Cossette Communication Group - Fiscal Year 2009 First Quarter Results - Gross income down 2.3%, net earnings at $1.6 million



    KOS (TSX)

    MONTREAL, Feb. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - Cossette Communication Group Inc.
("Cossette" or the "Company") recorded gross income of $57.9 million for the
first quarter of fiscal 2009, ended December 31, 2008, down 2.3% from $59.3
million from the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal year. Net
earnings amounted to $1.6 million ($0.10 per share), compared to $3.4 million
($0.20 per share) in fiscal 2008.
    "Over the quarter, the economic slowdown experienced by most sectors did
not spare our operations. Nevertheless, we continued to make every effort to
consolidate business development. These efforts have borne fruit-particularly
in Canada-and have enabled us, in light of current circumstances, to post
relatively encouraging quarterly results in terms of revenue," said Claude
Lessard, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President.
    "Although operating profits were satisfactory in the United Kingdom and
Canada, the recession made its presence felt more forcefully in the United
States. However, I would stress that we have confidence in the potential of
the American market. It is a market that continues to be one of our priorities
as we support our people who, day in day out, deliver a spectacular product
while meeting our clients' communications and business objectives," Mr.
Lessard concluded.
    For the quarter, earnings from operations were $3.5 million, compared
with $5.5 million in 2008. Cash flows from operating activities excluding the
net change in non-cash working capital items amounted to $4.7 million,
compared to $5.6 million last year.
    Management's Discussion and Analysis containing a full analysis of
financial results is available on SEDAR (www.sedar.com).

    Cossette Communication Group Inc. offers a full range of leading-edge
communication services to clients of all sizes, including some of the most
prestigious brands in the world. A customer-driven organization built around
highly specialized business units, Cossette also offers Convergent
CommunicationsTM, a unique working method that brings added value to the
client by integrating various services offered by the Group, including
strategic planning and research, advertising, media buying and channel
planning, sales promotion, direct response, database and direct marketing,
customer relationship management, interactive marketing and technology
solutions, public relations, organizational communication and change
management, sponsorship and alliance marketing, branding and design, ethnic
marketing, business-to-business communications (B2B practices) and print and
video production. Cossette has approximately 1,630 employees and offices in
Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, New York, Irvine, Los
Angeles, London, Moscow and Shanghai.

    Forward-looking statements - This press release is not an offer of
securities for sale. It may contain forward-looking statements concerning the
Company's business, operations and strategies, including forward-looking
statements within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and
Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 in the United States. The
Company cautions that, by their nature, forward-looking statements involve
risks and uncertainties and the Company's actual results may differ materially
from those expressed or implied in such statements, due to a variety of
factors including downturns in general economic conditions and resulting
changes in client business and marketing strategies, consolidation and
globalisation of client brand strategies, the highly competitive nature of the
communications industry, the greater resources available to much larger global
agencies, low entry barriers for new competitors, dependence upon a limited
number of clients contributing a significant percentage of income, inability
to acquire new clients or new assignments from existing clients due to client
policies prohibiting performance of similar services for competing products or
companies, our ability to successfully integrate our acquired and
to-be-acquired businesses and the retention of key management, creative and
technical personnel. Reference should be made to the most recent annual
Management's Discussion and Analysis for an in-depth description of major risk
factors. The Company assumes no obligation to update or revise any
forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future
events or any other reason, unless required by applicable laws. In the event
the Company does update any forward-looking statements, no inference should be
made that the Company will make additional updates with respect to that
statement, related matters, or any other forward-looking statement.

    Financial analysts are invited to participate in a conference call with
management tomorrow February 5, 2009, at 2:00 p.m. The media and any
stakeholders may attend the call in listening mode only. Please dial
514-861-1681 or 877-677-7769 (Canada & U.S.) or 00-800-6578-9898 (Global Toll
Free). A replay will be available at 514-861-2272 or 800-408-3053, passcode
3279714# until February 21, 2009 and in the Investor Relations section of our
website at www.cossette.com.

    Appendix: Selected Financial Information


    
                      Cossette Communication Group Inc.
                       Selected Financial Information
     (In thousands of Canadian dollars, except the number of shares and
                               per share data)

                  Results for the Three-month Periods ended
                   December 31, 2008 and 2007 (unaudited)

                                                            2008        2007

    Gross income                                          57,944      59,292
    Operating expenses                                    54,487      53,804
    Earnings from operations                               3,457       5,488
    Earnings before income taxes and non controlling
     interest                                              3,638       5,671
    Earnings after income taxes                            2,193       3,814
    Non-controlling interest                                (626)       (463)
    Net earnings                                           1,567       3,351
    Cash flows from operations
    (before the net change in non-cash working capital
     items)                                                4,668       5,639
    Net earnings per share
      Basic                                                 0.10        0.20
      Diluted                                               0.10        0.20
    Weighted average number of shares outstanding ('000)
      Basic                                               15,827      16,621
      Diluted                                             16,197      16,678


                                Balance sheet

                                                           As at       As at
                                                         Dec. 31,   Sept. 30,
                                                            2008        2008
                                                      (unaudited)   (audited)

    Cash and cash equivalents                             26,324      13,685
    Current assets                                       217,986     225,201
    Intangible assets                                      5,355       5,505
    Goodwill                                              92,211      93,122
    Total assets                                         340,349     348,356
    Short-term borrowings, including bank overdraft            -      37,649
    Current portion of long-term debt                         67          99
    Balances of purchase price of subsidiaries
     (current portion)                                    14,197      14,566
    Long-term debt                                         7,815         219
    Balances of purchase price of subsidiaries               101         106
    Shareholders' equity                                 135,843     134,212
    
    %SEDAR: 00012070EF




For further information:

For further information: Financial Analysts only: Martin Faucher,
Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer, (418) 521-3784; Investors: Francis
Trudeau, Director, Acquisitions and Investor Relations, (514) 282-4633;
Medias: Mathieu Claise, Optimum Public Relations, (418) 521-3770; Source:
Cossette Communication Group Inc., www.cossette.com

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COSSETTE COMMUNICATION GROUP INC.

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