Groupe Le Canada Français, both print publications and websites. Print publications have a combined weekly circulation of more than 155,000 copies. It also acquired the majority of the assets of Avantage Consommateurs de l'Est du Québec inc., including print publications, which have a combined weekly circulation of 60,000 copies, as well as digital and distribution activities. Furthermore, it significantly grew its digital advertising offering thanks to a new partnership with The New York Times Company for About.com, CalorieCount.com and Netplaces.com as well as with Ziff Davis for PCMag.com, ExtremeTech.com and Geek.com. As of today, Transcontinental Media has a digital network of 11.3 million monthly unique visitors in Canada through more than 1,000 websites, bringing its global reach to almost 1 in 2 Canadian Internet users.
  • Transcontinental Interactive won a number of awards. It was ranked top Canadian vendor by the 2011 Email Vendor Features & Functions Guides from Red Pill Email and was ranked fifth in the United States, the only Canadian company to place in the top five. In addition, it captured a total of 30 top prizes at the prestigious Magnum Opus Awards for 2011. These awards recognize excellence in custom-media editorial, design and strategy and were presented by ContentWise and the Content Marketing Institute. They were judged by leading custom-publishing professionals and professors from the Missouri School of Journalism.
  • Transcontinental was ranked by the independent Canadian media corporation Corporate Knights as one of the Best 50 Corporate Citizens in 2011 for the fifth consecutive year. Corporations are selected based on their community involvement, labour relations, environmental practices, occupational health & safety and governance practices. Furthermore, for the third year in a row, Transcontinental was included in the Maclean's/Jantzi-Sustainalytics ranking of the 50 most socially responsible corporations in Canada. Launched jointly in 2007 by Maclean's magazine and the research firm Jantzi-Sustainalytics, the top 50 companies are evaluated based on a broad range of environmental, social and governance criteria (ESG).

Highlights for the Nine-month Period
In the first nine months of fiscal 2011, Transcontinental's revenues increased 2%, from $1,471.9 million to $1,506.1 million. Excluding acquisitions, divestitures and closures, the impact of the exchange rates and the paper component variance, organic revenue growth was 2%, with all three sectors contributing. Similarly, adjusted operating income increased 3%, from $161.0 million to $166.4 million, while the adjusted operating income margin increased slightly from 10.9% to 11.0%. Net income applicable to participating shares went from $122.1 million, or $1.51 per share, to $69.8 million, or $0.86 per share. Excluding unusual items and discontinued operations, adjusted net income applicable to participating shares increased 9%, from $93.2 million to $101.5 million. On a per share basis it increased 9%, from $1.15 to $1.25.

Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures
Financial data have been prepared in conformity with Canadian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). However, certain measures used in this press release do not have any standardized meaning under GAAP and could be calculated differently by other companies. The Corporation believes that certain non-GAAP financial measures, when presented in conjunction with comparable GAAP financial measures, are useful to investors and other readers because that information is an appropriate measure for evaluating the Corporation's operating performance. Internally, the Corporation uses this non-GAAP financial information as an indicator of business performance, and evaluates management's effectiveness with specific reference to these indicators. These measures should be considered in addition to, not as a substitute for or superior to, measures of financial performance prepared in accordance with GAAP.

The following table reconciles GAAP financial measures to non-GAAP financial measures.

Reconciliation of Non-GAAP financial measures
(unaudited)

Dividend

At its September 7, 2011 meeting, the Corporation's Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.135 per Class A Subordinate Voting Shares and Class B shares. This dividend is payable on October 21, 2011 to participating shareholders of record at the close of business on October 3, 2011. On an annual basis, this represents a dividend of $0.54 per share. Furthermore, at the same meeting, the Board also declared a quarterly dividend of $0.4253 per share on cumulative 5-year rate reset first preferred shares, series D. This dividend is payable on October 15, 2011. On an annual basis, this represents a dividend of $1.6875 per preferred share.

Additional Information

Upon releasing its quarterly results, Transcontinental will hold a conference call for the financial community today at 4:15 p.m. Media may hear the call in listen-only mode or tune in to the simultaneous audio broadcast on the Corporation's Web site, which will then be archived for 30 days. For media requests for information or interviews, please contact Nancy Bouffard, Director, Internal and External Communications of Transcontinental, at 514 954-2809.

Profile

Transcontinental creates marketing products and services that allow businesses to attract, reach and retain their target customers. The Corporation is the largest printer in Canada and Mexico, and fourth-largest in North America. It is also one of Canada's top media groups as the leading publisher of consumer magazines and French-language educational resources, and of community newspapers in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. Transcontinental is also the leading door-to-door distributor of advertising material in Canada through its celebrated Publisac network in Quebec and Targeo in the rest of Canada. Thanks to a wide digital network of more than 1000 websites, the company reaches over 11.3 million unique visitors per month in Canada. Transcontinental also offers interactive marketing products and services that use new communication platforms supported by marketing strategy and planning services, database analytics, premedia, e-flyers, email marketing, custom communications and mobile solutions.

Transcontinental (TSX: TCL.A, TCL.B, TCL.PR.D) has 10,500 employees in Canada, the United States and Mexico, and reported revenues of C$2.1 billion in 2010.

 

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