Astral Media reports solid third quarter results for fiscal 2008



    - 38% revenue growth
    - 41% increase in EBITDA(1)
    - 21% increase in net earnings
    - 12% increase in EPS (basic)

    The following results include the operations of the assets acquired from
    Standard Radio, effective October 29, 2007.

    MONTREAL, July 10 /CNW Telbec/ - Astral Media Inc. (TSX: ACM.A/ACM.B)
today reported its financial results for the third quarter ended May 31, 2008,
which saw continued growth in revenues, EBITDA(1), net earnings, and EPS.
    Consolidated net earnings for the third quarter increased by 21% over the
same quarter last year, rising to $43.3 million ($0.76 per share) from
$35.9 million ($0.68 per share). Consolidated net earnings for the first nine
months of Fiscal 2008 increased by 18%(2) over last year, rising to
$109.8 million(2) ($1.95 per share(2)) from $93.1 million ($1.76 per share)
last year. Consolidated revenues for the third quarter totalled
$233.0 million, a 38% increase over the $169.4 million reported last year for
the same period. Consolidated revenues totalled $638.7 million for the first
nine months of the year, an increase of 32% over the $484.3 million recorded
last year for the same period.
    For the third quarter, EBITDA(1) rose to $82.2 million from $58.3 million
for the same period last year, an increase of 41%. EBITDA(1) for the first
nine months increased by 37% to $209.1 million from $152.7 million for the
same period last year.
    "I am obviously pleased to report solid growth for the third quarter and
year-to-date, even more so in this increasingly challenging economic
environment," said Ian Greenberg, President and Chief Executive Officer. "I am
particularly pleased to highlight that not only are our recent acquisitions
and investments yielding obvious benefits, but we are also continuing to grow
the overall company organically."
    "Looking at the performance of our divisions for the third quarter, our
Television group grew its revenues by 5% and EBITDA(1) by 8% over the same
period last year, fuelled by a 14% increase of our advertising sales. Revenues
of our radio stations were up 151% over the third quarter of 2007, due to the
integration of the assets acquired from Standard Radio, while our Outdoor
division increased its revenues by 39% over the same quarter last year," he
concluded.

    
    OPERATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

    Television

    - Revenue growth of 5% for the nine-month period;
    - Advertising revenue growth of 13% for the nine-month period;
    - EBITDA(1) growth of 8% for the nine-month period;
    - EBITDA margin(1) rose from 35.7% to 36.5% for the nine-month period.

    Radio

    - Revenue growth of $119.6 million (131%) for the nine-month period, due
      to the assets acquired from Standard Radio;
    - EBITDA(1) growth of $43.8 million (143%) for the nine-month period;
    - EBITDA margin(1) rose from 33.6% to 35.3% for the nine-month period.

    Outdoor Advertising

    - Revenue growth of 45% for the nine-month period, as a result of the
      Toronto Street Furniture Program effective September 1st, 2007, and a
      strong performance in the Québec market;
    - 49% EBITDA(1) growth for the nine-month period;
    - EBITDA margin(1) rose from 29.3% to 30.1% for the nine-month period.
    

    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
Thursday, July 10, 2008. To access the conference call dial 1-800-733-7560.
The conference call will also be broadcast live and archived for a three-month
period on the Astral Media website at www.astralmedia.com.

    Astral Media is a leading Canadian media company, active in specialty and
pay 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.

    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. See Appendix 1.
    2. Excluding the favourable impact of the future income tax recovery of
       $28.3 million recorded in the second quarter of Fiscal 2008, resulting
       from enacted income tax rate changes (See Appendix 1).


    ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
    Interim Consolidated Statements of Earnings
    for the periods ended May 31, 2008 and 2007
    (in thousands of Canadian dollars except for per-share data)
    (unaudited)

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

                                      3 months                9 months
                              ----------------------- -----------------------
                                    2008        2007        2008        2007
                              -----------------------------------------------
    Revenues                   $ 233,046   $ 169,379   $ 638,740   $ 484,341

    Operating expenses           150,823     111,102     429,689     331,652
                              -----------------------------------------------
    EBITDA(1)                     82,223      58,277     209,051     152,689
      Depreciation                 5,434       3,916      15,846      11,517
      Amortization of intangible
       assets                        323         115         877         319
      Interest expense (income),
       net                        11,255      (1,079)     26,364      (3,038)
                              -----------------------------------------------
    Earnings before income taxes  65,211      55,325     165,964     143,891
                              -----------------------------------------------

    Income tax provision before
     undernoted                   21,929      19,458      56,151      50,747
    Future income tax recovery
     resulting from income tax
     rate changes                      -           -     (28,259)          -
                              -----------------------------------------------
                                  21,929      19,458      27,892      50,747
                              -----------------------------------------------

    Net earnings               $  43,282   $  35,867   $ 138,072   $  93,144
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Earnings per share

      - Basic                  $    0.76   $    0.68   $    2.46   $    1.76
                              -----------------------------------------------
      - Diluted                $    0.75   $    0.67   $    2.41   $    1.73
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Weighted average number
     of shares outstanding
     - basic                      57,039      52,692      56,224      52,779
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    --------------------------
    (1) See Appendix 1



    ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
    Interim Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
    for the periods ended May 31, 2008 and 2007
    (in thousands of Canadian dollars)
    (unaudited)

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

                                      3 months                9 months
                              ----------------------- -----------------------
                                    2008        2007        2008        2007
                              -----------------------------------------------
    Cash and cash equivalents
     provided by (used for):

    OPERATING ACTIVITIES

      Net earnings             $  43,282   $  35,867   $ 138,072   $  93,144
      Non-cash charges (credits):
        Depreciation and
         amortization              5,757       4,031      16,723      11,836
        Stock-based compensation   1,750       1,572       4,855       4,492
        Future income tax
         expense (recovery)
         before undernoted         5,702       1,179      12,182        (524)
        Future income tax
         recovery resulting
         from income tax rate
         changes                       -           -     (28,259)          -
        Imputed interest on
         other long-term
         liabilities                 733           -       1,764           -
        Amortization of deferred
         financing costs             172           -         404           -
                              -----------------------------------------------
      Cash flow from
       operations(1)              57,396      42,649     145,741     108,948

      Net change in non-cash
       operating items           (13,010)      9,182     (54,849)    (15,276)
                              -----------------------------------------------
      Cash flow from operating
       activities                 44,386      51,831      90,892      93,672
                              -----------------------------------------------

    INVESTING ACTIVITIES

      Short-term investments
       - purchased                     -     (71,041)          -     (71,041)
      Short-term investments
       - cashed                        -           -      51,128      44,774
      Additions to property,
       plant and equipment        (7,762)     (3,417)    (17,959)     (9,999)

      Business acquisition,
       net of cash acquired            -           -    (904,116)    (46,794)
                              -----------------------------------------------
                                  (7,762)    (74,458)   (870,947)    (83,060)
                              -----------------------------------------------

    FINANCING ACTIVITIES

      Deferred financing costs         -           -      (2,835)          -
      Increase in long-term debt       -           -     825,000           -
      Shares repurchased         (10,029)          -     (26,914)    (16,555)
      Stock options exercised      1,261         655       2,956       2,291
      Dividends                       (4)         (4)    (14,397)    (10,545)
                              -----------------------------------------------
                                  (8,772)        651     783,810     (24,809)
                              -----------------------------------------------
    Net change in cash and
     cash equivalents             27,852     (21,976)      3,755     (14,197)
    Cash and cash equivalents
     (bank overdraft) -
     beginning of period          (2,860)     76,691      21,237      68,912
                              -----------------------------------------------
    Cash and cash equivalents
     - end of period           $  24,992   $  54,715   $  24,992   $  54,715
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (1) See Appendix 1



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

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

                                                         May 31,   August 31,
                                                           2008         2007
                                                   --------------------------
                                                     (unaudited)

    ASSETS

    Current
      Cash and cash equivalents                     $    24,992  $    21,237
      Short-term investments                                  -       51,128
      Accounts receivable                               170,839       96,995
      Program and film rights                            64,988       72,791
      Prepaid expenses and other current assets          23,118       18,331
                                                   --------------------------
                                                        283,937      260,482

    Program and film rights                              77,969       58,854
    Other non-current assets                             50,319       49,088
    Property, plant and equipment                       117,730       83,367
    Broadcast licences                                1,967,297      950,698
    Goodwill                                            192,628      116,016
    Future income tax assets                             27,006        8,549
                                                   --------------------------
                                                    $ 2,716,886  $ 1,527,054
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    LIABILITIES

    Current

      Accounts payable and accrued liabilities      $   122,980  $    83,160
      Income taxes payable                                5,431       19,501
      Program and film rights payable                    55,828       70,325
      Future income tax liabilities                       3,627        3,246
                                                   --------------------------
                                                        187,866      176,232
                                                   --------------------------
    Long-term debt                                      821,903            -
                                                   --------------------------
    Future income tax liabilities                       249,634      267,240
                                                   --------------------------
    Other non-current liabilities                        93,601       26,673
                                                   --------------------------
    Derivative financial instruments                     14,550            -
                                                   --------------------------
    Liabilities of discontinued operations                1,375        2,183
                                                   --------------------------

    SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY

    Capital stock                                       759,286      561,589
                                                   --------------------------
    Contributed surplus                                  13,040       11,645
                                                   --------------------------
    Retained earnings                                   586,280      481,492
    Accumulated other comprehensive income              (10,649)           -
                                                   --------------------------
                                                        575,631      481,492
                                                   --------------------------
                                                      1,347,957    1,054,726
                                                   --------------------------

                                                    $ 2,716,886  $ 1,527,054
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------



    ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
    Business Segments
    for the periods ended May 31
    (in thousands)
    (unaudited)

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

                                      3 months                9 months
                              ----------------------- -----------------------
                                    2008        2007        2008        2007
                              -----------------------------------------------

    REVENUES

    Television                 $ 128,995   $ 122,376   $ 377,221   $ 358,182
    Radio                         86,542      34,427     210,824      91,233
    Outdoor Advertising           17,509      12,576      50,695      34,926
                              -----------------------------------------------

                               $ 233,046   $ 169,379   $ 638,740   $ 484,341
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    EBITDA(1)

    Television                 $  48,902   $  45,437   $ 137,698   $ 128,003
    Radio                         33,206      13,674      74,476      30,678
    Outdoor Advertising            5,991       4,120      15,275      10,231
    Corporate Costs               (5,876)     (4,954)    (18,398)    (16,223)
                              -----------------------------------------------

                               $  82,223   $  58,277   $ 209,051   $ 152,689
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    --------------------------
    (1) See Appendix 1



    ASTRAL MEDIA INC.
    Appendix 1
    Supplementary Measures
    for the periods ended May 31, 2008 and 2007
    (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 May 31, 2008
and 2007 to EBITDA:

                                      3 months                9 months
                              ----------------------- -----------------------
    (in thousands of $)             2008        2007        2008        2007
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Earnings before income taxes  65,211      55,325     165,964     143,891
    Depreciation and amortization  5,757       4,031      16,723      11,836
    Interest expense (income),
     net                          11,255      (1,079)     26,364      (3,038)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    EBITDA                        82,223      58,277     209,051     152,689
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Net earnings and earnings per share 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 recovery or expense resulting from
income tax rate changes over which the Company has no control.
    The following tables reconcile GAAP measures disclosed in the unaudited
interim consolidated statements of earnings for the periods ended May 31, 2008
and 2007 to net earnings and earnings per share, before the impact of future
income tax rate changes.

                                      3 months                9 months
                              ----------------------- -----------------------
    (in thousands of $)             2008        2007        2008        2007
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Net earnings                  43,282      35,867     138,072      93,144
    Impact of future income
     tax rate changes                  -           -     (28,259)          -
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Net earnings before the
     impact of future income
     tax rate changes             43,282      35,867     109,813      93,144
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                      3 months                9 months
                              ----------------------- -----------------------
    (in dollars)                    2008        2007        2008        2007
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basic earnings per share        0.76        0.68        2.46        1.76
    Impact of future income
     tax rate changes                  -           -       (0.51)          -
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Basic earnings per share
     before the impact of
     future income tax rate
     changes                        0.76        0.68        1.95        1.76
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    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 May 31,
2008 and 2007 to cash flow from operations:


                                      3 months                9 months
                              ----------------------- -----------------------
    (in thousands of $)             2008        2007        2008        2007
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Cash flow from operating
     activities                   44,386      51,831      90,892      93,672
    Net change in non-cash
     operating items              13,010      (9,182)     54,849      15,276
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cash flow from operations     57,396      42,649     145,741     108,948
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

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