CI Financial reports first quarter results; dividend rate increased 25%



    TSX Symbol: CIX

    TORONTO, May 12 /CNW/ - CI Financial Corp. ("CI") today released
unaudited financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2009.

    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                               Quarter ended        Quarter ended
                              March 31, 2009    December 31, 2008
                            (millions except     (millions except
    HIGHLIGHTS             per share amounts)   per share amounts)  % change
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Average Retail Assets
     Under Management                $48,681              $50,380        (3)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Gross Sales                       $2,132               $2,455       (13)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Net Sales                           $178                ($102)      n/a
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    EBITDA Per Share
     (adjusted)(1),(2)                 $0.43                $0.46        (7)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Earnings Per Share
     (adjusted)(2)                     $0.20                $0.19         5
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    SG&A expenses
     (adjusted)(2)                     $75.7                $80.7        (6)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (1)EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and
       amortization) is not a standardized earnings measure prescribed by
       GAAP; however, management believes that most of its shareholders,
       creditors, other stakeholders and investment analysts prefer to
       include the use of this performance measure in analyzing CI's results.
       CI's method of calculating this measure may not be comparable to
       similar measures presented by other companies. EBITDA is a measure of
       operating performance, a facilitator for valuation and a proxy for
       cash flow.

    (2)Adjusted for equity-based compensation expense of $0.75 million,
       related to employee stock options.
    

    Fee-earning assets at March 31, 2009 were $78.0 billion, down 3% from
$80.3 billion at December 31, 2008. This decrease was mostly attributable to
declining markets, partially offset by positive net sales of funds.
Fee-earning assets were comprised of $49.1 billion in investment funds and
pools at CI Investments Inc. and United Financial Corporation, $378 million in
structured products, $3.7 billion in institutional managed assets, $23.9
billion in dealer assets under administration at Assante Wealth Management
(Canada) Ltd. and Blackmont Capital Inc., and $0.9 billion in other
fee-earning assets.
    Gross sales and net sales of funds for the three months ended March 31,
2009 were $2.1 billion and $0.2 billion, respectively. Over the 12-month
period ended March 31, 2009, CI's net sales were $1.4 billion, ranking it
third for net sales among the independent mutual fund companies.
    CI's average retail assets under management in the first quarter were
$48.7 billion, a drop of 3% from $50.4 billion in the prior quarter. Despite
this slight drop in average assets, CI's operating margin remained flat. As
part of CI's continued commitment to keep costs in line with asset levels, net
selling, general and administrative ("SG&A") expenses in the first quarter
were $75.7 million, down 6% from $80.7 million in the quarter ended December
31, 2008. Net SG&A expenses were reported net of equity-based compensation,
which was $0.75 million for the quarter, and related to employee stock
options.
    After adjusting for equity-based compensation expense, CI reported $0.43
in EBITDA per share and $0.20 in earnings per share, compared with $0.46 and
$0.19, respectively, for the prior quarter.
    At May 10, 2009, CI's retail assets under management totalled $54.9
billion, a gain of $6.2 billion or 13% over the average level of assets for
the first quarter. At current asset levels and margins, CI expects significant
improvements to profitability for the remainder of the year.
    "Since the lows on March 9, 2009, CI has seen its assets under management
increase by $10 billion," said Stephen A. MacPhail, CI President. "Given that
CI successfully implemented a wide-ranging cost reduction program in 2008, we
are able to take full advantage of the rebound in asset values. In addition,
sales of CI's funds continue to be solid, with $82 million of net sales in
long-term funds in April, and we expect that May will see further sales
growth. The growth in earnings from our assets combined with CI's continued
strength in sales has positioned us to significantly increase our dividend."
    CI announced a change in its dividend policy to paying a monthly dividend
of $0.05 per share. CI had previously stated its intention to pay a quarterly
dividend of $0.12 per share. The Board of Directors declared a dividend of
$0.10 per share, representing payments for April and May, payable on June 15,
2009 to shareholders of record on May 31, 2009. Dividends of $0.05 per share
were declared payable on July 15, 2009 and August 14, 2009 to shareholders of
record on June 30, 2009 and July 31, 2009, respectively.
    This change in dividend policy represents an effective increase of 25% in
the dividend rate. The monthly dividend of $0.05 per share represents a yield
of 3.5% on CI's closing share price of $17.20 on May 11, 2009.
    As of April 30, 2009, CI had 293,518,840 shares outstanding.
    For detailed financial statements for the quarter ended March 31, 2009,
including Management's Discussion and Analysis, please refer to CI's website
at www.ci.com/cix under Reports, or contact investorrelations@ci.com.

    Analysts' Conference Call

    Chief Executive Officer William T. Holland will host a conference call
and webcast with analysts today at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time to discuss CI's
first quarter results. The webcast will include a slide presentation and be
available at www.ci.com/q1. Alternatively, investors may listen to the
discussion by dialing (416) 644-3434 or 1-800-587-1893.
    The call will be available for playback until May 26, 2009 at (416)
640-1917 or 1-877-289-8525 (passcode: 21305625, followed by the number sign).
The webcast will be archived at www.ci.com/q1.

    CI Financial Corp. (TSX: CIX) is an independent, Canadian-owned wealth
management company. CI offers a broad range of investment products and
services, including an industry-leading selection of investment funds. CI is
on the Web at www.ci.com/cix.

    This press release contains forward-looking statements with respect to CI
and its products and services, including its business operations and strategy
and financial performance and condition. Although management believes that the
expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, such
statements involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ
materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.
Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations
include, among other things, general economic and market factors, including
interest rates, business competition, changes in government regulations or in
tax laws, and other factors discussed in materials filed with applicable
securities regulatory authorities from time to time.




For further information:

For further information: Stephen A. MacPhail, President, CI Financial
Corp., (416) 364-1145


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