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Transcontinental Pursues Growth and Will Achieve Financial Objectives for 2003

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Press release from the issuing company

MONTREAL, QUEBEC --March 27, 2003-- At a press conference preceding its Annual Meeting of Shareholders, Transcontinental's management reaffirmed that despite the weakness in the advertising market, particularly in the United States, the Corporation is pursuing its growth and will achieve its financial objectives for 2003. Other commercial printers in North America recently reduced their guidance for 2003 due to low demand for certain printed products, the competitive price environment and cost increases in primary materials and energy. "Our guidance for fiscal 2003, announced to the market in December 2002, took into account the difficult conditions we are seeing today," said Remi Marcoux, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Transcontinental. "Furthermore, we have had a satisfactory first quarter, with revenue and earnings growth in line with our guidance. Our confidence, however, is based on a series of other very important factors." Addressing the journalists present, Mr. Marcoux emphasized the strength of Transcontinental's balance sheet, "one of the healthiest of the major companies in its industry in North America"; the investment of over $500 million in acquisitions and capital investments in 2002 "whose positive effects will be felt this year"; the mobilization of Transcontinental's 12,000 employees through its Horizon 2005 business project, whose main goals are increasing sales and continually improving efficiency: "We started to reap the benefits of Horizon 2005 in 2002 and this will intensify in 2003"; the performance of the Media sector, Canada's fourth-largest print media group and "one of the most profitable"; the prompt and successful integration of the CanWest newspapers acquired in 2002, "the biggest transaction in Transcontinental's history"; a diversified customer base that operates mainly in niches that are less sensitive to short-term fluctuations in the economy; and the fact that over 70% of the Corporation's revenues stem from the Canadian market, which has been less affected than the United States by the lower advertising spending. "Take all that in conjunction with the fact that we have a strong, dedicated, loyal and stable management team, as well as a unique business model, and you will understand that Transcontinental is a company that is different from its competitors," concluded Remi Marcoux. "That is why, despite the state of the industry, we are very optimistic and fully expect to achieve our earnings per share guidance of $3.20 to $3.35 for 2003, which represents an increase of 8% to 14% over 2002, assuming that the negative effects related to current geopolitical tensions do not entail a deterioration of economic conditions."




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