Aimia holds fourth annual investor day

Announced Several Growth Initiatives as well as New Commercial Partnerships in UK and Canada

MONTREAL, Sept. 20, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - (TSX: AIM) Aimia held its fourth annual investor day at Corus Quay in Toronto today to showcase its global operations.

"In the 10 short years since we became a separate entity, Aimia has turned into a significantly cash generative, multi-national company with a robust growth platform," stated Rupert Duchesne, Group Chief Executive.  "We have grown from a single Canadian entity into an investment grade global enterprise with operations in more than 20 countries.  With our full suite of services we are leaders in the global loyalty industry.  We are following the roadmap that we set out in the early years and are making investments that we expect will generate high returns for our shareholders for years to come."

During the event, which was attended by more than 100 people, Aimia confirmed its consolidated guidance for 2012 and disclosed the following:

  • A new major partner for Nectar UK - eBay
  • The creation of a new joint venture between Aimia's Intelligent Shopper Solutions business and Sainsbury's
  • Several partner renewals and a new partner signing in Canada
  • The step-up of an investment in an Indonesian loyalty company

Nectar UK and eBay Announce Major New Partnership

Nectar, the UK's most popular loyalty program, and eBay, the UK's largest online marketplace, have today announced a major new strategic partnership which will enable Nectar card holders to collect points automatically when they shop on eBay. The announcement coincides with the celebration of the Nectar program's tenth birthday.

The move will benefit millions of consumers by combining the spending power of Nectar's 18.5 million members and eBay UK's 17 million unique monthly visitors. It is a significant extension of the affiliate relationship that eBay previously had in place with Nectar eShops where shoppers earned points if they clicked through nectar.com. Now, eBay shoppers will be able to collect points on successful bids and 'buy it now' transactions once they have undertaken one simple step to link their eBay account and their Nectar card. eBay's largest categories for UK shoppers are fashion, home and garden, electronics and motor parts and accessories, with 65% of goods traded on the marketplace globally now bought new or at a fixed price.

The partnership marks a significant step in extending the proportion of household items on which Nectar points can be earned. Currently points can be earned on 50 per cent of household spend - including groceries, DIY, holiday bookings, household bills and petrol. The addition of eBay as Nectar's strategic online retail partner is a significant step towards increasing the level of household spending that is eligible to earn Nectar points.

Jan-Pieter Lips, Managing Director of Nectar, said:  "This partnership will have similar reach to those we have in place with other household names such as British Gas, BP and Homebase which have enabled millions of people to collect Nectar points and get 'something for nothing' on their daily household spend.  eBay is one of the most popular online shopping sites in the UK and Nectar has a fantastically engaged, savvy community of collectors so the two brands are a natural fit. It's testament to the strength of our proposition that eBay has chosen to partner with us and it marks a clear strategic development and a commitment to digital for Nectar as a business, as well as an appropriate way of celebrating our tenth birthday."

Consumers will be able to collect Nectar points directly from eBay.co.uk site from mid October. To celebrate the launch, eBay will be running a number of promotions in key categories over the Christmas shopping period.

Aimia and Sainsbury's Form Joint Venture to Provide Comprehensive B2B Marketing Solutions

Aimia and Sainsbury's today announced they have formed Insight 2 Communication (I2C), a joint venture company, which will offer suppliers more comprehensive multi-channel marketing solutions in and around Sainsbury's stores and online.

I2C will provide Sainsbury's suppliers with a 'one-stop shop' solution by rolling out both targeted and non-targeted advertising campaigns across all of Sainsbury's communication channels. Through a series of licensing and supply agreements with Aimia and Sainsbury, the joint venture will combine people, intellectual property and tools, including Self Serve and Sainsbury's fast-growing in-house non-targeted communications business. The licensing and supply agreements will be for an initial term of 6 years.

Aimia retains sole ownership of its proprietary data analytical tools, including Self Serve. The international operations of Aimia's Intelligent Shopper Solutions (ISS) will not be affected by the creation of the joint venture.

The joint venture board will have equal representation from Sainsbury's and Aimia, whilst the day to day senior management team has been created by bringing together the best talent from both Aimia and Sainsbury's.

Aside from a small initial working capital requirement, the joint venture will be self sufficient from a cash perspective and is expected to fully distribute its retained earnings to its shareholders on a regular basis.

The joint venture will give Aimia access to additional revenues, however, due to the timing of the transaction and the terms of the arrangement, there will be no material impact to Aimia's consolidated financial statements in 2012.   For 2013 reporting, Aimia will evaluate the accounting of this arrangement in compliance with the new standard, IFRS 11, Joint Arrangements.  Aimia will account for this entity either as a joint operation which would mean accounting for its proportionate share of the revenues, expenses, assets and obligations of the entity or it will account for the entity as a joint venture under the equity accounting method.

Multiple Partner Renewals and a New Partner Signing in Canada

Aeroplan announced expanded, multi-year relationships with Imperial Oil (Esso) and Direct Energy. Aeroplan has renewed contracts with Home Hardware Primus and Rexall.

As previously announced, Aeroplan expanded its coalition through a multi-year partnership with Bentley, Canada's largest specialty retailer of luggage, handbags and backpacks with more than 300 stores across Canada.

In addition, Aeroplan is building out its promotional business.  Until October 31, 2012, Aeroplan Members are able to earn 60,000 Aeroplan Miles when they purchase or lease a new Infiniti FX, QX or M® qualifying vehicle through a Canadian Infiniti dealer. Also, Aeroplan is partnering with premium appliance company, Miele, on a range of new products coming to market in the coming months.

Aimia's proprietary business in Canada announced the name of its newest client, Husky Energy, one of Canada's largest integrated energy companies.

Aimia Makes Small Strategic Investment to Take Full Ownership Stake in Loyalty Company in Indonesia, a Key Asian Market

Aimia also announced that it has completed a $2 million investment in Indonesia to increase its ownership in a company called Interact from 40 per cent up to 100 per cent.  Interact is the leader in Indonesia's rapidly emerging loyalty sector with a solid portfolio of blue chip clients, including Nestle and Mazda.  Indonesia is one of Asia's fastest growing economies and is the world's fourth most populated country with a population of close to 240 million people.

2012 Outlook - Consolidated Guidance Confirmed

While it is likely that the higher than forecasted Gross Billings growth rate experienced in the first half of the year in the EMEA region will slow in the second half, EMEA is on track for a strong year and is compensating for some top line softness in the Canada and US & APAC business segments. As a result, we are reiterating our 2012 annual consolidated guidance provided in the February 22, 2012 earnings press release, although we are modifying our targets for each of our three business segments.

For the year ending December 31, 2012, Aimia expects to report the following:

Key Financial Metric

Target Range (as provided on
February 22, 2012)

Target Range (updated on
September 20, 2012)

Consolidated Outlook

Gross Billings Growth 1

Between 3% and 5% Lower end of range
Adjusted EBITDA2 Between $370 and $380 million Upper end of range

Free Cash Flow 2,3 

Between $220 million and $240 million

No change

Capital Expenditures

To approximate $55 million

No change

Income Taxes

Current income tax rate is
anticipated to approximate 27%
in Canada and 17% in Italy. The
Corporation expects no
significant cash income taxes
will be incurred in the rest of its
foreign operations.


No change

Business Segment Gross Billings Growth Outlook

Canada

Between 2% and 4%

Between 1.0% and 2.0%

EMEA

Between 8% and 11%

Between 11% and 13%

US & APAC1

Between -2% and 2%

Between -9% and -7%

Other

Nectar Italia

Greater than €60 million in
Gross Billings

No change

Notes:

  1. The Gross Billings growth guidance excludes the effect of a client loss (Qantas) in APAC at the end of the first quarter of 2012. The target growth ranges are based on 2011 reported Gross Billings, excluding $40 million related to Qantas. The client loss will have a negligible impact on Adjusted EBITDA.
  2. The Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow outlook range includes an assumption of planned incremental operating expenses in business development activities, principally in the U.S., India and Brazil, technology platform related expenditures that are operating in nature and additional brand related expenses associated with our new branding, which in total will approximate $20 million in 2012.
  3. Free Cash Flow before dividends.

The above guidance excludes the effects of fluctuations in currency exchange rates. In addition, Aimia made a number of economic and market assumptions in preparing its 2012 forecasts, including assumptions regarding the performance of the economies in which the Corporation operates and market competition and tax laws applicable to the Corporation's operations. The Corporation cautions that the assumptions used to prepare the above forecasts for 2012, although reasonable at the time they were made, may prove to be incorrect or inaccurate. Accordingly, our actual results could differ materially from our expectations as set forth in this news release. The outlook provided constitutes forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws and should be read in conjunction with the "Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements" section.

Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are 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 statements may involve but are not limited to comments with respect to strategies, expectations, planned operations, future actions, anticipated financial performance and business prospects. Forward-looking statements, by their nature, are based on assumptions and are subject to important risks and uncertainties. Any forecasts or forward-looking predictions or statements cannot be relied upon due to, amongst other things, changing external events and general uncertainties of the business and its corporate structure. Results indicated in forward-looking statements may differ materially from actual results for a number of reasons, including without limitation, dependency on top accumulation partners and clients, conflicts of interest, greater than expected redemptions for rewards, regulatory matters, retail market/economic conditions, industry competition, Air Canada liquidity issues, Air Canada or travel industry disruptions, airline industry changes and increased airline costs, supply and capacity costs, unfunded future redemption costs, failure to safeguard databases and consumer privacy, changes to coalition loyalty programs, seasonal nature of the business, other factors and prior performance, foreign operations, legal proceedings, reliance on key personnel, labour relations, pension liability, technological disruptions and inability to use third party software, failure to protect intellectual property rights, interest rate and currency fluctuations, leverage and restrictive covenants in current and future indebtedness, uncertainty of dividend payments, managing growth, credit ratings, as well as the other factors identified in this news release and throughout Aimia's public disclosure record on file with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities.. Material factors and assumptions that were applied in drawing a conclusion or making a projection or forecast are also set out throughout this document. We believe that the expectations represented by our forward-looking statements are reasonable, yet there can be no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. The purpose of the forward-looking statements is to provide the reader with a description of management's expectations regarding the matters described in this news release and may not be appropriate for other purposes. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent Aimia's expectations as of September 20, 2012, and are subject to change after such date. However, Aimia disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required under applicable securities regulations.

About Aimia

Aimia Inc. ("Aimia") is a global leader in loyalty management. Aimia's unique capabilities include proven expertise in delivering proprietary loyalty services, launching and managing coalition loyalty programs, creating value through loyalty analytics and driving innovation in the emerging digital and mobile spaces. Aimia owns and operates Aeroplan, Canada's premier coalition loyalty program and Nectar, the United Kingdom's largest coalition loyalty program. In addition, Aimia has majority equity positions in Air Miles Middle East and Nectar Italia as well as a minority position in Club Premier, Mexico's leading coalition loyalty program and Cardlytics, a US-based private company operating in merchant-funded transaction-driven marketing for electronic banking.

Aimia is a Canadian public company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: AIM) and has over 3,400 employees in more than 20 countries around the world. For more information about Aimia, please visit www.aimia.com.

Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/aimiainc.

 

 

SOURCE: AIMIA

For further information:

Media
JoAnne Hayes
416-352-3706
joanne.hayes@aimia.com

Analysts & Investors
Trish Moran
416-352-3728
trish.moran@aimia.com


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