ST. LOUIS, May 12 -- Von Hoffmann Corporation, a leading North American educational and commercial printer, today announced results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2004.
Net sales for the first quarter of 2004 were $108.6 million, which represents an increase of 15.8% from $93.8 million in the prior year's quarter. Net loss for the first quarter of 2004 was $3.0 million compared to a net loss of $0.4 million for the first quarter of 2003. Adjusted earnings before income taxes, depreciation and amortization (adjusted EBITDA) were $17.0 million for the first quarter of 2004 compared to $15.5 million for the first quarter of 2003.
The first quarter of 2004 net sales include $16.5 million contributed by Lehigh Press's educational book components and digital premedia services businesses. The Company's net sales in the four-color elementary and high school (ELHI) and higher education markets experienced strong performance with 19% and 13% increases, respectively, in the first quarter. In addition, the Company's net sales in the four-color non-education market continued to show growth with a 60% increase in the first quarter of 2004. However, the one and two-color market segments, both educational and non-educational, demonstrated double-digit decreases in net sales of 23% and 24%, respectively. These segments were impacted by strong prior year sales with one-time catalog and ELHI projects as well as a reduction in computer market activity. The improvement in adjusted EBITDA in the current quarter was principally driven by the inclusion of Lehigh Press of $5.9 million along with an improvement in our four-color markets offset by the reduced one and two-color market activity.
Robert Mathews, President and Chief Executive Officer, noted, "The first quarter reflects a short-term improvement in the educational market as reflected at our book component and four-color facilities. Our targeted market strategy within our core educational product space and the four-color non-educational segments continue to confirm our sales direction. However, the Company continues to be challenged by a soft economy in the non- educational printing industry as demonstrated in the one and two-color market segments."
WhatTheyThink is the global printing industry's leading independent media organization with both print and digital offerings, including WhatTheyThink.com, PrintingNews.com and WhatTheyThink magazine versioned with a Printing News and Wide-Format & Signage edition. Our mission is to provide cogent news and analysis about trends, technologies, operations, and events in all the markets that comprise today’s printing and sign industries including commercial, in-plant, mailing, finishing, sign, display, textile, industrial, finishing, labels, packaging, marketing technology, software and workflow.