Benvest New Look Income Fund

Benvest New Look Income Fund

November 08, 2006 15:55 ET

Benvest New Look Reports a 18% Increase in Revenues and a 46% Increase in EBITDA for Quarter Ended September 30th, 2006

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 8, 2006) - Revenues grew to $13.2 million during the third quarter of 2006, an increase of 18.0% compared with last year. EBITDA(1) during the quarter increased 46.4% to $2.6 million compared with last year. Comparable stores sales rose 1.9% in the third quarter compared with last year, while new stores sales and other income increased total revenues by 16.1%.

For the nine-month period ended September 30th, revenues rose 15.7% to $37.1 million while EBITDA(1) increased 35.1% to $6.0 million compared with last year. Comparable stores sales were up 5.9%, while new stores sales and other income increased total revenues by 9.8%, compared with last year.

Overall operating efficiency improved, increasing EBITDA(1), expressed as a percentage of revenues, to 19.3% from 15.6% compared with the third quarter of last year and to 16.2% from 13.8% for the nine-month period compared with last year.

Net earnings for the second quarter and the nine-month period were $1.3 million and $2.7 million respectively (or $0.129 and $0.280 per diluted unit), compared with $554,000 and $2.0 million respectively (or $0.057 and $0.212) for the corresponding periods of last year. Net earnings increased by 128% for the third quarter and 34% for the nine-month period, compared with last year.

During the nine-month period, 6 new stores were opened: one in the Greater Quebec City, two in Ottawa and three in the Greater Montreal. The total number of stores at September 30th, 2006 was 50 compared to 43 a year earlier. New Look has opened two additional new stores since September 30th, 2006 and will complete major renovations of 2 existing stores by year-end.

In the month of October 2006, the annualized distribution of the Fund was increased to $0.60 from $0.55 per unit, the third increase since the inception of the Fund in May 2005.

"We are satisfied with the initial results of our 14 new or relocated stores over the past year. In addition we are benefiting from economies of scale which are, as a percentage of revenues, reducing administrative and distribution costs while increasing the profitability of our laboratory. The new stores should continue to improve as we develop the optometric practices in these stores." stated C. Emmett Pearson, President & Chief Executive Officer.

(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. The Fund believes it is a useful financial metric as it assists in determining the ability to generate cash from operations.

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 October 31st, 2006, 5,751,395 units of the Fund were issued and outstanding and listed for trading on the TSX. In addition, 3,898,804 exchangeable shares 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.

Contact Information

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