Astral reports strong first quarter results for Fiscal 2012

  • 5% increase in net earnings
  • 9% increase in diluted EPS

MONTREAL, Feb. 2, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Astral Media Inc. (TSX: ACM.A ACM.B) today reported its financial results for the first quarter ended November 30, 2011, which saw continued growth in revenues, EBITDA1, net earnings, EPS, and cash flow from operations2.

Consolidated revenues totalled $271.1 million for the first quarter, an increase of 2% over the $267.1 million recorded last year for the same period. EBITDA1 for the first three months grew 1% to $90.4 million from $89.1 million for the same quarter last year. Consolidated net earnings for the first three months of Fiscal 2012 increased by 5%, rising to $55.8 million from $53.1 million last year. Diluted earnings per share for the first quarter increased by 9%, reaching $1.00 from $0.92 last year. Cash flow from operations2 rose by 3% to $69.0 million for the first quarter compared to $66.7 million for the same period last year.

"I am pleased with our Company's overall growth in the first three months of Fiscal 2012. Once again, our balanced asset mix and geographical footprint enabled us to display continued consolidated growth at all levels, achieved in spite of the challenging economic and advertising conditions in which we operate," said Ian Greenberg, President and Chief Executive Officer. "While we remain in a low visibility environment, I am confident that the ongoing efforts to strengthen our multiplatform offering and presence in key markets, combined with new television distribution agreements and continued investments in our brands, provide us with the optimal conditions to achieve our goals."



  • Revenue growth of 3%;
  • Advertising and subscriber-related revenue increases of 1% and 3% respectively;
  • EBITDA1 growth of 2%;
  • Sequential addition of 9,000 new pay-television subscribers for The Movie Network and Super Écran over the course of the first quarter;
  • Announcement of a new distribution agreement with Shaw Cablesystems G.P. for Disney XD and Disney Junior;
  • Subsequent to the end of the first quarter, the Company announced that Disney XD and Disney Junior (French) are now available to Cogeco Cable subscribers.


  • Revenue decline of 4%;
  • EBITDA1 decline of 7%;
  • Subsequent to the end of the first quarter, the Company completed the acquisition of an FM radio station in Vancouver, CHHR-FM (Shore FM), bringing Astral Radio's number of stations to 84.


  • Revenue growth of 13%;
  • EBITDA1 growth of 16%.

Subsequent to quarter end, the Company announced on December 13, 2011:

  • A 33.3% increase of its annual dividend from $0.75 to $1.00 per share, paid to holders of its Class A and Class B shares;
  • The renewal of its normal course issuer bid to repurchase for cancellation, up to 5% of its outstanding shares, 2,630,137 Class A Shares and 137,708 Class B Shares over a maximum period of 12 months beginning on December 16, 2011.

Transition to International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS")

For fiscal years beginning on or after January 1, 2011, publicly accountably profit-oriented enterprises are to apply IFRS. The Company therefore issued its Fiscal 2012 First Quarter financial results in accordance with IFRS, including Fiscal 2011 comparative figures using the same reporting standards.

The unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements and related notes and Management's Discussion and Analysis are available on the Company's website:

There will be a conference call with analysts and media at 10:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, February 2, 2012. To access the conference call dial 1-800-731-5319. The conference call will also be broadcast live and archived for a three-month period on the Astral website at

Astral is one of Canada's largest media companies. It operates several of the country's most popular pay and specialty television, radio, out-of-home advertising and digital media properties. Astral plays a central role in community life across the country by offering diverse, rich and vibrant programming that meets the tastes and needs of consumers and advertisers. To learn more about Astral, visit

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 the "Additional IFRS Measures" section in the Management's Discussion and Analysis.
  2. See the "Additional IFRS Measures" section in the Management's Discussion and Analysis.

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

  November 30
  2011     2010
Revenues $ 271,100   $ 267,093
Operating expenses   180,699     177,987
EBITDA (1)   90,401     89,106
  Depreciation of property, plant and equipment   7,506     6,840
  Amortization of other intangible and non-current assets   1,962     2,213
  Financial expense, net   3,953     5,695
Earnings before income taxes   76,980     74,358
Income tax provision   21,224     21,303
Net earnings $ 55,756   $ 53,055
Earnings per share          
  • Basic
$ 1.01   $ 0.93
  • Diluted
$ 1.00   $ 0.92
Interim Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income
for the three months ended
(in thousands of Canadian dollars)
  November 30
  2011     2010
Net earnings $ 55,756   $ 53,055
Other comprehensive income          
  Actuarial gain (loss) on employee future benefit plans, net of
income tax expense (recovery) of ($2.4 million) and $0.8 million respectively
  (6,772)     2,262
  Change in fair value of derivatives designated as cash flow hedges,
net of income tax expense of $0.1 million and $0.9 million respectively
  110     2,308
Comprehensive income $ 49,094   $ 57,625
(1) See Appendix 1.

Interim Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
for the three months ended
(in thousands of Canadian dollars)
  November 30
  2011     2010
  Net earnings $ 55,756   $ 53,055
  Non-cash items:          
    Stock-based compensation costs   2,152     2,493
    Depreciation and amortization   9,468     9,053
    Imputed interest, net   259     309
    Amortization of deferred financing costs   205     171
    Deferred tax expense   1,122     1,650
  Cash flow from operations (1)   68,962     66,731
  Net change in non-cash operating items   (45,111)     (30,541)
Cash provided by operating activities   23,851     36,190
  Additions to property, plant and equipment   (5,574)     (9,994)
  Additions to other intangible and non-current assets   (952)     (2,788)
Cash used for investing activities   (6,526)     (12,782)
  Deferred financing costs   (2,011)     -
  Repayment of long-term debt   (10,000)     (10,000)
  Shares repurchased   (7,757)     -
  Stock options exercised   3,110     4,816
Cash used for financing activities   (16,658)     (5,184)
Net change in cash   667     18,224
Cash - beginning of period   22,653     11,545
Cash - end of period $ 23,320   $ 29,769
(1) See Appendix 1.


Interim Consolidated Balance Sheets as at
(in thousands of Canadian dollars)

  November 30,
  August 31,
  September 1,
  Cash $ 23,320   $ 22,653   $ 11,545
  Accounts receivable   192,036     170,063     169,240
  Program and film rights   119,256     105,385     106,723
  Prepaid expenses and other current assets   42,975     29,096     29,451
    377,587     327,197     316,959
Program and film rights   54,609     51,058     41,640
Property, plant and equipment   193,539     195,508     180,616
Broadcast licences   1,639,785     1,639,785     1,661,949
Goodwill   116,016     116,016     116,016
Other intangible and non-current assets   64,814     70,543     64,162
Non-current financial assets   15,854     19,852     22,848
Deferred tax assets   62,638     60,747     64,683
  $ 2,524,842   $ 2,480,706   $ 2,468,873
  Accounts payable and accrued liabilities $ 140,739   $ 142,627   $ 143,780
  Provisions   3,561     4,621     3,380
  Income taxes payable   11,919     13,560     16,654
  Program and film rights payable   85,241     77,033     64,908
  Other current financial liabilities   887     1,945     -
    242,347     239,786     228,722
Long-term debt   512,327     524,133     588,447
Deferred tax liabilities   153,096     152,455     144,424
Program and film rights payable   10,218     8,839     12,668
Provisions   5,408     5,453     5,244
Other non-current liabilities   62,071     57,124     63,820
Other non-current financial liabilities   10,370     10,116     20,311
    995,837     997,906     1,063,636
SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY                
Capital stock   762,709     762,572     768,762
Contributed surplus   18,667     17,278     18,903
Retained earnings   757,008     705,667     624,609
Accumulated other comprehensive loss   (9,379)     (2,717)     (7,037)
    747,629     702,950     617,572
    1,529,005     1,482,800     1,405,237
  $ 2,524,842   $ 2,480,706   $ 2,468,873

Business Segments
for the three months ended November 30,
(in thousands of Canadian dollars)
    2011     2010
Television $ 153,552   $ 149,684
Radio   88,291     91,631
Out-of-Home   29,257     25,778
  $ 271,100   $ 267,093
Television $ 58,608   $ 57,471
Radio   27,591     29,513
Out-of-Home   11,835     10,232
Corporate   (7,633)     (8,110)
  $ 90,401   $ 89,106

(1)     See Appendix 1.

Appendix 1
Additional IFRS Measures
for the three-month periods ended November 30, 2011 and 2010

In addition to discussing earnings measures in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS"), this Press Release provides the following additional IFRS measures which are also factors used by the Company's management and Board of Directors 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 flow from operating activities and to cover financial charges. EBITDA is also an indicator widely used for business valuation purposes. EBITDA margin is defined as the ratio obtained by dividing EBITDA by revenues.

Cash flow from operations is defined as cash provided by 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 operating items.

The above additional IFRS measures do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS and may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies. 






For further information:


Hugues Mousseau
Director, Corporate Communications
and Synergies
Astral Media Inc.
Analysts :

Robert Fortier
Vice-President, Finance and 
Chief Financial Officer
Astral Media Inc.

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