Astral Media reports solid second quarter results for fiscal 2007



    
    Will also acquire Standard Radio and become sole owner of MusiquePlus
    

    MONTREAL, April 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Astral Media Inc. (TSX: ACM.A/ACM.B)
today reported its financial results for the second quarter ended February 28,
2007, which saw continued growth in revenues, earnings, EBITDA (see definition
below) and cash flow from operations.

    
    FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

    Second Quarter:                      YEAR-TO-DATE:

    - Earnings per share                 - Earnings per share
       (basic)                 up 12%       (basic)                 up 11%(1)
    - Net earnings             up  9%    - Net earnings             up  9%(1)
    - EBITDA                   up  8%    - EBITDA                   up  8%
    - Revenues                 up  8%    - Revenues                 up  7%
    - Cash flow from                     - Cash flow from
       operations              up  9%       operations              up  6%


    Consolidated net earnings for the first six months of Fiscal 2007
increased by 9%(1) over last year, rising to $57.3 million ($1.08 per share)
from $52.6 million(1) ($0.97 per share)(1) last year. Consolidated net
earnings for the second quarter increased by 9% over the same quarter last
year, rising to $24.6 million ($0.47 per share) from $22.5 million
($0.42 per share). Consolidated revenues totalled $315.0 million for the first
half of the year, an increase of 7% over the $293.0 million recorded last year
for the same period. Consolidated revenues for the second quarter totalled
$149.9 million, an 8% increase over the $138.5 million reported last year for
the same period.
    EBITDA for the first six months increased by 8% to $94.4 million from
$87.2 million for the same period last year. For the second quarter, EBITDA
increased to $41.4 million from $38.4 million for the same period last year or
8%. Cash flow from operations rose 6% totalling $66.3 million for the first
half of the year compared to $62.7 million for the same period last year. Cash
flow from operations for the second quarter increased 9% to $30.8 million from
$28.2 million for the same period last year.
    "We are delighted with the Company's results for the second quarter of
Fiscal 2007, and with the two acquisitions in our Radio and Television
divisions that we are announcing this morning," said Ian Greenberg, President
and Chief Executive Officer. "First of all, we are extremely pleased to be
announcing the signing of a formal agreement to acquire Standard Radio. We are
also pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached to acquire an
additional 50% holding in MusiquePlus and MusiMax, thus making Astral the sole
owner of these popular networks."
    "This was a solid quarter for Astral Media," continued Mr. Greenberg. "Our
Television group recorded very strong growth for the quarter with
subscriber-related revenues up 10% and advertising revenues increasing by 16%.
In both our Radio and Outdoor Advertising groups, revenues were basically flat
reflecting softer advertising sales for the quarter, in these sectors of the
Québec market. Once again however, Astral's complementary mix of subscriber
and advertising revenues has lead to the overall growth of the Company."

    Post-Quarter Highlights

    On April 11, 2007, Astral Media signed a definitive agreement with
Standard Radio regarding the acquisition of substantially all of Standard
Radio's assets, which is subject to the approval of the Canadian
Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Please see the
press release issued at 7:00 a.m. this morning, entitled, "Astral Media to
Acquire Standard Radio" for more details.
    Astral Media today announced the signing of an agreement with
CTVglobemedia Inc. ("CTVgm"), CHUM Limited and Mr. John D. McKellar, C.M.,
Q.C., Trustee under a Voting Trust Agreement in respect of CHUM Limited, to
acquire an additional 50%-interest in MusiquePlus Inc. ("MusiquePlus"). The
transaction, which is subject to the approval of the CRTC, will increase
Astral Media's interest in MusiquePlus to 100%. The purchase price for the
acquisition is $34.0 million, subject to customary closing adjustments.
    Astral Media is a leading Canadian media company, active in specialty, pay
and pay-per-view television, radio, outdoor advertising and the Internet.
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.

    Analyst conference call and Press conference invitations:
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    For Analysts: Astral Media will host a conference call, for analysts only,
at 9:30 a.m. today, Thursday, April 12, 2007 to discuss the acquisitions as
well as to answer any questions on its financial results, which were issued
today. To access the conference call dial 1-800-732-9303. A presentation with
supporting slides and charts will be simultaneously available for analysts at
www.astralmedia.com. The conference call will also be webcast live on
www.astralmedia.com.

    For Media in Toronto: A press conference is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. today
at The Richmond, 477 Richmond St. W. corner of Spadina, Suite 104. To schedule
an interview of to confirm your presence please contact Deborah Wilson at
Astral Media at (416) 272-9237. If you require further information, please
contact Rachel Yates at Astral Media at (514) 939-5000 x3077.

    For Media outside of Toronto: There will be an audio link established for
journalists wanting to access the press conference from outside of Toronto.
Journalists who are not on-site for the 11:30 a.m. press conference and would
like to ask questions can dial in at 1-800-731-5319. Questions will be fielded
from the press conference locale followed by journalists on the audio link.
Please note that an audiocast of the proceedings will be available at
www.astralmedia.com; there will also be a presentation with supporting slides
and charts that will be simultaneously available at www.astralmedia.com.

    EBITDA is defined as earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation
and amortization. EBITDA is provided as a supplementary earnings measure to
assist readers in determining the ability of the Company to generate cash from
operations and to cover financial charges. It is also widely used for business
valuation purposes. This measure does not have a standardized meaning
prescribed by Canadian generally accepted accounting principles and may not be
comparable to similar measures presented by other companies.

    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, in the first quarter of Fiscal 2006, of the
        future income tax expense resulting from income tax rate changes
        enacted in December 2005 (see Appendix 1).


    ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
    Interim Consolidated Statements of Earnings and Retained Earnings
    for the periods ended February 28
    (in thousands of Canadian dollars except for per-share data)
    (unaudited)

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

                                          3 months                  6 months
                          ------------------------- -------------------------
                                 2007         2006         2007         2006
                          ---------------------------------------------------

    Revenues              $   149,863  $   138,514  $   314,962  $   292,991

    Operating expenses        108,511      100,077      220,550      205,824
                          ---------------------------------------------------

    EBITDA                     41,352       38,437       94,412       87,167

      Depreciation              3,924        3,777        7,601        7,412
      Amortization of
       deferred charges            86           52          204          105
      Interest income, net       (785)        (577)      (1,959)      (1,324)
                          ---------------------------------------------------

    Earnings before income
     taxes                     38,127       35,185       88,566       80,974
                          ---------------------------------------------------

    Income tax provision
     before undernoted         13,499       12,644       31,289       28,394
    Future income tax
     expense resulting
     from income tax rate
     changes                        -            -            -       14,815
                          ---------------------------------------------------
                               13,499       12,644       31,289       43,209
                          ---------------------------------------------------

    Net earnings          $    24,628  $    22,541  $    57,277  $    37,765
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Earnings per share
      - Basic             $      0.47  $      0.42  $      1.08  $      0.70
                          ---------------------------------------------------
      - Diluted           $      0.46  $      0.41  $      1.06  $      0.68
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Weighted average
     number of shares
     outstanding - basic       52,671       53,728       52,823       54,311
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Retained earnings -
     beginning of period  $   414,154  $   344,110  $   388,691  $   342,550
    Net earnings               24,628       22,541       57,277       37,765
    Dividends                 (10,537)      (8,088)     (10,541)      (8,092)
    Shares repurchased -
     excess of purchase
     price over carrying
     value                     (4,657)     (28,741)     (11,839)     (42,401)
                          ---------------------------------------------------

    Retained earnings -
     end of period        $   423,588  $   329,822  $   423,588  $   329,822
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
    Interim Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
    for the periods ended February 28
    (in thousands of Canadian dollars)
    (unaudited)

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

                                          3 months                  6 months
                          ------------------------- -------------------------
                                 2007         2006         2007         2006
                          ---------------------------------------------------

    Cash and cash
     equivalents provided
     by (used for):

    OPERATIONS ACTIVITIES
      Net earnings        $    24,628  $    22,541  $    57,277  $    37,765

      Non-cash charges
       (credits):
        Depreciation and
         amortization           4,010        3,829        7,805        7,517
        Stock-based
         compensation           1,685        1,482        2,920        2,248
        Future income
         tax expense
         (recovery)               490          387       (1,703)         350
        Future income
         tax expense
         resulting from
         income tax rate
         changes                    -            -            -       14,815
                          ---------------------------------------------------

      Cash flow from
       operations              30,813       28,239       66,299       62,695

      Net change in
       non-cash operating
       items                  (10,910)     (10,315)     (24,458)     (25,357)
                          ---------------------------------------------------

      Cash flow from
       operating
       activities              19,903       17,924       41,841       37,338
                          ---------------------------------------------------

    INVESTING ACTIVITIES
      Short-term
       investments -
       purchased                    -      (37,625)           -      (37,625)
      Short-term
       investments -
       cashed                       -       56,822       44,774       82,767
      Additions to
       property, plant and
       equipment               (3,532)      (4,457)      (6,582)      (7,792)
      Business acquisition,
       net of cash acquired         -            -      (46,794)           -
                          ---------------------------------------------------
                               (3,532)      14,740       (8,602)      37,350
                          ---------------------------------------------------

    FINANCING ACTIVITIES
      Shares repurchased      (16,555)     (44,017)     (16,555)     (65,060)
      Stock options
       exercised                  893        4,170        1,636        4,981
      Dividends               (10,537)      (8,088)     (10,541)      (8,092)
                          ---------------------------------------------------
                              (26,199)     (47,935)     (25,460)     (68,171)
                          ---------------------------------------------------

    Net change in cash and
     cash equivalents          (9,828)     (15,271)       7,779        6,517
    Cash and cash
     equivalents -
     beginning of period       86,519       39,891       68,912       18,103
                          ---------------------------------------------------
    Cash and cash
     equivalents - end
     of period            $    76,691  $    24,620  $    76,691  $    24,620
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


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

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

                                                    February 28,   August 31,
                                                           2007         2006
                                                    -------------------------
                                                     (unaudited)

    ASSETS

    Current
      Cash and cash equivalents                     $    76,691  $    68,912
      Short-term investments                                  -       44,774
      Accounts receivable                                94,604       90,766
      Program and film rights                            65,226       69,293
      Prepaid expenses and other current assets          14,956       16,804
                                                    -------------------------
                                                        251,477      290,549

    Program and film rights                              62,995       41,950
    Other non-current assets                             11,176       11,188
    Property, plant and equipment                        76,989       77,960
    Broadcast licences                                  922,072      883,304
    Goodwill                                            104,323       86,240
    Future income tax assets                             10,293        9,169
                                                    -------------------------

                                                    $ 1,439,325  $ 1,400,360
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    LIABILITIES

    Current
      Accounts payable and accrued liabilities      $    65,041  $    79,067
      Income taxes payable                               15,034       19,465
      Program and film rights payable                    68,405       59,278
      Future income tax liabilities                         973        2,949
                                                    -------------------------
                                                        149,453      160,759
                                                    -------------------------

    Future income tax liabilities                       262,376      248,325
                                                    -------------------------
    Other non-current liabilities                        30,448       28,266
                                                    -------------------------
    Liabilities of discontinued operations                2,778        3,477
                                                    -------------------------

    SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY

    Capital stock                                       562,019      562,092
    Contributed surplus                                   8,663        8,750
    Retained earnings                                   423,588      388,691
                                                    -------------------------
                                                        994,270      959,533
                                                    -------------------------

                                                    $ 1,439,325  $ 1,400,360
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
    Business Segments
    for the periods ended February 28
    (in thousands)
    (unaudited)

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

                                          3 months                  6 months
                          ------------------------- -------------------------
                                 2007         2006         2007         2006
                          ---------------------------------------------------

    REVENUES

    Television            $   114,965  $   103,791  $   235,806  $   214,051
    Radio                      25,707       25,465       56,806       55,871
    Outdoor Advertising         9,191        9,258       22,350       23,069
                          ---------------------------------------------------

                          $   149,863  $   138,514  $   314,962  $   292,991
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    EBITDA

    Television            $    39,477  $    35,822  $    82,566  $    74,412
    Radio                       6,465        6,425       17,004       16,533
    Outdoor Advertising         1,104        1,013        6,111        6,062
    Corporate Costs            (5,694)      (4,823)     (11,269)      (9,840)
                          ---------------------------------------------------

                          $    41,352  $    38,437  $    94,412  $    87,167
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
    Appendix 1
    Future Income Tax Expense
    for the periods ended February 28
    (unaudited)

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

    Future Income Tax Expense Resulting from Tax Rate Changes

    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. Accordingly, the Company was
required to re-measure its future income tax assets and liabilities using the
newly enacted corporate income tax rates over which the Company has no
control, taking into account the rates anticipated to be in effect when the
respective future income tax assets are realized or liabilities are settled.
In the first quarter of Fiscal 2006, this resulted in a non-cash future income
tax expense of $14.8 million ($0.27 per share) recorded in the unaudited
interim consolidated statement of earnings and retained earnings.

    Impact of Changes in Enacted Future Tax Rates

    A reconciliation of net earnings before the impact of future income tax
rate changes, to net earnings, is provided below.

                                          3 months                  6 months
                          ------------------------- -------------------------
    (in thousands)               2007         2006         2007         2006
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Earnings before
     income taxes         $    38,127  $    35,185  $    88,566  $    80,974
    Income tax provision
     before undernoted
     impact of future
     income tax rate
     changes                  (13,499)     (12,644)     (31,289)     (28,394)
                          ---------------------------------------------------

    Net earnings before
     undernoted                24,628       22,541       57,277       52,580
    Future income tax
     expense resulting
     from income tax rate
     changes                        -            -            -      (14,815)
                          ---------------------------------------------------

    Net earnings          $    24,628  $    22,541  $    57,277  $    37,765
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A reconciliation of basic earnings per share before the impact of future
income tax rate changes, to basic earnings per share, is provided below.

                                          3 months                  6 months
                          ------------------------- -------------------------
    (in dollars)                 2007         2006         2007         2006
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basic earnings per
     share before
     undernoted           $      0.47  $      0.42  $      1.08  $      0.97
    Impact of future
     income tax expense
     resulting from
     income tax rate
     changes                        -            -            -        (0.27)
                          ---------------------------------------------------

    Basic earnings per
     share                $      0.47  $      0.42  $      1.08  $      0.70
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    




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

Organization Profile

Astral Media Inc.

More on this organization


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890