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Transcontinental generates organic revenue and profit growth in 2011

Press release from the issuing company

In 2011, Transcontinental Inc. increased its revenues by 1%, from $2,028.3 million to $2,043.6 million, driven primarily by the Printing sector as a result of numerous new contracts, most notably from the expanded relationship with The Globe and Mail, and to a lesser extent by increased volume in our distribution and community newspaper publishing activities. This growth was mitigated by lower volume from the printing of magazines, books and catalogues and marketing products as well as educational book publishing activities. Excluding acquisitions, divestitures and closures, the impact of the exchange rate and the paper component variance, organic revenue growth was slightly positive and was generated in all three operating sectors.

For this same period, adjusted operating income increased 1%, from $249.9 million to $252.7 million, driven primarily by the Printing sector through the contribution of new contracts coupled with the synergies associated with the use of our most productive assets and continued efficiency improvement initiatives. This growth was partially offset by continued strategic investments in the Media and Interactive sectors. Excluding acquisitions, divestitures and closures and the impact of the exchange rate, we generated close to 5% of organic profit growth.

"I am very proud of our 2011 results as we managed to grow both our revenues and profit in an industry that is undergoing a profound transformation. This past year alone we aligned our business portfolio with our strategy by making strategic acquisitions, divesting non-core businesses and consolidating our operations. We also signed new contracts and launched new products and services to develop both our traditional and new digital offering. In fact, we have now built a business of close to $200 million in digital and interactive solutions. In addition, we laid the groundwork to accelerate our development by adapting our go-to-market strategy, through the integration of our Media and Interactive sectors, by launching a new brand and positioning and by improving our financial position significantly. Given all this, we are very well positioned to be a Canadian leader in marketing activation, helping our customers attract, reach and retain their target consumers," said François Olivier, President and Chief Executive Officer.

Net income applicable to participating shares

Net income applicable to participating shares decreased 53%, from $166.6 million, or $2.06 per share, to $77.8 million, or $0.96 per share. This decrease is mainly attributable to two non-cash and non-operational items. The first item is an impairment of goodwill and intangible assets of $52.2 million in 2011 as compared to only $12.5 million in 2010. Of the total amount in 2011, $31.0 million was related to a goodwill impairment primarily linked to one-to-one marketing activities in the Interactive sector and $21.2 million was related to intangible assets, mainly in the Media sector, linked to trade names of our newspaper publishing assets in the Atlantic provinces and Saskatchewan.  The second item is a significant negative variance related to discontinued operations due to the double effect of a net gain of $29.4 million in 2010, on the disposal of our direct mail operations in the U.S., compared with a net loss of $21.2 million in 2011, on the disposal of our Mexican operations, mainly linked to an accumulated foreign exchange loss. The net difference of $50.6 million is non-cash and non-operational. Excluding unusual items and discontinued operations, adjusted net income applicable to participating shares increased 4%, from $155.9 million, or $1.93 per share, to $161.7 million, or $2.00 per share.

Fourth quarter

Transcontinental’s revenues decreased 3%, from $556.4 million to $537.5 million. This decrease was primarily due to the non-recurring revenue from the printing contract for the Canadian Census last year. Adjusted operating income decreased 3%, from $88.9 million to $86.3 million. This decrease was primarily due to the non-recurrence of the Census contract as well as continued strategic investments in the Media and Interactive sectors. Net income applicable to participating shares decreased 82%, from $44.5 million, or $0.55 per share, to $8.0 million, or $0.10 per share. This decrease is mainly due to an impairment of goodwill and intangible assets of $52.2 million, as explained above, which is non-cash and non-operational. Excluding unusual items and discontinued operations, adjusted net income applicable to participating shares decreased 4%, from $62.7 million, or $0.78 per share, to $60.2 million, or $0.74 per share.

Other Financial Highlights

  • For the year, free cash flow increased significantly as capital expenditures decreased, from $125.0 million to $47.4 million.
  • In fiscal 2011, Transcontinental optimized its debt portfolio. First, it set up a new two-year $200 million securitization program with a Canadian bank, which is currently unused. Second, it repaid more expensive debt ($100 million term credit facility with Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and its five-year term loan of $50 million with SGF Rexfor Inc.) by drawing on its line of credit, which boasts a much lower interest cost.
  • On December 21, 2010, Standard & Poor’s raised Transcontinental’s credit rating from BBB- (stable) to BBB (stable) reflecting the continued improvement in Transcontinental’s financial position and prospects.
  • As at October 31, 2011, the adjusted net indebtedness ratio(3) was 1.4x, as compared to 1.9x as at October 31, 2010. Over the next year, it should continue to improve given the expected increase in cash flow generation and a level of capital expenditures at around $75 million.

For more detailed financial information, please see Management’s Discussion and Analysis for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2011 and the complete financial statements on our website at www.tc.tc, under “Investors.”

Operating Highlights for Fiscal 2011

  • Announced the indirect acquisition of all the shares of Quad/Graphics Canada, Inc. This transaction is subject to approval of the Competition Bureau. The Corporation expects this transaction to close at the beginning of 2012.  We also sold our Mexican operations (revenues of C$67 million in 2010) and our black and white book printing business destined for U.S. export (revenues of C$25 million in 2010) to Quad/Graphics. This exchange of assets is expected to generate at least $40 million in net incremental EBITDA for Transcontinental, over 12 to 24 months following closing of the Canadian transaction.
  • Adjusted our go-to-market strategy by combining the Interactive and Media sectors on November 1, 2011. This    reorganization will make it easier to market our products and services and emphasize our offer on the various communication platforms, while continuing to deploy our other media and printing products.
  • Launched a new brand and positioning to better reflect our evolution into a leading player in the new marketing communications landscape: TC Transcontinental, a marketing activation company. The new brand better reflects the company’s comprehensive and integrated marketing communications service offering including print, media, digital, interactive and mobile.
  • Consolidated five printing plants by transferring the volume to larger plants which have benefited from investments in the recent years.
  • Continued to grow our newspaper publishing operations in Quebec by acquiring the publishing assets of Groupe Le Canada Français, Avantage Consommateurs de l’Est du Québec inc., Journal Nouvelles Hebdo as well as launching several newspapers.
  • Launched new services for our small and medium-sized business customers in local communities including Search Engine Marketing (SEM), web site design, online auctions through BidGo.ca and a group buying site under the brand Themegacatch.com.
  • Expanded our digital advertising representation by signing numerous deals which have led us to triple our digital network audience. We are now reaching over 13 million unique monthly visitors per month in Canada through more than 1,000 websites, bringing our global reach to almost 1 in 2 Canadian Internet users.
  • Acquired Vortxt Interactive, a leading provider of integrated mobile solutions located in Toronto.
  • Concluded a four-year agreement with Canadian Tire, which will add about $30 to $40 million in incremental revenues on an annual basis, starting in January 2012. This new agreement makes Transcontinental Canadian Tire’s leading provider of marketing solutions across Canada.
  • Launched our second Sustainability Report, based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Transcontinental Inc. was also ranked by the independent Canadian media corporation Corporate Knights as one of the Best 50 Corporate Citizens in 2011 for the fifth consecutive year and was included in the Maclean’s/Jantzi-Sustainalytics ranking of the 50 most socially responsible corporations in Canada, for the third year in a row.
  • Nominated Isabelle Marcoux as Chair of the Board, starting February 16, 2012, following the decision by the founder, Mr. Rémi Marcoux, to officially leave his position as Executive Chair of the Board at the next shareholders’ meeting. Mr. Marcoux will, however, remain a member of the Board.
  • Elected two new members to the Corporation’s Board of Directors, Ms. Nathalie Marcoux, Vice President, Finance of Capinabel Inc., and Ms. Anna Martini, F.C.A., President of Groupe Dynamite Inc.
  • Appointed Katya Laviolette as Corporate Vice President, Human Resources and Nelson Gentiletti as Chief Financial and Development Officer.

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