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Merrill Corporation Announces Increased Earnings

Monday, May 05, 2003

Press release from the issuing company

May 5, 2003 -- St. Paul, Minn. - Merrill Corporation, a global diversified communications and document services provider, today announced increased earnings for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2003. Despite a three percent decrease in revenue for the fiscal year to $582 million, net income for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2003 was $1.4 million, an increase of $11.3 million from a loss of $9.9 million in the prior year. In accordance with new accounting rules on goodwill, amortization of goodwill ceased January 31, 2002 and fiscal year 2003 net income was approximately $3.7 million higher than it would have been had amortization of goodwill continued. “We are pleased to have achieved stable earnings, despite the continuation of a challenging operating environment,” said John Castro, CEO of Merrill Corporation. “Financial market activity weakened further during the year and lower financial asset values adversely impacted the mutual fund business, resulting in decreased revenues in our two largest business units. Our focus on cost control and leveraging our resources helped mitigate the bottom-line impact of the lower revenues.” “Additionally, we maintained the strong growth trends in our diversified business, most notably document management services to the legal industry and marketing and communication services to the real estate industry. This diversification of revenue streams has been a real success for Merrill, helping to offset the depressed financial markets. Other notable accomplishments were the doubling of revenue from Language Translation Services and the launch of our Merrill Datasite product. Merrill Datasite enables users to review large document volumes using Web-based search tools from any location.” In addition, earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for fiscal year end January 31, 2003 was $59.0 million, representing a five percent increase over $56.0 million in the prior fiscal year. EBITDA is a non-GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) financial measure that is commonly used in the industry to assist investors in the understanding of operating performance. Also, certain covenants of the Company’s debt agreements are based on calculations of EBITDA, as defined in the agreements. As such, EBITDA is of great interest to our lenders and investors as a key performance measure.




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