Benvest New Look Income Fund

Benvest New Look Income Fund

August 10, 2006 13:03 ET

Benvest New Look Announces an 18% Increase in Revenues and a 41% Increase in EBITA for the Quarter Ended June 30, 2006

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Aug. 10, 2006) - Benvest New Look Income Fund (TSX:BCI.UN)

Revenues grew to $12.0 million, during the second quarter of 2006, an increase of 17.9% compared with last year. EBITDA(1), during the quarter, increased 41.4% to $1.6 million compared to last year. Comparable stores sales rose 9.6% in the second quarter compared to the corresponding period a year earlier, while new stores sales and other income increased total revenues by 8.3%.

For the six-month period ended June 30, revenues rose 14.4% to $23.8 million while EBITDA(1) increased 27.8% to $3.4 million compared with last year. Comparable stores sales were up 8.0 %, while new stores sales and other income increased total revenues by 6.4%.

Overall operating efficiency improved increasing EBITDA(1), expressed as a percentage of revenues, to 13.5% and 14.4% respectively in the second quarter and the six-month period, from 11.3% and 12.9% for the same periods of last year.

The overall result is that net earnings for the second quarter and the six-month period were $628,000 and $1.5 million respectively (or $0.064 and $0.151 per diluted unit), compared with $508,000 and $1.5 million (or $0.053 and $0.155) for the corresponding periods of last year. Last year included several major non-recurring items which positively affected net earnings. Earnings before the non-recurring items for the second quarter and the six-month period were $769,000 and $1.8 million respectively in 2006, compared with $634,000 and $1.6 million in 2005.

In the month of May 2006, the annualized distribution of the Fund was increased to $0.55 from $0.50 per unit, the second increase since the inception of the Fund in May 2005.

During the quarter, three new stores were opened: St-Romuald (South of Quebec City), Montreal (Galeries d'Anjou) and Ottawa (Merivale). The total number of stores at June 30, 2006 was 49 compared to 41 a year earlier. New Look intends to open 3 additional new stores by year-end and will complete 2 major renovations of existing stores during the second half of the year.

"We are satisfied with the initial results of our store expansion and improvement program and with the contributions of our 13 new or relocated stores opened over the past year. The new stores should continue to improve as we develop the optometric practices in these stores." stated Emmett Pearson, President & Chief Executive Officer of New Look Eyewear Inc.

(1) EBITDA refers to consolidated earnings before amortization, financial expenses, income trust expenses, gain and loss on foreign currency translation, income taxes and non-controlling interest. EBITDA is not a recognized measure under Canadian generally accepted accounting principles("GAAP") and may not be comparable to similar measures used by other companies.

On May 1, 2005, Benvest Capital Inc. was converted into an income trust named the Benvest New Look Income Fund, the purpose of which is to hold securities of New Look Eyewear Inc. ("New Look"), it's operating subsidiary. New Look is a leading enterprise in the eye care industry in Eastern Canada, with growth opportunities based on demographic trends and the consolidation of the industry in Canada. As of June 30, 2006, 5,496,395 units of the Fund were issued and outstanding and listed for trading on the TSX. In addition, 4,153,804 exchangeable shares of New Look are also issued and outstanding. These shares, which are not listed or freely tradable, have been exchangeable on a one-for-one basis into units of the Fund since May 1st, 2006.

This press release may contain certain forward-looking statements that reflect the current views and / or expectations of Benvest New Look Income Fund with respect to its performance, business, and future events. Such statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties, and assumptions. Actual results and events may vary.

Contact Information

  • Benvest New Look Income Fund
    Lise Melanson
    (514) 877-4299, ext. 2234.