FP Newspapers Inc.
TSX : FP

FP Newspapers Inc.

August 14, 2015 20:11 ET

FP Newspapers Inc. Reports Second Quarter 2015 Results

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwired - Aug. 14, 2015) - FP Newspapers Inc. ("FPI") (TSX:FP) announces financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2015. FPI is the successor to the business of the FP Newspapers Income Fund and owns securities entitling it to 49% of the distributable cash of FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership ("FPLP").

Second quarter operating results of FPI

During the second quarter of 2015 FPI recorded a non-cash write-down of $18.6 million in the carrying value of its investment in FPLP due to lower than anticipated operating results. Excluding the non-cash write-down, FPI had net earnings of $0.9 million, or $0.137 per share, during the three months ended June 30, 2015, compared to net earnings of $1.1 million, or $0.166 per share in the same quarter last year. For reasons outlined in the outlook section of this report, effective August 14, 2015 the Board of Directors of FPI determined not to declare further dividends at this time.

Second quarter operating results of FPLP

FPLP's revenue for the three months ended June 30, 2015 was $23.5 million, a decrease of $2.3 million or 9.0% from the same three months in the prior year. FPLP's print advertising revenues for the three months ended June 30, 2015 were $14.6 million, a $2.1 million or 12.7% decrease compared to the same period last year. FPLP's largest advertising revenue category, display advertising including colour, was $8.7 million, a decrease of $1.3 million or 13.2% from the same period in the prior year, primarily due to decreased spending in the national automotive, telecommunications and department store categories. Classified advertising revenues for the second quarter decreased by $0.3 million or 11.5% compared to the same period last year, primarily due to decreased spending in real estate and employment categories. Flyer distribution revenues decreased by $0.5 million or 12.2% compared to the second quarter in 2014, primarily due to the closures of a few large retail customers.

Print circulation revenues for the three months ended June 30, 2015 were $6.3 million, a decrease of $ $0.2 million or 3.3% compared to the second quarter of 2014, with lower unit sales offsetting increased revenue from slightly higher subscription and single copy rates. Digital revenues for the second quarter increased by $0.1 million or 5.9%, primarily due to an increase in on-line web ads.

Operating expenses for the three months ended June 30, 2015 were $20.3 million, a decrease of $1.7 million or 7.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Employee compensation costs for the second quarter decreased by $0.9 million or 8.2% from the same period in the prior year, primarily due to a reduction in the number of employees. Newsprint expense for FPLP's own publications for the second quarter decreased by $0.3 million or 15.3% compared to the same period in the prior year, primarily due to lower volumes resulting from fewer circulation copies and a lower average cost per metric tonne. Newsprint expense for commercial printing for the three months ended June 30, 2015 decreased by $0.1 million or 25.8%, primarily due to a decrease in pages printed. Delivery costs decreased by $0.3 million or 7.9%, primarily resulting from lower circulation and flyer volumes and more efficient distribution methods.

During the three months ended June 30, 2015, as a result of greater than anticipated revenue declines due to economic factors including the uncertainty of the print advertising market and the rapidly evolving digital advertising market, FPLP recorded an impairment charge relating to its goodwill of $23.2 million. Excluding this impairment charge, FPLP's net earnings were $2.8 million for the three months ended June 30, 2015, compared to $3.3 million for the same period last year.

EBITDA(1), excluding the goodwill impairment charge, for the three months ended June 30, 2015 was $4.2 million compared to $4.9 million for the same period last year, a decrease of 13.7%. EBITDA(1) margin, excluding the goodwill impairment charge, for the three months ended June 30, 2015 was 17.9%, compared to 18.9% in the same period last year.

Distributable cash attributable to FPI(2) for the three months ended June 30, 2015 was $0.1 million or $0.014 per share, compared to $0.7 million or $0.105 per share for the same period last year.

Dividends

FPI declared dividends to Shareholders of $0.08 per share for the quarter, compared to $0.15 per share for the same quarter last year.

Outlook

Print advertising revenue year-over-year declines continued in the second quarter. Print revenue declines are being experienced at all other Canadian metro daily newspapers. We continue to focus efforts to keep the decline as small as possible while at the same time searching for other alternate profitable revenue sources both internally and externally. Careful management of costs and capital spending is also a big part of what we have been doing, and will continue to do, in light of the industry-wide revenue challenges. Shifting of advertising spending to digital platforms and the sluggish economy are realities all media companies are facing.

The Manitoba economy has historically been one of the more stable in Canada. While the province has not had significant growth, the large manufacturing presence allows Manitoba to more than offset the dramatic declines experienced in the oil and mining sectors. The Royal Bank of Canada's June Provincial outlook report predicts that growth in Manitoba will pick up in the second half of 2015 and continue to improve in 2016 with strong employment numbers forecasted to be a major contributing factor. In the third and fourth quarters we will see some incremental advertising from both the fall federal election and from Winnipeg hosting the 2015 Grey Cup. In the second half of the year the digital staff will continue to focus on improving the digital product offerings. Feedback from customers using the new sites will help to continually improve the overall reader experience.

Our pension actuaries have provided a draft valuation report as at December 31, 2014, which shows an increased funding deficiency using the solvency valuation method resulting from lower discount rates used to value the pension obligation. The estimated impact of this higher deficiency is an increase of approximately $1.4 million in FPLP's 2015 funding requirements over the 2014 level.

In response to the uncertainty regarding print revenues, FPI's Board of Directors on August 14, 2015, determined not to declare further dividends at this time. FPCN General Partner Inc., as managing general partner of FPLP, determined that FPLP will continue to make distributions required for income taxes of its limited and general partners and for administrative costs. The Board feels that at this time it is in the best interest of shareholders to have the continuing free cash generated by FPLP be available for increasing FPLP's long-term debt repayments, new strategic investments and/or restructuring initiatives which improve the returns generated by the businesses going forward. The Board will continue to evaluate the dividend policy on a quarterly basis.

Additional Information

Additional information including financial statements and management's discussion and analysis can be found on the Company's website at www.fpnewspapers.com or on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

Caution Regarding Forward-looking Statements

Certain statements in this news release may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements. These statements include but are not limited to statements regarding management's intent, belief or current expectations with respect to market and general economic conditions, future costs and operating performance. Generally, but not always, forward-looking statements will be indicated by words such as "may", "will", "intend", "anticipate", "expect", "believe", "plan", "is budgeting for" or similar terminology.

Forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of FPI or FPLP, or industry results, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to, the current general economic uncertainty, FPLP's ability to effectively manage growth and maintain its profitability, FPLP's ability to operate in a highly competitive industry, FPLP's ability to compete with other forms of media, FPLP's ability to attract advertisers, FPLP's reliance upon key personnel, FPLP's relatively high fixed costs, FPLP's dependence upon particular advertising customer segments, indebtedness incurred in making acquisitions, the availability of financing for capital improvements, the availability of an extension on refinancing of FPLP's term loan facilities, costs related to capital expenditures, cyclical and seasonal variations in FPLP's revenues, the risk of acts of terrorism, the cost of newsprint, the potential for labour disruptions, the risk of equipment failure, and the effect of Canadian tax laws. Additional information about these and other factors is discussed under "Risk Factors" in FPI's Annual Information Form dated March 11, 2015, which is available at www.sedar.com.

In addition, although the forward-looking statements contained in this news release are based upon assumptions that management of FPI and FPLP believe to be reasonable, such assumptions may prove to be incorrect.

Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof and, except as required by law, FPI and FPLP assume no obligation to update or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances. Because forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain, readers should not place undue reliance on them.

About FPI

FPI owns securities entitling it to 49% of the distributable cash of FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership ("FPLP"). FPLP owns the Winnipeg Free Press, the Brandon Sun, and their related businesses, as well as the Canstar Community News division, the publisher of six community newspapers in the Winnipeg region, The Carillon in Steinbach with its related commercial printing operations and the Carberry News Express weekly publication. The Winnipeg Free Press publishes six days a week for delivery to subscribers and single copy sales, serving Winnipeg and Manitoba with an average Monday through Saturday circulation of approximately 105,000 copies. On Sundays the Winnipeg Free Press publishes a newspaper sold through single-copy retail outlets and vending boxes. The Brandon Sun publishes six days a week, serving the region with an average circulation of approximately 11,050 copies. Canstar Community News publishes weekly with an average circulation of approximately 200,000 copies. The businesses employ approximately 510 full-time equivalent people in Winnipeg, Brandon, Steinbach and Carberry, Manitoba. Further information can be found at www.fpnewspapers.com and in disclosure documents filed by FP Newspapers Inc. with the securities regulatory authorities, available at www.sedar.com.

Conference Call

FPI invites you to participate in a conference call on Monday, August 17, 2015 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern (11:00 a.m. Central) to discuss the second quarter results.

The dial-in number is 416-340-2216, or dial toll free at 866-223-7781. To ensure your participation, please dial in five minutes before the start of the conference call. Management's presentation will be followed by a question and answer period.

For those unable to participate, the call will be available to listeners upon completion of the call until September 7, 2015. To hear the replay, dial 905-694-9451 or dial toll free at 800-408-3053. The replay code is 9359474.

Non-IFRS financial measures

(1) EBITDA

FPLP believes that in addition to net earnings as reported on FPLP's interim condensed consolidated statements of earnings, EBITDA is a useful supplemental measure as it is a measure used by many of FPLP's unitholders, creditors and analysts as a proxy for the amount of cash generated by FPLP's operating activities and is not a recognized measure of financial performance under IFRS. Investors are cautioned that EBITDA should not be construed as an alternative to net earnings determined in accordance with IFRS as an indicator of FPLP`s performance. FPLP's method of calculating EBITDA may differ from other issuers and, accordingly, EBITDA may not be comparable to measures used by other issuers. FPLP's method of calculating EBITDA is detailed in the Management's Discussion and Analysis for the quarter ended June 30, 2015 on FPI's website www.fpnewspapers.com or on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

(2) Distributable Cash Attributable to FPI

FPI believes that in addition to the disclosure of cash flow from operations, distributable cash attributable to FPI is an important supplemental measure of cash flow because it provides investors with an indication of the amount of cash available for distribution to Shareholders and because such calculations are required by the terms of the partnership agreement governing FPLP. Distributable cash attributable to FPI is not a defined term under IFRS, and it should not be construed as an alternative to using net earnings or the statements of cash flows as measures of profitability and cash flow. Readers are cautioned that distributable cash as calculated by FPI may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other issuers. FPI uses this measure in reviewing dividend levels. FPLP's method of calculating distributable cash attributable to FPI is detailed in the Management's Discussion and Analysis for the quarter ended June 30, 2015 on FPI's website www.fpnewspapers.com or on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

FP Newspapers Inc.
Condensed Statements of Earnings and Comprehensive Income
(unaudited, in thousands of Canadian dollars except per share amounts)

Three Months Ended
June 30,
Six Months Ended
June 30,
2015 2014 2015 2014
Equity interest from FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership Class A limited partner units $ 1,366 $ 1,637 $ 1,972 $ 2,446
Write-down of investment in FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership Class A limited partner units (18,600 ) - (18,600 ) -
Administration expenses (43 ) (58 ) (100 ) (118 )
Other income 1 1 1 1
Net (loss) earnings before income taxes (17,276 ) 1,580 (16,727 ) 2,329
Current income tax (expense) (378 ) (382 ) (553 ) (764 )
Deferred income tax (expense) recovery (1 ) (50 ) 24 128
Net (loss) earnings for the period $ (17,655 ) $ 1,148 $ (17,256 ) $ 1,693
Items that will not be reclassified to net earnings:
Equity interest of other comprehensive gain (loss) from FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership 374 (163 ) (4 ) (663 )
Deferred income tax (expense) recovery (101 ) 44 1 178
Comprehensive (loss) income for the period $ (17,382 ) $ 1,029 $ (17,259 ) $ 1,208
Weighted average number of Common Shares outstanding 6,902,592 6,902,592 6,902,592 6,902,592
Net (loss) earnings per share - basic and diluted $ (2.558 ) $ 0.166 $ (2.500 ) $ 0.245

FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership
Condensed Consolidated Income Statements and Statements of Comprehensive Income
(unaudited, in thousands of Canadian dollars)

Three Months Ended June 30, Six Months Ended June 30,
2015 2014 2015 2014
Revenue
Print advertising $ 14,617 $ 16,744 $ 27,543 $ 31,929
Print circulation 6,300 6,513 12,348 12,562
Commercial printing 1,276 1,351 2,418 2,591
Digital 1,035 977 1,962 1,761
Promotion and services 233 202 490 437
TOTAL REVENUE 23,461 25,787 44,761 49,280
Operating expenses
Employee compensation 9,592 10,453 19,245 20,797
Newsprint and other paper 1,892 2,269 3,621 4,371
Delivery of newspapers 3,784 4,109 7,280 7,967
Other 3,948 3,985 7,640 8,051
Depreciation and amortization 1,071 1,110 2,152 2,154
Restructuring charge 38 97 84 146
Operating income before impairment 3,136 3,764 4,739 5,794
Impairment of goodwill (23,200 ) - (23,200 ) -
OPERATING (LOSS) INCOME (20,064 ) 3,764 (18,461 ) 5,794
Other income 22 38 47 69
Finance costs (371 ) (462 ) (763 ) (871 )
Gain on interest rate swap - 1 - 1
NET (LOSS) EARNINGS FOR THE PERIOD $ (20,413 ) $ 3,341 $ (19,177 ) $ 4,993
Items that may be reclassified subsequently to net earnings:
Unrealized (loss) on investment - (5 ) - (5 )
Items that will not be reclassified to net earnings:
Remeasurements for defined benefit pension plan 764 (333 ) (9 ) (1,353 )
COMPREHENSIVE (LOSS) INCOME FOR THE PERIOD $ (19,649 ) $ 3,003 $ (19,186 ) $ 3,635

Contact Information

  • Daniel Koshowski, CFO
    FP Newspapers Inc.
    Phone (204) 697-7425
    Fax (204) 632-0281