Astral Media reports an eleventh consecutive year of growth



    
              Strong increases in EPS, Net Earnings, EBITDA(2),
         Revenues and Cash Flow for the fourth quarter and the year
    

    MONTREAL, Oct. 24 /CNW Telbec/ - Astral Media Inc. (TSX: ACM.A/ACM.B)
today reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended
August 31, 2007, which concluded another year of strong financial performance.

    
    FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

    - 13% increase in EPS (basic) from continuing operations for the year,
      before impact of future income tax rate changes(1) (16% for the
      fourth quarter)
    - 11% increase in net earnings from continuing operations for the year,
      before impact of future income tax rate changes(1) (17% for the
      fourth quarter)
    - 8% increase in EBITDA(2) for the year (10% for the fourth quarter)
    - 8% increase in revenues for the year (10% for the fourth quarter)
    - 5% increase in cash flow from continuing operations(3) (4% increase in
      cash flow from continuing operating activities), for the year (1% and
      - 15% respectively for the fourth quarter)
    - 8% increase in EPS (basic) from continuing operations and 6% increase
      in net earnings from continuing operations for the year (including the
      impact of future income tax rate changes) (-27% and -28% respectively
      for the fourth quarter)

    OPERATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

    - Acquisition of an additional 10% ownership interest in
      TELETOON Canada Inc. in the first quarter;
    - Acquisition of an additional 50% ownership interest in MusiquePlus Inc.
      in the fourth quarter;
    - Signature in the fourth quarter by Astral Media Outdoor of an agreement
      with the City of Toronto to provide a 20-year coordinated street
      furniture program beginning September 1, 2007;
    - Approval on September 28, 2007, by the Canadian Radio-television and
      Telecommunications Commission, of the acquisition of substantially all
      of the assets of Standard Radio Inc. making Astral the largest radio
      broadcaster in Canada.

    "When we will look back on Fiscal 2007, we will remember the year for two
major developments: the Standard Radio acquisition, which we are closing at
the end of this month, and the 20-year street furniture agreement with the
City of Toronto. Indeed these two developments will have a long-lasting impact
on our Company. They give us the national footprint that we sought as part of
our new business ambition, and provide us with added exposure to the fastest
growing markets in the country, namely Southern Ontario, Alberta and B.C."
said Ian Greenberg, President and Chief Executive Officer of Astral Media. He
added: "Yet beyond the benefits coming from these developments, I would rather
look back on Fiscal 2007 as an eleventh straight year of profitable growth. It
is truly the solidity of our core businesses and their contribution to our
overall performance that allowed us to successfully transform this Company
into a major player in the Canadian media industry and to position us for the
future."
    Consolidated net earnings from continuing operations for Fiscal 2007
increased by 11% in Fiscal 2007, rising to $127.1 million(1) ($2.41 per
share) (1) from $115.0 million(1) ($2.14 per share)(1) last year. Consolidated
net earnings from continuing operations for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007
increased by 17% to $34.0 million(1) ($0.64 per share)(1) from
$29.2 million (1) ($0.55 per share)(1) last year.
    Consolidated revenues totalled $646.0 million for Fiscal 2007, an increase
of 8% over the $596.2 million recorded in Fiscal 2006. Consolidated revenues
were $161.7 million for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007, up 10% from the
$147.0 million for the same quarter last year.
    EBITDA(2) for the year increased by 8% to $207.8 million from
$191.7 million for the same period last year. EBITDA(2) was up 10% to
$55.2 million in the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007 compared to $50.3 million
for the same quarter last year. Cash flow from continuing operations(3) rose
5% year-over-year totalling $152.9 million for the year compared to
$145.1 million for Fiscal 2006. Cash flow from continuing operations(3) rose
by 1% to $44.0 million in the fourth quarter, compared to $43.6 million for
the same quarter last year.
    Mr. Greenberg added: "Each one of our businesses recorded a strong
performance in Fiscal 2007. For the Television group, advertising revenues
were up 17% year-over-year and increases in the number of pay- and
specialty-television subscribers generated revenue gains of 9% for the year.
In Radio, our stations recorded a 3% revenue increase year-over-year and an
EBITDA(2) increase of 5% compared to Fiscal 2006. Finally, Outdoor delivered a
6% increase in revenues and an 8% increase in EBITDA(2)."

    Astral Media is a leading Canadian media company, active in specialty, pay
and pay-per-view television, radio, outdoor advertising and iMedia. Astral
Media's solid and dynamic presence in the country's major markets rests on its
commitment to offer a unique combination of high-quality, targeted media for
all its audiences.
    The audited consolidated financial statements with related notes and
Management's Discussion and Analysis are available on the Company's website:
www.astralmedia.com.

    There will be a conference call with analysts and media at 2:00 p.m. on
Wednesday, October 24, 2007. To access the conference call dial
1-800-732-9303. The conference call will also be broadcast live and archived
for a three-month period on the Astral Media website at www.astralmedia.com.

    This press release contains certain forward-looking statements concerning
the future performance of the Company. These forward-looking statements are
based on current expectations. We caution that all forward-looking information
is inherently uncertain and actual results may differ materially from the
assumptions, estimates or expectations reflected or contained in the
forward-looking information, and that actual future performance will be
affected by a number of factors, including technological change, economic
conditions, regulatory change, competitive factors and changes in accounting
rules or standards, many of which are beyond the Company's control. We
disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking
statements.

    -------------------------------
    1. Excluding the impact of the future income tax recovery resulting from
       future income tax rate changes in Fiscal 2007 and 2006.
       See Appendix 1.
    2. EBITDA is defined as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and
       amortization. See Appendix 1.
    3. See Appendix 1.


    ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
    Consolidated Statements of Earnings and Retained Earnings
    for the periods ended August 31
    (in thousands of Canadian dollars except for per-share data)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                        3 months                12 months
                               ----------------------  ----------------------
                                    2007        2006        2007        2006
                               ----------------------  ----------------------
                                       (unaudited)

    Revenues                   $ 161,665   $ 146,991   $ 646,006   $ 596,151

    Operating expenses           106,505      96,649     438,157     404,406
                               ----------------------------------------------
    EBITDA(1)                     55,160      50,342     207,849     191,745

      Depreciation                 4,372       4,996      15,889      16,362
      Amortization of deferred
       charges                       162       3,040         481       3,267
      Interest income, net        (1,132)     (1,236)     (4,170)     (3,385)
                               ----------------------------------------------

    Earnings from continuing
     operations before income
     taxes                        51,758      43,542     195,649     175,501
                               ----------------------------------------------

    Income tax provision before
     undernoted                   17,777      14,377      68,524      60,533
    Future income tax recovery
     resulting from income tax
     rate changes, net            (4,069)    (23,606)     (4,069)     (8,791)
                               ----------------------------------------------
                                  13,708      (9,229)     64,455      51,742
                               ----------------------------------------------

    Net earnings from continuing
     operations                   38,050      52,771     131,194     123,759

    Net loss from discontinued
     operations                        -        (252)          -        (252)
                               ----------------------------------------------

    Net earnings               $  38,050   $  52,519   $ 131,194   $ 123,507
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Earnings per share from
     continuing operations
      - Basic                  $    0.72   $    0.99   $    2.49   $    2.30
                               ----------------------------------------------
      - Diluted                $    0.71   $    0.97   $    2.43   $    2.26

    Earnings per share
      - Basic                  $    0.72   $    0.98   $    2.49   $    2.30
                               ----------------------------------------------
      - Diluted                $    0.71   $    0.97   $    2.43   $    2.26
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Weighted average number
     of shares outstanding
      - basic                     52,713      53,357      52,763      53,800
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Retained earnings -
     beginning of period       $ 459,451   $ 360,976   $ 388,691   $ 342,550
    Net earnings                  38,050      52,519     131,194     123,507
    Dividends                    (10,553)     (8,021)    (21,098)    (16,117)
    Shares repurchased -
     excess of purchase price
     over carrying value          (5,456)    (16,783)    (17,295)    (61,249)
                               ----------------------------------------------
    Retained earnings -
     end of period             $ 481,492   $ 388,691   $ 481,492   $ 388,691
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (1) See Appendix 1


    ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
    Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
    for the periods ended August 31
    (in thousands of Canadian dollars)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                        3 months                12 months
                               ----------------------  ----------------------
                                    2007        2006        2007        2006
                               ----------------------  ----------------------
                                       (unaudited)

    Cash and cash equivalents
     provided by (used for):

    OPERATING ACTIVITIES
      Net earnings from
       continuing operations   $  38,050   $  52,771   $ 131,194   $ 123,759

      Non-cash charges
       (credits):
        Depreciation and
         amortization              4,534       8,036      16,370      19,629
        Stock-based
         compensation              1,571       1,541       6,063       5,330
        Future income tax
         expense before
         undernoted                3,884       4,890       3,360       5,216
        Future income tax
         recovery resulting
         from income tax rate
         changes, net             (4,069)    (23,606)     (4,069)     (8,791)
                               ----------------------------------------------
      Cash flow from
       continuing operations(1)   43,970      43,632     152,918     145,143

      Net change in non-cash
       operating items            (7,297)       (372)    (21,596)    (18,938)
                               ----------------------------------------------

    Cash flow from continuing
       operating activities       36,673      43,260     131,322     126,205
                               ----------------------------------------------

    DISCONTINUED OPERATIONS         (317)       (529)     (1,294)     (1,347)
                               ----------------------------------------------
    INVESTING ACTIVITIES
      Short-term investments
       - purchased                     -     (29,834)    (51,128)    (66,883)
      Short-term investments
       - cashed                   19,913      21,804      44,774     104,876
      Additions to property,
       plant and equipment        (7,543)     (5,967)    (17,542)    (20,349)
      Business acquisition,
       net of cash acquired      (32,992)          -     (79,786)          -
      Outdoor advertising
       license fees              (28,898)          -     (28,898)          -
      Deferred business
       acquisition and
       financing costs            (3,059)          -      (3,059)          -
                               ----------------------------------------------
                                 (52,579)    (13,997)   (135,639)     17,644
                               ----------------------------------------------
    FINANCING ACTIVITIES
      Shares repurchased          (7,499)    (24,239)    (24,054)    (92,432)
      Stock options exercised        797       3,045       3,088      16,856
      Dividends                  (10,553)     (8,021)    (21,098)    (16,117)
                               ----------------------------------------------
                                 (17,255)    (29,215)    (42,064)    (91,693)
                               ----------------------------------------------
    Net change in cash and
     cash equivalents            (33,478)       (481)    (47,675)     50,809
    Cash and cash equivalents
     - beginning of period        54,715      69,393      68,912      18,103
                               ----------------------------------------------
    Cash and cash equivalents
     - end of period           $  21,237   $  68,912   $  21,237   $  68,912
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (1) See Appendix 1


    ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
    Consolidated Balance Sheets as at August 31
    (in thousands of Canadian dollars)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                                          2007          2006
                                                    -------------------------

    ASSETS

    Current
      Cash and cash equivalents                    $    21,237   $    68,912
      Short-term investments                            51,128        44,774
      Accounts receivable                               96,995        90,766
      Program and film rights                           72,791        66,723
      Prepaid expenses and other current assets         18,331        16,804
                                                -----------------------------
                                                       260,482       287,979

    Program and film rights                             58,854        44,520
    Other non-current assets                            49,088        11,188
    Property, plant and equipment                       83,367        77,960
    Broadcast licences                                 950,698       883,304
    Goodwill                                           116,016        86,240
    Future income tax assets                             8,549         9,169
                                                -----------------------------
                                                   $ 1,527,054   $ 1,400,360
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    LIABILITIES

    Current
      Accounts payable and accrued liabilities     $    83,160   $    79,067
      Income taxes payable                              19,501        19,465
      Program and film rights payable                   70,325        59,278
      Future income tax liabilities                      3,246         2,949
                                                -----------------------------
                                                       176,232       160,759
                                                -----------------------------

    Future income tax liabilities                      267,240       248,325
                                                -----------------------------
    Other non-current liabilities                       26,673        28,266
                                                -----------------------------
    Liabilities of discontinued operations               2,183         3,477
                                                -----------------------------

    SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY

    Capital stock                                      561,589       562,092
    Contributed surplus                                 11,645         8,750
    Retained earnings                                  481,492       388,691
                                                -----------------------------
                                                     1,054,726       959,533
                                                -----------------------------

                                                   $ 1,527,054   $ 1,400,360
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
    Business Segments
    for the periods ended August 31
    (in thousands of Canadian dollars)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                        3 months                12 months
                               ----------------------  ----------------------
                                    2007        2006        2007        2006
                               ----------------------  ----------------------
                                       (unaudited)
    REVENUES

    Television                 $ 116,860   $ 105,260   $ 475,042   $ 430,723
    Radio                         29,956      29,430     121,189     118,465
    Outdoor Advertising           14,849      12,301      49,775      46,963
                               ----------------------------------------------

                               $ 161,665   $ 146,991   $ 646,006   $ 596,151
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Television                 $  42,900   $  38,731   $ 170,903   $ 155,529
    Radio                         11,494      11,581      42,172      41,123
    Outdoor Advertising            6,472       5,688      16,703      15,456
    Corporate Costs               (5,706)     (5,658)    (21,929)    (20,363)
                               ----------------------------------------------

    EBITDA(1)                  $  55,160   $  50,342   $ 207,849   $ 191,745
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (1) See Appendix 1


    ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
    Appendix 1
    Supplementary Measures
    for the periods ended August 31
    (unaudited)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition to discussing earnings measures in accordance with Canadian
generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"), this press release provides
the following supplementary measures which are also factors used by management
in monitoring and evaluating the performance of the Company and its business
segments:
    EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) is
provided to assist investors in determining the ability of the Company to
generate cash from operating activities and to cover financial charges. It is
also an indicator widely used for business valuation purposes. EBITDA margin
is defined as the ratio obtained by dividing EBITDA by revenues.
    The following table reconciles GAAP measures disclosed in the consolidated
statements of earnings and retained earnings for the periods ended August 31,
2007 and 2006 to EBITDA:

                                        3 months                12 months
                               ----------------------  ----------------------
    (in thousands of $)             2007        2006        2007        2006
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Earnings from continuing
     operations before
     income taxes                 51,758      43,542     195,649     175,501
    Depreciation and
     amortization                  4,534       8,036      16,370      19,629
    Interest income, net          (1,132)     (1,236)     (4,170)     (3,385)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    EBITDA                        55,160      50,342     207,849     191,745
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Net earnings and earnings per share from continuing operations before the
impact of future income tax rate changes. These measures provide an indication
of the Company's ability to generate earnings and cash flows from its ongoing
operations, by excluding the impact of the non-cash future income tax
recoveries or expenses resulting from income tax rate changes over which the
Company has no control.
    On June 22, 2007, the Federal government enacted a decrease in the general
corporate income tax rate from 19.0% to 18.5%, effective on January 1, 2011.
On June 22, 2006, the Federal government had also enacted a decrease in the
general corporate income tax rate from 22.12% to 19.00% to be phased in
between January 1, 2008 and January 1, 2010. On December 13, 2005, the Québec
government enacted an increase in the general corporate income tax rate from
8.9% to 11.9% which is being phased in between January 1, 2006 and January 1,
2009. Upon each rate change enactment, over which the Company has no control,
the Company was required to re-measure its future income tax assets and
liabilities using the newly enacted corporate income tax rates, taking into
account the rates anticipated to be in effect when the respective future
income tax assets are realized or liabilities are settled. The change enacted
in Fiscal 2007 resulted in a non-cash future income tax recovery of
$4.1 million ($0.08 per share) recorded in the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007
in the consolidated statement of earnings and retained earnings. Changes
enacted in Fiscal 2006 resulted in a net non-cash future income tax recovery
of $8.8 million ($0.16 per share) for the year ended August 31, 2006.
    The following tables reconcile GAAP measures disclosed in the consolidated
statements of earnings and retained earnings for the periods ended August 31,
2007 and 2006 to net earnings and earnings per share, before the impact of
future income tax rate changes.

                                        3 months                12 months
                               ----------------------  ----------------------
    (in thousands of $)             2007        2006        2007        2006
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Net earnings from
     continuing operations        38,050      52,771     131,194     123,759
    Impact of future income
     tax rate changes             (4,069)    (23,606)     (4,069)     (8,791)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Net earnings from
     continuing operations
     before the impact of
     future income tax rate
     changes                      33,981      29,165     127,125     114,968
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                        3 months                12 months
                               ----------------------  ----------------------
    (in thousands of $)             2007        2006        2007        2006
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Earnings per share from
     continuing operations -
     basic                          0.72        0.99        2.49        2.30
    Impact of future income
     tax rate changes              (0.08)      (0.44)      (0.08)      (0.16)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Earnings per share from
     continuing operations before
     the impact of future income
     tax rate changes - basic       0.64        0.55        2.41        2.14
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Cash flow from continuing operations is defined as cash flow from
continuing operating activities before the net change in non-cash operating
items. This measure provides an indication of the Company's ability to
generate cash flows without considering certain timing and other factors
causing variations in non-cash items.
    The following table reconciles GAAP measures disclosed in the consolidated
statements of cash flows for the periods ended August 31, 2007 and 2006 to
cash flow from continuing operations:

                                        3 months                12 months
                               ----------------------  ----------------------
    (in thousands of $)             2007        2006        2007        2006
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Cash flow from continuing
     operating activities         36,673      43,260     131,322     126,205
    Net change in non-cash
     operating items               7,297         372      21,596      18,938
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cash flow from continuing
     operations                   43,970      43,632     152,918     145,143
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The above supplementary measures do not have a standardized meaning
prescribed by GAAP and may not be comparable to similar measures presented by
other companies.
    




For further information:

For further information: Alain Bergeron, Vice-President, Brand
Management and Corporate Communications, Astral Media Inc., (514) 939-5000;
Claude Gagnon, Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer, Astral Media
Inc., (514) 939-5000

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