Arbor announces fourth quarter and year-end results

TSX ABO.A and ABO.B

TORONTO, Dec. 17 /CNW/ - Arbor Memorial Services Inc. announced today its results for the 13 and 52 weeks ended October 25, 2009 and October 26, 2008.

    
                                            13 weeks ended   52 weeks ended
    (In $Millions)                           2009  2008(1)    2009  2008(1)
                                             ----  ------     ----  ------
    Revenue                                  64.5    59.0    244.1   234.9
    Earnings before interest expense and
     income taxes                             6.9     6.6     30.5    31.7
    Net earnings from continuing operations   4.6     5.7     20.0    19.4
    Net earnings                              4.5     5.8     19.9    19.7
    Basic and diluted earnings per share
     from continuing operations ($)          0.43    0.53     1.87    1.81
    Basic and diluted earnings per share ($) 0.42    0.54     1.86    1.84

    (1) Restated to conform with the current period's presentation for
        discontinued operations.
    

Revenue for the fourth quarter of 2009 increased by $5.5 million or 9.4% over 2008. Sales in the cemetery division increased by $3.2 million or 11.9% and sales in the funeral division increased by $1.9 million or 6.8%. The $3.2 million increase in sales in the cemetery division was primarily the result of a $1.7 million increase in deliveries of pre-need markers and a $1.4 million increase in pre-need burial spaces. The $1.9 million increase in sales in the funeral division was due to a higher average sale per service of 5.1% and a higher number of services of 1.6%. The number of services delivered by existing funeral homes in the fourth quarter increased by 0.6%. Investment and other income increased by $0.5 million or 10.2%, due to a $0.3 million increase in care fund income and a $0.2 million increase in annuity fees.

Earnings before interest expense and income taxes ("EBIT") for the fourth quarter of 2009 increased by $0.3 million or 4.6%, which was primarily due to an improvement in the funeral division that was driven by a 6.8% increase in sales.

Net earnings from continuing operations for the fourth quarter of 2009 decreased by $1.1 million or 20.0% due to an increase in income taxes of $1.6 million, which was the result of an adjustment to taxes in the fourth quarter of 2008 of $1.3 million related to the refundable dividend tax on hand balance and an increase in earnings before taxes.

Net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2009 decreased by $1.3 million or 22.5%, which was attributable to a reduction in net earnings from continuing operations of $1.1 million and a decrease in net earnings from discontinued operations of $0.2 million.

Revenue for fiscal 2009 increased by $9.2 million or 3.9%. Sales in the cemetery division increased by $3.9 million or 3.8% and sales in the funeral division increased by $4.7 million or 4.1%. The $3.9 million increase in sales in the cemetery division was primarily due to higher deliveries of pre-need markers of $1.7 million, higher sales of at-need and pre-need burial spaces of $1.0 million and $0.5 million, respectively, and higher deliveries of other pre-need merchandise of $0.8 million. The $4.7 million increase in sales in the funeral division was due to a higher average sale per service of 3.6% and a higher number of services of 0.5%. The number of services delivered by existing funeral homes was consistent with 2008. Investment and other income increased by $0.6 million or 3.4%, due primarily to a $0.5 million increase in care fund income and a $0.4 million increase in annuity fees, which were partially offset by a decrease in interest income in the corporate division.

EBIT for fiscal 2009 decreased by $1.2 million or 3.8% from 2008. The decrease was the result of a reduction in the earnings of the cemetery division of $1.8 million or 14.9% and a $1.1 million increase in the loss of the corporate division. Earnings in the cemetery division decreased primarily as a result of an increase in expenses that exceeded the increase in revenue. The increase in expenses was driven by higher employee compensation and cost of sales while the growth in revenue was lower than historically experienced. The corporate division loss increased by $1.1 million or 7.7% from 2008 mainly due to a reduction in interest income on the Company's bank accounts as well as a 2.8% increase in expenses. Partially offsetting the decreases in the cemetery and corporate divisions was an increase in the earnings of the funeral division of $1.7 million or 5.1%.

Net earnings from continuing operations for fiscal 2009 increased by $0.5 million or 2.8% to $20.0 million. The increase was the result of lower interest expense of $1.1 million and lower income taxes of $0.6 million, which were offset by a reduction in EBIT of $1.2 million or 3.8%. The reduction in EBIT occurred despite a decrease in termination costs of $1.0 million before income taxes and was due to an increase in expenses that exceeded an improvement in revenues in the cemetery division, a reduction in corporate interest and other income, and an increase in expenses in the corporate division.

Net earnings for fiscal 2009 increased by $0.2 million or 1.0% to $19.9 million, which was attributable to higher net earnings from continuing operations of $0.5 million, which were partially offset by a decrease in net earnings from discontinued operations. The decrease in net earnings from discontinued operations was primarily due to an after-tax impairment charge and a loss on disposal of $0.4 million and $0.1 million, respectively, which were recognized on a parcel of undeveloped land in 2009.

Arbor Memorial Services Inc. owns 41 cemeteries, 26 crematoria, 5 reception centres located on cemetery premises and 82 funeral homes in eight provinces of Canada.

%SEDAR: 00007478E

SOURCE Arbor Memorial Services Inc.

For further information: For further information: Brian D. Snowdon, President and Chief Executive Officer; Laurel L. Ancheta, Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer, Phone: (416) 763-4531

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