WesternOne Equity Income Fund Reports Significant Growth in 2011 Results, Schedules Conference Call and Announces Cash Distribution for March 2012

VANCOUVER, March 15, 2012 /CNW/ - WesternOne Equity Income Fund ("WesternOne Equity") (Toronto Stock Exchange: WEQ.UN, WEQ.DB.B and WEQ.DB.C) today announced the release of its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2011.

The results, consisting of WesternOne Equity's audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2011 and Management's Discussion and Analysis ("MD&A") dated March 15, 2012, are available on SEDAR (www.sedar.com).

2011 Financial highlights and recent events:

  • Significant growth in consolidated revenue (127%), gross profit (123%) and adjusted EBITDA(1) (81%) compared to 2010 due to organic growth in the WesternOne Rentals & Sales ("WRS") segment and the acquisition of the Britco group of companies ("Britco") in June 2011

  • Annual consolidated payout percentage(2) of 66.5% compared to 99.4% in 2010

  • Britco contributed incremental revenue of $52.4 million and adjusted EBITDA of $9.2 million for the seven-month period since June 1, 2011

  • WRS achieved annual organic growth of 19% in revenue and 12% in adjusted EBITDA. The growth was driven by strong demand for equipment rentals and related services in Western Canada's construction and infrastructure sectors, in spite of an unseasonably warm winter in the fourth quarter.

  • Significant growth in consolidated revenue (175%), gross profit (107%) and adjusted EBITDA (56%) for the fourth quarter compared to the same period in 2010

  • Britco commenced work on an 880-room, 280,000-square foot workforce accommodation project valued at approximately $45 million for a large energy company in Alberta; piling work started on site in November 2011 and production of the workforce accommodation units started in December 2011

  • Britco entered into full-production mode at the facility in Waco, Texas, with the first modular buildings completed in early 2012

  • Britco acquired Alberta Modulars Inc. in Edmonton, Alberta in February 2012 and enhanced manufacturing capacity and market presence in Alberta

  • WRS successfully launched the construction heat division in Southern British Columbia, providing construction heat and humidity control solutions to the construction and movie production sectors

"We are very pleased to see the solid growth in the operating results due to both organic growth and business acquisition," said Mr. Darren Latoski, Chief Executive Officer. "Our disciplined growth strategy has led to record revenue, gross profit and adjusted EBITDA in 2011, along with significant improvements to our annual payout percentage."

"Going forward we see our two strategic operating segments, WRS and Britco, continue to benefit from the positive economic environment in Western Canada," continued Mr. Latoski. "Capital investments in the construction and infrastructure and resource sectors are expected to fuel demand for WRS' rental equipment and services and Britco's modular space products. To achieve continued growth we will make disciplined fleet acquisitions, and will increase Britco's production capacity by streamlining manufacturing processes and adding staff at its four facilities in BC, Alberta and Texas. We will also continue to seek accretive acquisition opportunities to grow WesternOne Equity's businesses."

Summary Financial Overview
(unaudited)
Three months ended
December 31,
Year ended
December 31,
($ millions except unit amounts)   2011   2010   2011   2010
Revenue     $ 39.3     $ 14.3     $ 109.4     $ 48.2
Gross Profit   11.0   5.3   34.1   15.3
                 
Adjusted EBITDA (1) $ 7.6 $ 4.8 $ 24.4 $ 13.5
                 
Distributable Cash Generated (1) $ 4.1 $ 3.6 $ 14.7 $ 8.4
Distributions Declared   2.7   2.1   9.8   8.4
Distributable Cash per Unit (3)   0.2345   0.2564   0.9137   0.6035
Distributions Declared per Unit   0.1500   0.1500   0.6000   0.6000
                 
Payout Percentage (2)   65.1%   58.5%   66.5%   99.4%

___________________

Notes:

(1)      "Adjusted EBITDA" and "Distributable Cash" are not recognized measures under IFRS and do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS. "Adjusted EBITDA" refers to earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation, amortization, accretion, gain/loss on financial derivatives relating to changes in the fair market value of the fixed interest rate swap, business acquisition costs, debenture issuance costs, gain/loss on debentures relating to changes in their fair values, gain/loss on Unit issuances relating to conversion of debentures, gain/loss on WesternOne Equity's exchangeable units relating to changes in their fair values, unit based compensation, distribution to unitholders, foreign exchange gains/losses, write-down of fleet assets, intangible assets and goodwill, and fees associated with franchise termination. "Distributable Cash" refers to cash available for distribution to the unitholders by WesternOne Equity. For further description of Adjusted EBITDA and Distributable Cash refer to "Non-IFRS Measures" in the MD&A dated March 15, 2012.
(2)      Amounts calculated using distributable cash and distributions declared for the related period, not on per Unit amounts. Calculated as distribution declared divided by distributable cash generated.
(3)      Calculated based on basic weighted average number of units.
   

WesternOne Equity today announced that its Board of Trustees has approved a cash distribution of $0.05 per trust unit for the month of March 2012 (equivalent to $0.60 per trust unit on an annualized basis). This distribution will be paid on April 16, 2011 to unitholders of record at the close of business on March 30, 2011.

The policy of WesternOne Equity is to pay cash distributions on or about the 15th day of each month to unitholders of record on the last business day of the preceding month.

WesternOne Equity announced that during February 2012, 440,476 trust units were issued at $5.25 per trust unit in connection with the conversion of $2,288,000 principal amount in Convertible Unsecured Subordinated Debentures (plus accrued interest). As at February 29, 2012, WesternOne Equity had 19,114,089 trust units, $17,121,000 principal amount of the Convertible Unsecured Subordinated Debentures and $86,250,000 principal amount of the Extendible Convertible Series 2 Unsecured Subordinated Debentures outstanding.

Conference Call

Darren Latoski, CEO, Carlos Yam, CFO and Geoff Shorten, COO, of WesternOne Equity GP Inc. will host a conference call at 4:30pm (Eastern time) or 1:30pm (Pacific time), on Thursday, March 15, 2012, to review the financial results and corporate developments for the year ended December 31, 2011.

To participate in this conference call, please dial one of the following numbers approximately 10 minutes prior to the commencement of the call, and ask to join the WesternOne Equity conference call.

Dial in numbers:  Toll Free .......................................................... 1-888-231-8191
  International or Local Toronto ......................... 1-647-427-7450
   

Conference Call Replay

If you cannot participate on March 15, 2012, a replay of the conference call will be available by dialing one of the following replay numbers. You will be able to dial in and listen to the conference two hours after the meeting end time, and the replay will be available until March 29, 2012. Please enter the Replay ID number 56155033 followed by the # key.

Replay Dial-In:  Toll Free ...................................................... 1-855-859-2056
  International or Local Toronto....................... 1-416-849-0833
   

Forward-looking Information

Certain statements in this press release may constitute "forward-looking" information that involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, and it may cause actual results, performance or achievements or industry results, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements or industry results expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. Forward-looking information is identified by the use of terms and phrases such as "anticipate", "believe", "could", "estimate", "expect", "intend", "may", "plan", "predict", "project", "will", "would", and similar terms and phrases, including references to assumptions. Such information includes, without limitation, statements with respect to: the enhancement of WesternOne Equity's product and service offering and customer base derived from acquisitions completed by WesternOne Equity or its subsidiaries, the growth prospects in sectors where WesternOne Equity's businesses are conducted, market expansions under WesternOne Equity's current and future strategies, and the benefits that may accrue to WesternOne Equity and its unitholders as a result of such market expansions. Actual events or results may differ materially.

Forward-looking information contained in this press release is based on certain key expectations and assumptions made by WesternOne Equity, including, without limitation, expectations and assumptions respecting: the outlook of WesternOne Equity's business and the economy in Western Canada and the US, the supply and demand for WesternOne Equity's products and services, and management's assessment of future plans and operations. Although the forward-looking information contained in this press release is based upon what the WesternOne Equity's management believes to be reasonable assumptions, WesternOne Equity cannot assure investors that actual results will be consistent with such information. Forward-looking information reflects current expectations of management regarding future events and operating performance as of the date of this press release. Such information involves significant risks and uncertainties, should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results, and will not necessarily be accurate indications of whether or not such results will be achieved. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking information, and a description of these factors can be found under "Risk Factors" in WesternOne Equity's Annual Information Form dated March 31, 2011 and Management's Discussion and Analysis dated March 15, 2012, which are available on SEDAR (www.sedar.com).

The forward-looking information contained herein is expressly qualified in its entirety by this cautionary statement. Forward-looking information reflects management's current beliefs and is based on information currently available to WesternOne Equity. The forward-looking information is made as of the date of this press release and WesternOne Equity assumes no obligation to update or revise such information to reflect new events or circumstances, except as may be required by applicable law.

About WesternOne Equity

WesternOne Equity seeks to acquire and grow businesses in the sector of construction and infrastructure services in order to generate stable and growing distributions to its unitholders as well as to achieve overall capital appreciation.

Additional Information

Additional information relating to WesternOne Equity, including WesternOne Equity's Annual Information Form and other public filings, is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com or on WesternOne Equity's website at www.weq.ca.

Trading Symbols

Toronto Stock Exchange: WEQ.UN, WEQ.DB.B and WEQ.DB.C

THE TORONTO STOCK EXCHANGE HAS NOT REVIEWED AND DOES NOT ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ADEQUACY OR THE ACCURACY OF THIS RELEASE. 

 

For further information:

about this press release, please contact:

Carlos Yam, Chief Financial Officer
WesternOne Equity Income Fund
Suite 910, 925 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC  V6C 3L2
Phone:  (604) 678-4042
E-mail:  cyam@weq.ca

For investor relations information, please contact:

Andrew Greig, Manager of Investor Relations
WesternOne Equity Income Fund
Suite 910, 925 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC  V6C 3L2
Phone:  (604) 678-4042
E-mail:  agreig@weq.ca