Benvest New Look Income Fund
TSX : BCI.UN

Benvest New Look Income Fund

May 08, 2008 16:00 ET

Benvest New Look Income Fund Reports: Revenues, EBITDA and Net Earnings Continue to Improve in the First Quarter of 2008

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - May 8, 2008) - Benvest New Look Income Fund (TSX:BCI.UN) - Revenues for the first quarter of 2008 increased by 7.0% to $15.3 million compared to the corresponding quarter of last year. The comparable store performance improved by 2.7% compared to the first quarter of last year. EBITDA(1) for the quarter increased by 9.8% or $243,000 compared to last year. Expressed as a percentage of revenues, EBITDA grew to 17.8% from 17.4% despite an increase in fixed expenses related to the business expansion.

Net earnings were $1,232,000 (or $0.13 per unit) compared to $1,196,000 (or $0.12 per unit) in the corresponding quarter of 2007. The increase in EBITDA was offset by increases in non-cash expenses such as amortization and equity-based compensation expense. Management is satisfied with this result having regards to the Fund's rapid expansion and the comparable store performance.

Cash flows from operating activities increased to $2.6 million compared to $2.2 million in the first quarter of 2007. In accordance with the development plan, capital expenditures amounted to $745,000 comprised of store renovations and relocations, IT equipment and software.

Monthly distributions to unitholders were maintained at the annualized level of $0.625 per unit.

Martial Gagne, President of New Look Eyewear Inc., the operating subsidiary, commented that: "We are very satisfied with the first quarter's results. Increasing revenues, EBITDA and net earnings allow New Look to continue its expansion while maintaining its sound financial position".

SEE TABLE ATTACHED FOR ADDITIONAL FINANCIAL INFORMATION

(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 April 30th, 2008, 5,803,461 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.

For additional information please see our web site www.newlook.ca Investor Relations or www.benvest.com.



BENVEST NEW LOOK INCOME FUND
Unaudited Consolidated Statement of Earnings
For the quarter ended March 31, 2008

In thousands of dollars
------------------------------------------------------------------------
3 months ended 3 months ended
March 31, 2008 March 31, 2007
$ $
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Revenues from eye care 15,306 14,309

Cost of materials, direct labour,
operating, selling and administrative
expenses 12,575 11,821
------------------------------------------------------------------------

EBITDA (1) 2,731 2,488
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Amortization 976 786
Financial expenses, net of interest revenues 158 155
Equity-based compensation expense 33
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1,167 941
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Earnings before the following items 1,564 1,547

Net gain (loss) on foreign exchange and
expenses related to portfolio investments (15) 11
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Earnings before income taxes and
non-controlling interest 1,549 1,558

Income taxes 308 353
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Earnings before non-controlling interest 1,241 1,205

Non-controlling interest 9 9
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Net earnings 1,232 1,196
------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Net earnings per unit
Basic and diluted 0.13 0.12


(1) EBITDA refers to consolidated earnings before financial expenses, net of interest revenues, income taxes, and amortization. It excludes any gain or loss on foreign currency translation (except if related to cost of sales) and net gains and losses related to portfolio investments. EBITDA is not a recognized measure under Canadian generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) 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. Investors should be cautioned that EBITDA should not be construed as an alternative to net earnings or cash flows as determined under GAAP.

Contact Information

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