Benvest New Look Income Fund

Benvest New Look Income Fund

August 07, 2008 15:46 ET

Benvest New Look Income Fund Reports: Increase in Distribution as Revenues, EBITDA and Net Earnings Continue to Grow in the Second Quarter of 2008

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Aug. 7, 2008) - (TSX:BCI.UN) Revenues for the second quarter increased 15.8% compared to last year to a record $16.9 million while revenues from comparable store increased 12.4% compared to last year. EBITDA(1) for the second quarter increased by 11.9% or $320,000 compared to last year. Net earnings for the quarter reached $1.6 million, a 23.5% increase over the preceding year.

For the six-month period, revenues increased 11.4% to $32.2 million while EBITDA increased by 10.8% over last year to $5.7 million. Revenues from comparable stores rose 7.6% from last year during the same period. Net earnings increased to $2.8 million, a 13.5% increase compared to the previous year. Net earnings per unit, calculated on a diluted basis, were $0.27 for the six-month period compared to $0.25 for the corresponding period of last year.

Capital expenditures totaling $1.8 million in the six-month period were comprised of major renovations or relocation of six stores.

Considering this good performance and the sound financial position of the Fund, the Board of Trustees approved today an increase of the annualized distribution to unitholders of $0.025 per unit, bringing the annualized level of distributions to $0.65 per unit. The increased amount will be effective for the month of August 2008 which will be payable on September 19, 2008.

Martial Gagne, President of New Look Eyewear Inc., the operating subsidiary of Benvest New Look Income Fund, is pleased with the results and commented that : "The New Look team is constantly working on improving all the ingredients of its offer to consumers. These efforts are generating good results and confirm New Look's leadership position in the eye care industry".


(1) Refer to Note 1 in the attached table for a definition of EBITDA.

On May 1st, 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"). 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 July 31, 2008, 5,862,830 units of the Fund were issued and outstanding and listed for trading on the TSX. In addition, 3,870,404 exchangeable shares (on a consolidated basis) of New Look were 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.

Consolidated Statement of Earnings
For the quarter and the six months ended June 30, 2008

In thousands of dollars
Three months ended June 30 Six months ended June 30
2008 2007 2008 2007
$ $ $ $
Revenues from
eye care 16,884 14,583 32,190 28,892
Cost of materials,
direct labour,
operating, selling
and administrative
expenses 13,878 11,897 26,453 23,712
EBITDA(1) 3,006 2,686 5,737 5,180
Amortization 800 836 1,776 1,622
Financial expenses,
net of interest
revenues 139 159 297 314
compensation expense 34 5 67 5
973 1,000 2,140 1,941
Earnings before the
following items 2,033 1,686 3,597 3,239
Net gain (loss) on
foreign currency
translation 78 (15) 83
Expenses related to
former portfolio
investments (113) (113)
Earnings before
income taxes and
interest 2,033 1,651 3,582 3,209
Income taxes 461 376 769 729
Earnings before
interest 1,572 1,275 2,813 2,480
interest 9 9 18 18
Net earnings 1,563 1,266 2,795 2,462
Net earnings per unit
Basic 0.16 0.13 0.29 0.26
Diluted 0.15 0.13 0.27 0.25

(1) EBITDA refers to consolidated earnings before interest income and expenses, income taxes, and amortization. It excludes any gain or loss on foreign currency translation (except if related to cost of goods sold), expenses related to former portfolio investments, equity-based compensation, and non-controlling interest. EBITDA is not a recognized measure under Canadian generally accepted accounting principles and may not be comparable to similar measures used by other entities. The Fund believes that EBITDA is a useful financial metric as it assists in determining the ability to generate cash from operations.

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