Transcontinental Inc. announces its fourth quarter and fiscal 2014 results
Fourth Quarter Highlights
- Revenues increased 1.7%, from $562.6 million to $571.9 million.
- Adjusted net earnings applicable to participating shares grew 20.6%, from $55.9 million to $67.4 million and adjusted net earnings applicable to participating shares on a per share basis grew 22.5%.
- Net earnings applicable to participating shares improved, from a loss of $94.5 million to a profit of $9.0 million.
- Recorded a $22.3 million charge for restructuring and other costs related to the completion of the integration of the operations of Quad/Graphics Canada, Inc. and to workforce reductions in the Media Sector linked to the integration of the weekly newspapers acquired from Sun Media Corporation.
- Recorded a $45.5 million charge for asset impairment (including goodwill), primarily in the Book Publishing Group in the Media Sector.
- Maintained a solid financial position, with a net indebtedness ratio of 1.23 x.
- Redeemed all outstanding Preferred Shares, Series D, for $100 million.
- Announced the sale of consumer magazines produced in Montreal and Toronto. The $55.5 million transaction is subject to approval by regulators, including the Competition Bureau.
Montreal, December 9, 2014 - Transcontinental Inc.'s (TSX: TCL.A, TCL.B) revenues increased 1.7% in the fourth quarter, from $562.6 million to $571.9 million. The increase is mainly due to the contribution from the acquisitions of Capri Packaging and the Quebec weekly newspapers owned by Sun Media Corporation, as well as new printing and distribution agreements. This growth was partly offset by lower advertising revenues in both sectors.
In the fourth quarter, adjusted operating earnings rose 16.4%, from $83.4 million to $97.1 million. This performance stems from cost-reduction initiatives in both sectors and the positive impact of the share-price variance on the stock-based compensation expense, as well as the net contribution from acquisitions and disposals. It was partly offset by lower advertising revenues. Net earnings applicable to participating shares improved, from a loss of $94.5 million, or $1.21 per share, to a profit of $9.0 million, or $0.12 per share. This improvement is mainly due to a decrease in the asset impairment charge and an increase in adjusted operating earnings, partially offset by higher restructuring costs. Adjusted net earnings applicable to participating shares grew 20.6%, from $55.9 million, or $0.71 per share, to $67.4 million, or $0.87 per share.
Highlights of Fiscal 2014
In 2014, TC Transcontinental's revenues were down 1.3%, from $2,096.7 million to $2,069.4 million. The decrease is mainly due to lower advertising revenues in both sectors, particularly in our newspaper and marketing-products printing activities and our consumer magazine publishing activities, and to the sale of Rastar's assets. The decline was partially offset by the contribution from new distribution, newspaper-printing and magazine-printing agreements, and from acquisitions.
Adjusted operating earnings was up 10.2%, from $233.6 million to $257.4 million, due to cost-reduction initiatives in our two sectors, the positive impact of the share-price variance on the stock-based compensation expense and the net contribution from acquisitions and disposals. This increase was, however, mitigated by lower revenues, as noted above. Net earnings applicable to participating shares improved, from a loss of $23.4 million, or $0.30 per share, to a profit of $105.1 million, or $1.35 per share. This improvement stems mainly from a lower asset impairment charge in 2014 and an increase in our adjusted operating earnings, partially offset by higher restructuring and other costs. Excluding unusual items, adjusted net earnings applicable to participating shares rose 13.4%, from $148.3 million, or $1.90 per share, to $168.2 million, or $2.16 per share.
"We had an excellent year in fiscal 2014, thanks to all the initiatives we rolled out during the year," said François Olivier, President and Chief Executive Officer of TC Transcontinental. "Our solid performance is the result of our sales development efforts, the optimization of our cost structure and the proactive management of our portfolio of assets. All these actions more than offset the impact of a challenging advertising market in 2014.
"More specifically, we signed new printing and distribution agreements, consolidated the weekly newspaper market in Quebec and diversified our operations by investing in a new area of growth, flexible packaging. We also divested certain segments that no longer met our growth requirements and continued to adapt our cost structure to market realities. We believe that by continuing to maximize our printing platform, by strengthening the Media Sector, by growing our digital offering and by developing the packaging division we will be able to keep generating significant cash flows and maintain our excellent financial position so that we can continue our transformation," said François Olivier.
Other Highlights of Fiscal 2014
- The Corporation completed the acquisition of the assets of Capri Packaging, a supplier of flexible packaging solutions, operating two facilities located in Clinton, Missouri. The acquisition will add about US$72 million to Transcontinental Inc.'s revenues. As part of the transaction, the seller, Schreiber Foods, Inc. has signed a 10-year agreement to secure Capri Packaging as a strategic supplier of flexible packaging, which represents about 75% of Capri's total revenues.
- To maintain its financial flexibility, the Corporation signed a private financing agreement for $250 million in senior unsecured notes at a rate of 3.897% due in 2019. The Corporation also exercised its right to redeem all outstanding Preferred Shares on October 15, 2014, for a total of $100 million. Lastly, the Corporation extended its credit facility for two additional years, until February 2020.
- Transcontinental Inc. completed the acquisition of the Quebec weekly newspapers and their related Web properties owned by Sun Media Corporation. This transaction will add about $20 million to Transcontinental Inc.'s operating earnings before amortization. Furthermore, with the conclusion of this transaction, the TC Media consolidated newspaper portfolio in Quebec now contains more than 110 titles.
- The Corporation recorded a $41.4 million charge for restructuring and other costs, related to the completion of the integration of the operations of Quad/Graphics Canada, Inc. and to workforce reductions stemming from the integration of the weekly newspapers acquired from Sun Media Corporation.
- Transcontinental Inc. signed a definitive agreement to sell all its consumer magazines, their websites and all related platforms produced in Montreal and Toronto to TVA Group Inc. for $55.5 million. This transaction, which is subject to approval by regulators, including the Competition Bureau, also covers the printing of the magazines being sold, as well as the extension to 2022 of the contract signed in December 2013 to print some of TVA Group Inc. publications.
For more detailed financial information, please see Management's Discussion and Analysis for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2014 as well as the financial statements in the "Investors" section of our website at www.tc.tc
New agreements to print newspapers and flyers should contribute to our operating earnings and we will continue our efforts to attract other Canadian newspaper publishers to our highly efficient print network. We will also keep developing solutions to meet the evolving needs of retailers. Furthermore, the recently announced closures of some printing plants will allow us to consolidate production in more technologically advanced facilities, which should improve efficiency. However, the printing of magazines, newspapers, books and marketing products will still be affected by declining revenues, primarily due to decreased advertising spending. We will therefore focus on maximizing the profitability of our printing platform in fiscal 2015.
The integration of Capri Packaging is ongoing, as is the development of this promising new avenue of growth in the production of flexible packaging solutions. In the short term we will seek to improve efficiency and organic sales growth with our current and prospective clients. Results in this niche continue to meet our expectations and our approach to growth opportunities will be a disciplined one.
The disposition, subject to regulatory clearances, of our consumer magazines will allow us to focus on the greater business opportunities in the local advertising market. Going forward, following the regulatory approval of our acquisition of the Quebec weekly newspapers owned by Sun Media Corporation, we expect to achieve about $20 million in synergies, primarily in 2015, which should offset the decline in the local advertising market. Given the challenging conditions in the advertising market, we will make further adjustments to our cost structure and continue to develop our digital and interactive marketing products for retailers, among others, and enhance our business and education offerings.
We will continue to generate significant cash flows in the short-term, and our excellent financial position should permit us to continue applying our multi-pronged capital management approach, which allows us to reduce our debt, pay dividends and invest in our transformation. We have also secured long-term financing to preserve the financial flexibility required to implement our growth strategy. Our printing operations will therefore continue to get the most out of our highly efficient network and our two sectors will concentrate on their core competencies in order to improve profitability and further our transformation.
Reconciliation of Non-IFRS Financial Measures
Financial data have 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 more appropriate for evaluating the Corporation's operating performance. Internally, management uses such non-IFRS 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 IFRS.
The following table reconciles IFRS financial measures to non-IFRS financial measures.
Dividend on Participating Shares
The Corporation's Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.16 per share on Class A Subordinate Voting Shares and Class B Shares. This dividend is payable on January 22, 2015 to shareholders of record at the close of business on January 2, 2015.
Upon releasing its fiscal year 2014 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, Corporate Communications of TC Transcontinental, at 514-954-3581.
Canada's largest printer, with operations in print and digital media, publishing and flexible packaging, 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 commitment to all 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 over 8,500 employees in Canada and the United States, and revenues of C$2.1 billion in 2014. Website www.tc.tc
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 our packaging products used in the food industry, innovation of our offering and concentration of our 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, 2014 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 9, 2014.
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 9, 2014. 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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Senior Advisor, Corporate
Telephone : 514 954-3581
Jennifer F. McCaughey
Senior Director, Investor Relations
and External Corporate Communications
Telephone : 514 954-2821