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Vertis Communications Reports Net loss of $40M on quarter

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Press release from the issuing company

BALTIMORE (August 14, 2008) – Vertis Communications ("Vertis" or the "Company"), a leading provider of targeted advertising, media and marketing solutions, announced results for the three and six months ended June 30, 2008.


Revenue for the second quarter of 2008 was $312.0 million versus $332.1 million in the second quarter of 2007, a decline of 6.1 percent.  Revenue in the Advertising Inserts segment was lower as expected due to reduced volume as a result of the increasing cost of newsprint and other paper grades, increased transportation costs due to rising fuel prices and general economic conditions adversely affecting retail customers.  The overall pricing, which includes product, customer and equipment mix, in the segment was slightly unfavorable for the quarter as excess industry capacity continues to cause price pressure, and added to the decline.  Volume in the Direct Mail segment was up in the second quarter however, product mix was unfavorable resulting in approximately 2.7 percent lower revenue in the segment.

On a year-to-date basis, revenue was $615.7 million, a decrease of $47.1 million or 7.1 percent, from revenue of $662.8 million in the first six months of 2007.  The decrease was primarily driven by the overall market conditions noted above.

Net Loss

Net loss during the second quarter of 2008 was $40.9 million compared to a $19.7 million net loss in the second quarter of 2007.  Through June 30, 2008, the net loss amounted to $81.8 million versus $44.9 million in the corresponding period in 2007.  The primary drivers in the increased loss for the quarter are fees associated with the financial restructuring of the Company of $12.5 million, increases in operational restructuring costs of $0.9 million and the impacts of the decline in volumes noted above.  On a year-to-date basis the fees related to our financial restructuring amounted to $16.8 million and increases in operational restructuring costs amounted to $7.6 million.  Through the first half of the year, expected volume declines in Advertising Inserts, partially offset by improved pricing, combined with the impact of reduced revenue in the Direct Mail segment to contribute to the loss.  The Company continued its investment in lean and continuous improvement aimed at improving productivity and performance as well as upgrading quality and customer service which resulted in some near term increased costs.  The benefits of these actions are primarily reflected in cost of production.  Additionally, the Company is focusing on improving our sales organization by adding new sales resources.

Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization ("EBITDA") EBITDA in the second quarter of 2008 declined to $7.4 million from $27.4 million for the same period in 2007. This decrease relates primarily to the increases in the restructuring related costs of $13.4 million described above.  Adjusted EBITDA was $23.1 million in the second quarter of 2008, a decline of $7.4 million, or 24.3 percent, from Adjusted EBITDA of $30.5 million in 2007.  This decline was primarily due to reduced volume.

On a year-to-date basis, EBITDA declined to $14.5 million in 2008 versus $48.7 million in 2007. This decrease relates primarily to the increases in the restructuring related costs of $24.4 million described above combined with reduced volume.  Adjusted EBITDA amounted to $42.9 million for in 2008 versus $55.1 million in 2007.

See below for a reconciliation of EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA to net loss, which is the most comparable measure under accounting principles generally accepted in the United States ("GAAP").

Cash and Liquidity

The Company ended the quarter with $1.5 million in cash and debt of $1,192.1 million. In addition, the off- balance sheet accounts receivable facility stood at $80.1 million.  The Company ended the quarter with $20.6 million available under its $250 million senior credit facility.

As previously announced, Vertis has received final court approval of its $380 million debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing being provided by General Electric Capital Corporation, as administrative agent and collateral agent for itself and other financial institutions.   This facility replaces the senior credit facility and the off- balance sheet accounts receivable facility and will provide the necessary liquidity through the Chapter 11 process.

Additional information on the results discussed above is available in the Company's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on August 14, 2008.

Restructuring, Reorganization and Merger

As previously announced on July 15, 2008,  as a result of the strong support received for the company's prepackaged plan of reorganization (the "Plan"), the Company instituted the second phase of its strategy and commenced voluntary proceedings under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to seek confirmation of the Plan. The focal point of the Plan continues to be the agreement between Vertis and American Color Graphics, two of the largest printing and premedia companies in North America, to merge American Color's operations into Vertis' nationwide marketing and printing services platform.  The merger will allow both companies to enrich their core manufacturing capabilities relevant to the production of advertising inserts and newspaper products.  It will also enable them to make available an unprecedented scope of premedia and workflow solutions to their customers.  A confirmation hearing as to the Plan is scheduled for August 26, 2008.

Management Comments

Mike DuBose, chairman and chief executive officer, commented, "The financial results are essentially consistent with our expectations. The residual impacts to our current performance from the issues prior to 2007 are being overcome each day as the Company builds momentum from the turnaround plan the new management team put in place last year.  Although the economic and competitive pressures remain difficult and we have been temporarily hampered by the impacts of the financial restructuring, our initiatives are advancing positively, including improvements in operational efficiency, quality, management processes, customer service and sales management.  We continue to see progress winning back customers as well as with new customer wins."

"As we continue with the capital structure improvement phase of our turnaround we are comfortable with the strong foundation that has been established over the past year, however we are continuing to identify opportunities for additional cost reductions and growth" DuBose said.




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