Transcontinental Inc. announces its results for Fiscal 2016

Fiscal 2016 Highlights

  • Revenues increased 0.9%.
  • Adjusted operating earnings before depreciation and amortization increased 3.0%.
  • Adjusted net earnings attributable to shareholders of the Corporation increased 5.1%.
  • Net earnings attributable to shareholders of the Corporation per share decreased 43.8%
  • Maintained a solid financial position, with a net indebtedness ratio of 0.8x.
  • Signed a five-year agreement to print the Toronto Star, which took effect in July 2016.
  • Acquired Robbie Manufacturing, a flexible packaging supplier located in Lenexa, Kansas.
  • Acquired Flexstar Packaging, a first flexible packaging acquisition in Canada.
  • Amendment to the normal course issuer bid (NCIB) of the Corporation to increase the maximum number of Class A Subordinate Voting Shares that it may repurchase from 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 shares. Under its current NCIB, as of November 30, 2016, the Corporation has repurchased 701,590 of its Class A Subordinate Voting Shares at a weighted-average price of $17.42, for a total cash consideration of $12.2 million.

Montreal, December 6, 2016 - Transcontinental Inc. (TSX: TCL.A TCL.B) announces its results for fiscal 2016, which ended October 31, 2016.

"I am very proud of our 2016 results", said François Olivier, President and Chief Executive Officer of TC Transcontinental. "We successfully continued the transformation of TC Transcontinental while recording the highest adjusted net earnings attributable to shareholders of the Corporation in the organization's 40 years of history. Our employees can be proud of their work and performance."

"The printing division had another excellent year. The start of printing of the Toronto Star demonstrates the renewed interest in our unique newspaper printing outsourcing model. In addition, we continued to expand our business relationships with retailers and implement measures to enable the optimal use of our network. In the Media Sector, the difficult market realities that are still prevailing led us to significantly reduce our cost structure. Furthermore, we disposed of certain assets that were no longer in line with our priorities. As for the packaging division, I am pleased with the sustained pace of our progress. On an annualized basis, this division's revenues more than doubled and now stand at about 15% of consolidated revenues. The acquisitions of Robbie Manufacturing and Flexstar Packaging were carefully carried out according to our strategic criteria. We are convinced that the initiatives deployed in the packaging division to strengthen our sales force will contribute to the realization of several business opportunities with our already well-established sales funnel."

"Lastly, with our solid financial position and our significant cash flow, we are well positioned to achieve our growth ambitions in the flexible packaging industry."

Preamble
The Corporation revised its organizational structure to combine its services offered to retailers within the printing division. As a result, door-to-door distribution and premedia services have been transferred under the responsibility of the Printing & Packaging Sector. Accordingly, the comparative data for our operating sectors have been restated to reflect these changes.

2016 Fourth Quarter Results
Revenues for the fourth quarter of 2016 went from $540.1 million to $555.6 million, an increase of 2.9%. The contribution from acquisitions in the packaging division and the appreciation of the U.S. dollar against the Canadian dollar more than offset the loss of revenues related to disposals and closures in the Media Sector and the decrease in revenues from existing operations. In the printing division, flyer printing volume remained stable and proved once again that this marketing tool is considered essential by retailers to drive traffic to the store. The printing of the Toronto Star, which started in July 2016, as well as door-to-door distribution activities and premedia services, for their part, partially offset the negative impact of the decline in advertising spending in several segments and the completion of the contract to print Canada's census form. In the packaging division, revenues from existing operations increased slightly compared to the fourth quarter of 2015. In the Media Sector, the decline in advertising revenues continued to have a negative effect on the results of local newspapers.

Adjusted operating earnings went from $87.8 million to $107.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2016, an increase of 22.3%. The acquisitions, the favourable exchange rate effect and higher organic growth offset the above-mentioned decline in revenues from existing operations. The increase in adjusted operating earnings from existing operations is attributable to ongoing cost reduction initiatives in the printing division and the Media Sector and the decrease of $7.4 million in stock-based compensation expense as a result of the change in the share price in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to the corresponding quarter in 2015. In the packaging division, adjusted operating earnings from existing operations remained stable. Despite the favourable impact of the stock-based compensation expense, adjusted operating earnings would have increased 12.7%.

Adjusted net earnings attributable to shareholders of the Corporation increased 26.4%, from $60.6 million, or $0.78 per share, to $76.6 million, or $0.99 per share. This increase is mostly attributable to an improvement in adjusted operating earnings, partly offset by an increase in adjusted income taxes. Net earnings attributable to shareholders of the Corporation went from $100.2 million, or $1.28 per share, to $57.7 million, or $0.75 per share. This decrease is mostly explained by the adjustment to deferred tax assets in the United States and the reversal of financial expenses resulting from notices of assessments recorded in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Fiscal 2016 Results
In 2016, TC Transcontinental's revenues grew 0.9%, from $2,002.2 million to $2,019.5 million. The contribution from acquisitions in the packaging division and the appreciation of the U.S. dollar against the Canadian dollar more than offset the loss of revenues related to disposals and closures in the Media Sector and the decrease in revenues from existing operations. In the printing division, aside from the loss of a U.S. customer in 2015, flyer printing volume remained stable and proved once again that this marketing tool is considered essential by retailers to drive traffic to the store. Previously announced new contracts, in particular the contract to print the Toronto Star, which started in July 2016, and the contract to print Canada's census form, which ended in the second quarter of 2016, partially offset the negative impact of the decline in advertising spending in several segments. In the packaging division, the decrease is due to an adjustment to the demand from Transcontinental Capri's main customer and the loss of a customer as a result of its sale. In the Media Sector, the decline in advertising revenues continued to have a negative effect on the results of local newspapers.

Adjusted operating earnings went from $276.7 million to $283.4 million, an increase of 2.4%. The acquisitions and the favourable exchange rate effect more than offset the decrease in adjusted operating earnings from existing operations. The lower organic growth is due to the above-mentioned decline in revenues and the investments made to increase capacity and support the growth strategy of the packaging division. Cost reduction initiatives in the printing division and the Media Sector and the decrease of $8.0 million in stock-based compensation expense as a result of the change in the share price in fiscal 2016 compared to the prior year partially offset the decrease in existing operations.

Adjusted net earnings attributable to shareholders of the Corporation increased 5.1%, from $186.7 million, or $2.39 per share, to $196.3 million, or $2.53 per share. This improvement is mainly attributable to higher adjusted operating earnings and, to a lesser extent, a decrease in financial expenses net of the reversal resulting from notices of assessment. Net earnings attributable to shareholders of the Corporation went from $262.6 million, or $3.36 per share, to $146.3 million, or $1.89 per share. This decrease is mostly due to several favourable adjustments recorded in the fourth quarter of 2015, including a $51.7 million revaluation of tax assets in the United States. Moreover, the gain on the sale of the consumer magazine publishing activities and the reversal of financial expenses resulting from notices of assessment also contributed to the variation compared to the prior year. Lastly, a higher impairment expense and greater restructuring and other costs (revenues) also explain this decrease.

For more detailed financial information, please see Management's Discussion and Analysis for the fiscal year ended October 31st, 2016 as well as the financial statements in the "Investors" section of our website at www.tc.tc

Outlook for 2017
We expect stable revenues within the printing division from our offering to retailers, which includes flyer printing, door-to-door distribution and premedia services. In addition, we will continue to develop the in-store marketing product offering. The contract to print the Toronto Star will also have a positive impact on the first six months of the year, and we are also pursuing our initiatives to secure new contracts in this area. However, these positive items should be offset by a decrease in volume from certain newspaper publishers as a result of reduced circulation. Furthermore, our magazine and commercial product printing activities will be affected by a reduction in print advertising in fiscal 2017. Lastly, the non-recurring contract to print the Census of Canada, which has been completed since the second quarter of 2016, will also have an adverse effect in early 2017. With respect to adjusted operating earnings, we will continue our operational efficiency and cost reduction initiatives to offset in large part the expected decrease in volume within this division.

In our packaging division, the acquisitions of Robbie Manufacturing and Flexstar Packaging will have a positive impact in 2017. We will maintain our disciplined acquisition approach in this promising market in order to invest in quality assets that meet our strategic criteria. In addition, our manufacturing capacity, combined with our North American salesforce, should drive sustained organic growth. We will also continue the integration of our acquisitions which should generate additional synergies.

In the Media Sector, the impact of the transformation of the advertising market should continue to affect our newspaper publishing activities, partly offset by our cost reduction initiatives. In addition, we will continue to accelerate the shift to digital of our existing operations while focusing on our key competencies in this market.

Our significant cash flows and excellent financial health should enable us to continue investing in order to pursue our growth during fiscal 2017.

Reconciliation of Non-IFRS Financial Measures
Financial information has been prepared in conformity with IFRS. However, certain measures used in this press release do not have any standardized meaning under IFRS and could be calculated differently by other companies. We believe that many readers analyze our results based on certain non-IFRS financial measures because such measures are normalized for evaluating the Corporation's operating performance. Management uses such non-IFRS financial information to evaluate the performance of its operations and managers. These measures should be considered in addition to, not as a substitute for or superior to, measures of financial performance prepared in accordance with IFRS.

Dividend
The Corporation's Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.185 per share on Class A Subordinate Voting Shares and Class B Shares. This dividend is payable on January 19, 2017 to shareholders of record at the close of business on January 4, 2017.

Conference Call
Upon releasing its fiscal 2016 results, the Corporation will hold a conference call for the financial community today at 4:15 p.m. The dial-in numbers are 1 647 788-4922 or 1 877 223-4471. Media may hear the call in listen-in only mode or tune in to the simultaneous audio broadcast on the Corporation's website, which will then be archived for 30 days. For media requests or interviews, please contact Nathalie St-Jean, Senior Advisor, Communications of TC Transcontinental, at 514-954-3581.

Profile
Canada's largest printer with operations in print, flexible packaging, publishing and digital media, TC Transcontinental's mission is to create products and services that allow businesses to attract, reach and retain their target customers.

Respect, teamwork, performance and innovation are strong values held by the Corporation and its employees. The Corporation's commitment to its stakeholders is to pursue its business and philanthropic activities in a responsible manner.

Transcontinental Inc. (TSX: TCL.A TCL.B), known as TC Transcontinental, has close to 8,000 employees in Canada and the United States, and revenues of C$2.0 billion in 2016.  Website  www.tc.tc

Forward-looking Statements
Our public communications often contain oral or written forward-looking statements which are based on the expectations of management and inherently subject to a certain number of risks and uncertainties, known and unknown. By their very nature, forward-looking statements are derived from both general and specific assumptions. The Corporation cautions against undue reliance on such statements since actual results or events may differ materially from the expectations expressed or implied in them. Forward-looking statements may include observations concerning the Corporation's objectives, strategy, anticipated financial results and business outlook. The Corporation's future performance may also be affected by a number of factors, many of which are beyond the Corporation's will or control. These factors include, but are not limited to, the economic situation in the world and particularly in Canada and the United States, structural changes in the industries in which the Corporation operates, the exchange rate, availability of capital, energy costs, competition, the Corporation's capacity to engage in strategic transactions and integrate acquisitions into its activities, the regulatory environment, the safety of its packaging products used in the food industry, innovation of its offering and concentration of its sales in certain segments. The main risks, uncertainties and factors that could influence actual results are described in Management's Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) for the fiscal year ended on October 31st, 2016 and in the latest Annual Information Form.

Unless otherwise indicated by the Corporation, forward-looking statements do not take into account the potential impact of nonrecurring or other unusual items, nor of divestitures, business combinations, mergers or acquisitions which may be announced after the date of December 6, 2016.

The forward-looking statements in this press release are made pursuant to the "safe harbour" provisions of applicable Canadian securities legislation.

The forward-looking statements in this release are based on current expectations and information available as at December 6, 2016. Such forward-looking information may also be found in other documents filed with Canadian securities regulators or in other communications. The Corporation's management disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise these statements unless otherwise required by the securities authorities.

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For information:
 
Media
Nathalie St-Jean
Senior Advisor, Communications
TC Transcontinental
Telephone: 514-954-3581
 
Financial Community
Shirley Chenny
Advisor, Investor Relations
TC Transcontinental
Telephone: 514-954-4166