FP Newspapers Inc.
TSX : FP

FP Newspapers Inc.

November 14, 2013 20:24 ET

FP Newspapers Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2013 Results and November 2013 Dividend

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwired - Nov. 14, 2013) - FP Newspapers Inc. (TSX:FP) ("FPI") announces financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2013. 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").

Third quarter operating results of FPI

FPI reported net earnings of $0.9 million or $0.125 per share for the three months ended September 30, 2013, compared to net earnings of $1.0 million or $0.141 per share in the same period last year.

Second quarter operating results of FPLP

FPLP's revenue for the three months ended September 30, 2013 was $25.1 million, a decrease of $1.2 million or 4.5% from the same three months in the prior year. Advertising revenues for the three months ended September 30, 2013 were $16.5 million, a $1.0 million or 5.8% decrease compared to the same period last year. FPLP's largest advertising revenue category, display advertising including colour, was $10.3 million, a decrease of $0.8 million or 7.0% from the same period in the prior year, primarily due to decreased spending in the automotive, telecommunication and financial categories. Classified advertising revenues for the third quarter decreased by $0.2 million or 7.2% compared to the same period last year, primarily due to lower spending in the employment and automotive categories. Flyer distribution revenues for the quarter were unchanged compared to the three months ended September 30, 2012.

Circulation revenues for the three months ended September 30, 2013 were $6.5 million, a decrease of $0.3 million from the third quarter of 2012, with lower unit sales offsetting increased revenue from higher subscription rates. Commercial printing revenues for the third quarter remained at relatively the same level as compared to the three months ended September 30, 2012. Digital revenues for the third quarter increased by $0.1 million or 15.7%, primarily due to an increase in online web ads on the Winnipeg Free Press website and other digital offerings.

Operating expenses for the three months ended September 30, 2013 were $22.2 million, a decrease of $0.8 million or 3.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Employee compensation costs for the third quarter decreased by $0.2 million from the same period in the prior year, primarily due to fewer employees, partially offset by wage increases included in the collective agreements effective October 1, 2012 and an increase in the defined benefit pension plan expense. In the third quarter of 2012 a restructuring charge of $0.4 million was incurred relating to termination payments to employees. Newsprint expense for FPLP's own publications for the third quarter decreased by $0.1 million or 5.9% compared to the same period in the prior year, primarily due to lower volumes resulting from fewer circulation copies and a slightly lower average rate per metric tonne. Newsprint expense for commercial printing remained at relatively the same level as the third quarter of 2012. Delivery costs decreased by $0.1 million or 2.8% compared to the same quarter last year, primarily due to fewer home delivered circulation copies.

EBITDA(1) for the three months ended September 30, 2013 was $4.0 million compared to $4.3 million for the same period last year, a decrease of 8.3%. EBITDA(1) margin for the three months ending September 30, 2013 was 15.8%, compared to 16.4% in the same period last year.

FPLP's net earnings were $2.5 million for the three months ended September 30, 2013, compared to $2.9 million for the same period last year.

Finance costs were unchanged for the three months ended September 30, 2013 compared to the same period in the previous year.

Cash available for distribution attributable to FPI(2) was $0.5 million or $0.077 per share for the three months ended September 30, 2013, compared to $0.8 million or $0.118 per share for the same period last year.

Dividends

FPI declared dividends to shareholders of $1.0 million or $0.15 per share for the three months ended September 30, 2013, unchanged from the same period in 2012.

November 2013 Dividend

FPI today announced a cash dividend of $0.05 per share, payable on December 31, 2013 to shareholders of record at the close of business on November 29, 2013.

Outlook

Advertising revenue in the third quarter continued to run around 5% below prior year levels and early into the fourth quarter we continue to see decreased spending at roughly these same levels. Sales staff constantly searches for new revenue sources, and during October secured future commitments for new "post-it-note" delivery revenues of approximately $0.3 million.

Work continues on the upgrade of the Winnipeg plant's press conveyor system and the installation of the high speed inserting line. Both projects continue to be on schedule for completion prior to the end of the fourth quarter. The high speed inserting line investment of approximately $2.6 million, which will be financed over a five year period with an equipment lease, will generate expense savings resulting in a payback of less than two years.

In Steinbach work continues on the installation of UV ink dryers on two of our six press units. We are anticipating the completion of the installation during November 2013. This investment will allow our Derksen Printers business to bid on printing work that is broader than the traditional newsprint market we have served to date. We're optimistic that these additional capabilities, together with the hiring of a new General Sales Manager, will result in increased revenue growth at our Steinbach operation.

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, 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 13, 2013, 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 114,600 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 12,100 copies. Canstar Community News publishes weekly with an average circulation of approximately 200,000 copies. The businesses employ approximately 540 people in Winnipeg, Brandon, Steinbach and Carberry, Manitoba.

Conference Call

FPI invites you to participate in a conference call on Friday, November 15, 2013 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 866-226-1792. To ensure your participation, please dial in five minutes before the start of the conference call. To participate in the call, the required information is "FP Newspapers Inc." 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 November 29, 2013. To hear the replay, dial 905-694-9451 or dial toll free at 800-408-3053. The replay code is 9076644.

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 September 30, 2013 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 as a factor to determine whether to adjust its monthly dividends to Shareholders. FPLP's method of calculating distributable cash attributable to FPI is detailed in the Management's Discussion and Analysis for the quarter ended September 30, 2013 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 Nine Months
Ended September 30, Ended September 30,
2013 2012 2013 2012
Equity interest from FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership Class A limited partner units $ 1,234 $ 1,405 $ 4,767 $ 4,365
Administration expenses (58 ) (60 ) (191 ) (186 )
Other income - 1 1 4
Net earnings before income taxes 1,176 1,346 4,577 4,183
Current income tax (expense) (370 ) (481 ) (1,121 ) (3,361 )
Deferred income tax (expense) recovery 58 111 (119 ) 2,266
Net earnings for the period $ 864 $ 976 $ 3,337 $ 3,088
Items that will not be reclassified to net earnings:
Equity interest of other comprehensive gain (loss) from FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership
788

(224
)
805

(1,279
)
Deferred income tax recovery (expense) (213 ) 61 (218 ) 346
Comprehensive income for the period $ 1,439 $ 813 $ 3,924 $ 2,155
Weighted average number of Common Shares outstanding 6,902,592 6,902,592 6,902,592 6,902,592
Net earnings per share - basic and diluted $ 0.125 $ 0.141 $ 0.483 $ 0.447
FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership
Condensed Consolidated Income Statements and Statements of Comprehensive Income
(unaudited, in thousands of Canadian dollars)
Three Months Ended Nine Months Ended
September 30, September 30,
2013 2012 2013 2012
Revenue
Advertising $ 16,478 $ 17,487 $ 51,606 $ 54,385
Circulation 6,454 6,743 19,550 20,246
Commercial Printing 1,096 1,128 3,596 3,341
Digital 815 705 2,469 2,136
Promotion and services 287 256 961 1,236
TOTAL REVENUE 25,130 26,319 78,182 81,344
Operating expenses
Employee compensation 10,458 10,648 31,998 32,854
Newsprint and other paper 2,185 2,331 6,730 7,320
Delivery 4,049 4,165 12,167 12,638
Other 4,479 4,448 13,220 14,417
Depreciation and amortization 1,053 1,065 3,185 3,253
Restructuring charge - 412 - 502
OPERATING INCOME 2,906 3,250 10,882 10,360
Other income 34 48 116 141
Finance costs (420 ) (438 ) (1,269 ) (1,629 )
Gain (loss) on interest rate swap (1 ) 7 (1 ) 37
NET EARNINGS FOR THE PERIOD $ 2,519 $ 2,867 $ 9,728 $ 8,909
Items that may be reclassified subsequently to net earnings:
Unrealized gain on investment 12 8 40 32
Items that will not be reclassified to net earnings:
Remeasurements for defined benefit pension plan 1,609 (456 ) 1,643 (2,611 )
COMPREHENSIVE INCOME FOR THE PERIOD $ 4,140 $ 2,419 $ 11,411 $ 6,330

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