Astral Media reports solid first quarter for fiscal 2008



    
                             20% revenue growth
                         15% increase in net earnings
                         11% increase in EPS (basic)
                          24% increase in EBITDA(1)
        31% increase in cash flow from operations(2) (13% decrease in cash
                       flow from operating activities)
        The following includes the results of operations of the Standard
              Radio assets acquired, effective October 29, 2007
    

    MONTREAL, Jan. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - Astral Media Inc. (TSX: ACM.A/ACM.B)
today reported its financial results for the first quarter ended November 30,
2007, which saw continued growth in revenues, earnings, EPS, EBITDA(1) and
cash flow from operations(2).
    Consolidated net earnings for the first three months of Fiscal 2008
increased by 15% over last year, rising to $37.5 million ($0.69 per share)
from $32.6 million ($0.62 per share) last year. Consolidated revenues totalled
$198.7 million for the first quarter, an increase of 20% over the
$165.1 million recorded last year for the same period. EBITDA(1) for the first
three months increased 24% to $65.6 million from $53.1 million for the same
quarter last year. Cash flow from operations(2) rose 31% totalling
$46.3 million for the first quarter compared to $35.5 million for the same
period last year.
    "We are very pleased with the Company's results for the first quarter of
Fiscal 2008, which are another illustration of Astral Media's ability to
sustain growth both organically and through strategic acquisitions," said Ian
Greenberg, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are delighted once again
by the fact that all our business units contributed in a significant manner to
an excellent start in Fiscal 2008. Astral Media's unique asset mix and its new
pan-Canadian footprint allows for this kind of performance."

    OPERATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

    Television

    
    - Revenue growth of 7%;
    - Advertising revenues up 12% and subscriber-related revenues increasing
      by 6%;
    - 10% EBITDA(1) growth;
    - EBITDA(1) margin rose from 35.7% to 36.6%.

    Radio

    - Revenue growth of 58%, mainly due to the one-month results of the
      Standard Radio assets acquired;
    - 63% EBITDA(1) growth;
    - EBITDA(1) margin rose from 33.9% to 35.0%;
    - Radio stations in Québec recorded a 2% organic revenue growth.

    Outdoor Advertising

    - Revenue growth of 52%, as a result of the Toronto Street Furniture
      Program effective September 1st, 2007 and a strong performance in the
      Québec market;
    - 46% EBITDA(1) growth.

    On October 1, 2007, Astral Media launched TELETOON Retro, an
English-language network which offers a nostalgic throwback to timeless
cartoons. TELETOON Retro is now offered in over four million homes across
Canada and is already Canada's largest digital specialty channel. On
November 30, 2007, Astral Media launched Playhouse Disney, a Family multiplex
channel featuring first-run programs from Disney together with celebrated
Canadian series to create an environment of fun and learning for younger
children.
    At Astral Media's Annual General Meeting of Shareholders held on
December 5, 2007, the Company announced a 25% increase of its annual dividend,
from 40 to 50 cents per share. The Company also announced a renewal of its
normal course issuer bid to repurchase up to 2.6% of its Class A and Class B
shares.
    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 unaudited interim 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 10:30 a.m. on
Monday, January 14, 2008. 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. EBITDA is defined as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and
       amortization. See Appendix 1.
    2. See Supplementary Measures in Appendix 1.


    ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
    Interim Consolidated Statements of Earnings
    for the three months ended
    (in thousands of Canadian dollars except for per-share data)
    (unaudited)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                                             November 30
                                                  ---------------------------
                                                        2007            2006
                                                  ---------------------------

    Revenues                                     $   198,747     $   165,099

    Operating expenses                               133,160         112,039
                                                  ---------------------------

    EBITDA(1)                                         65,587          53,060

      Depreciation                                     4,693           3,677
      Amortization of deferred charges                   186             118
      Interest expense (income), net                   3,479          (1,174)
                                                  ---------------------------

    Earnings before income taxes                      57,229          50,439

    Income tax provision                              19,693          17,790
                                                  ---------------------------
    Net earnings                                 $    37,536     $    32,649
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Earnings per share
      - Basic                                    $      0.69     $      0.62
                                                  ---------------------------
      - Diluted                                  $      0.68     $      0.60
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Weighted average number of shares
     outstanding - basic                              54,302          52,972
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (1) See Appendix 1



    ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
    Interim Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
    for the three months ended
    (in thousands of Canadian dollars)
    (unaudited)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                                             November 30
                                                  ---------------------------
                                                        2007            2006
                                                  ---------------------------

    Cash and cash equivalents provided
     by (used for):

    OPERATING ACTIVITIES

      Net earnings                               $    37,536     $    32,649

      Non-cash charges (credits):
        Depreciation and amortization                  4,879           3,795
        Stock-based compensation                       1,390           1,235
        Future income tax expense (recovery)           2,469          (2,193)
        Amortization of deferred financing costs          55               -
                                                  ---------------------------

      Cash flow from operations(1)                    46,329          35,486

      Net change in non-cash operating items         (27,196)        (13,552)
                                                  ---------------------------

      Cash flow from operating activities             19,133          21,934
                                                  ---------------------------

    INVESTING ACTIVITIES

      Short-term investments - cashed                 51,128          44,774
      Additions to property, plant and equipment      (5,057)         (3,050)
      Business acquisitions, net of cash acquired   (906,043)        (46,794)
                                                  ---------------------------
                                                    (859,972)         (5,070)
                                                  ---------------------------

    FINANCING ACTIVITIES

      Deferred financing costs                        (2,673)              -
      Increase in long-term debt                     825,000               -
      Shares repurchased                                (248)              -
      Stock options exercised                            718             743
                                                  ---------------------------
                                                     822,797             743
                                                  ---------------------------

    Net change in cash and cash equivalents          (18,042)         17,607
    Cash and cash equivalents - beginning
     of period                                        21,237          68,912
                                                  ---------------------------
    Cash and cash equivalents - end of period    $     3,195     $    86,519
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (1) See Appendix 1



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

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                                 November 30,      August 31,
                                                        2007            2007
                                                  ---------------------------
                                                  (unaudited)

    ASSETS

    Current
      Cash and cash equivalents                  $     3,195     $    21,237
      Short-term investments                               -          51,128
      Accounts receivable                            163,428          96,995
      Program and film rights                         77,744          72,791
      Prepaid expenses and other current assets       23,503          18,331
                                                  ---------------------------
                                                     267,870         260,482

    Program and film rights                           67,475          58,854
    Other non-current assets                          48,665          49,088
    Property, plant and equipment                    113,959          83,367
    Broadcast licences                             1,976,010         950,698
    Goodwill                                         205,381         116,016
    Future income tax assets                          11,081           8,549
                                                  ---------------------------

                                                 $ 2,690,441     $ 1,527,054
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    LIABILITIES

    Current
      Accounts payable and accrued liabilities   $   123,356     $    83,160
      Income taxes payable                            12,892          19,501
      Program and film rights payable                 73,189          70,325
      Future income tax liabilities                    2,052           3,246
                                                  ---------------------------
                                                     211,489         176,232
                                                  ---------------------------
    Long-term debt                                   821,716               -
                                                  ---------------------------
    Future income tax liabilities                    270,456         267,240
                                                  ---------------------------
    Other non-current liabilities                     86,443          26,673
                                                  ---------------------------
    Derivative financial instruments                   5,809               -
                                                  ---------------------------
    Liabilities of discontinued operations             1,950           2,183
                                                  ---------------------------

    SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY

    Capital stock                                    767,932         561,589
                                                  ---------------------------
    Contributed surplus                                9,830          11,645
                                                  ---------------------------
    Retained earnings                                518,843         481,492
    Accumulated other comprehensive income            (4,027)              -
                                                  ---------------------------
                                                     514,816         481,492
                                                  ---------------------------
                                                   1,292,578       1,054,726
                                                  ---------------------------
                                                 $ 2,690,441     $ 1,527,054
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------



    ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
    Business Segments
    for the three months ended November 30,
    (in thousands of Canadian dollars)
    (unaudited)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

    Television                                   $   129,499     $   120,841
    Radio                                             49,195          31,099
    Outdoor Advertising                               20,053          13,159
                                                  ---------------------------

    REVENUES                                     $   198,747     $   165,099
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Television                                   $    47,458     $    43,089
    Radio                                             17,194          10,539
    Outdoor Advertising                                7,331           5,007
    Corporate                                         (6,396)         (5,575)
                                                  ---------------------------

    EBITDA(1)                                    $    65,587     $    53,060
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (1) See Appendix 1



    ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
    Appendix 1
    Supplementary Measures
    for the three months ended
    (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 unaudited
interim consolidated statements of earnings for the periods ended November 30,
2007 and 2006 to EBITDA:

                                                             November 30
                                                  ---------------------------
    (in thousands of $)                                 2007            2006
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Earnings before income taxes                      57,229          50,439
    Depreciation and amortization                      4,879           3,795
    Interest expense (income), net                     3,479          (1,174)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    EBITDA                                            65,587          53,060
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Cash flow from operations is defined as cash flow from 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 unaudited
interim consolidated statements of cash flows for the periods ended
November 30, 2007 and 2006 to cash flow from operations:

                                                             November 30
                                                  ---------------------------
    (in thousands of $)                                 2007            2006
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Cash flow from operating activities               19,133          21,934
    Net change in non-cash operating items            27,196          13,552
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cash flow from operations                         46,329          35,486
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    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

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