SOURCE: Torstar Corporation

Torstar Corporation

November 04, 2015 06:30 ET

Torstar Corporation Reports Third Quarter Results

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - November 04, 2015) - Torstar Corporation (TSX: TS.B) today reported financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2015.

Highlights for the third quarter:

  • On July 28, 2015 Torstar closed its purchase of a 56% interest in VerticalScope, a vertically focused digital media company which operates across North America for $200 million. Subsequent to the end of the third quarter, Torstar received a $22.2 million distribution from VerticalScope, as anticipated at the time of the closing, reducing its original investment to approximately $178 million.
  • On September 15, 2015 the Toronto Star launched Star Touch, its innovative new tablet app.
  • Net loss from continuing operations was $164.8 million ($2.04 per share) in the third quarter of 2015, an increase in the loss of $77.8 million ($0.96 per share) from $87.0 million ($1.08 per share) in the third quarter of 2014. Net loss from continuing operations for the third quarter of 2015 included $147.8 million of non-cash impairment charges and $25.3 million of charges in respect of amortization and depreciation. Net loss from continuing operations for the third quarter of 2014 included $97.3 million of non-cash impairment charges and $7.8 million of charges in respect of amortization and depreciation.
  • Net loss attributable to equity shareholders was $164.3 million ($2.05 per share) in the third quarter of 2015 compared to net income attributable to equity shareholders of $125.3 million ($1.57 per share) in the third quarter of 2014. Net income attributable to equity shareholders in the third quarter of 2014 included a $224.6 million pre-tax gain on the sale of Harlequin.
  • Adjusted loss per share (see "Non-IFRS measures") was $0.13 in the third quarter of 2015, down $0.19 from the third quarter of 2014. Adjusted earnings per share included a $0.17 per share effect of additional amortization and depreciation of intangible assets associated with the investment in VerticalScope.
  • Third quarter 2015 segmented operating profit (see "Non-IFRS measures") decreased $74.2 million from the third quarter of 2014. Segmented operating profit in the third quarter of 2015 included an increase of $50.4 million in non-cash impairment charges as well as an increase of $17.5 million in amortization and depreciation, primarily associated with the investment in VerticalScope.
  • Segmented adjusted EBITDA (see "Non-IFRS measures") was $9.9 million in the third quarter of 2015, down $6.1 million (38.2%) from $16.0 million in the third quarter of 2014.
  • Segmented revenue (see "Non-IFRS measures") was $201.4 million in the third quarter of 2015, down $9.8 million (4.6%) from $211.2 million in the third quarter of 2014.
  • Ended the third quarter of 2015 with total cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash of $55.6 million. Subsequent to the end of the third quarter, Torstar received the $22.2 million distribution from VerticalScope and $7.1 million in digital media tax credits, net of expenses.
  • Subsequent to the end of the third quarter, Torstar's Board of Directors announced that it intends to reduce the dividend to 26 cents per share annually effective the first quarter of 2016.

"Results in the quarter were lower with segmented adjusted EBITDA down $6.1 million to $9.9 million due primarily to the impact of continued print advertising pressures and costs associated with the launch of Star Touch, the Toronto Star's innovative new tablet app. These results benefited from the inclusion of earnings from our investment in VerticalScope, which were nicely in line with our expectations," said David Holland, President and CEO of Torstar Corporation. "Given the continuing challenges in the operating environment and our recent commitment of capital to a high growth business opportunity in VerticalScope, we are also announcing our intention to reduce the dividend by approximately 50% from 52.5 cents per share annually to 26 cents per share annually, effective March 2016."

"We were very pleased by the steps taken in the quarter in evolving toward a more digitally oriented future. The July 28th closing of our investment in VerticalScope and the mid-September launch of Star Touch represent very important steps forward in the transformation of Torstar."

The following chart provides a continuity of earnings per share from the third quarter and first nine months of 2014 to the third quarter and first nine months of 2015:

     
     
  Third quarter Nine months ended
September 30
  Earnings Per Share Adjusted Earnings
Per Share
Earnings Per Share Adjusted Earnings
Per Share
Earnings (loss) per share from continuing operations attributable to equity shareholders in 2014 ($1.08 ) $0.06   ($0.88 ) $0.28  
Changes        
• Operations (0.08 ) (0.08 ) (0.19 ) (0.19 )
• Interest and financing costs 0.00   0.00   0.03   0.03  
• Associated businesses (0.11 ) (0.11 ) (0.10 ) (0.10 )
• Restructuring and other charges* (0.01 )   (0.13 )  
• Impairment of assets* (0.62 )   (0.62 )  
• Non-cash foreign exchange* 0.05     0.06    
• Other income (expense) * 0.00     0.02    
• Change in deferred taxes* (0.19 )   (0.25 )  
Earnings (loss) per share from continuing operations attributable to equity shareholders in 2015 ($2.04 ) ($0.13 ) ($2.06 ) $0.02  
Earnings (loss) per share from discontinued operations attributable to equity shareholders in 2015 ($0.01 )   ($0.05 )  
Earnings (loss) per share attributable to equity shareholders in 2015 ($2.05 ) ($0.13 ) ($2.11 ) $0.02  

* Items are excluded from definition of adjusted earnings per share, see "Non-IFRS measures"

OPERATING RESULTS -- THIRD QUARTER 2015
The following tables set out, in $000's, the segmented results for the three months ended September 30, 2015 and 2014.

 
Three months ended September 30, 2015
(in $000's) MMG SMG Digital Ventures Corporate Total
Segmented*
Adjustments
Eliminations1
Total Per
Consolidated Statement of Income
Operating revenue $106,694   $79,543   $15,137     $201,374   ($15,988 ) $185,386  
Salaries and benefits (51,019 ) (32,393 ) (4,954 ) ($1,752 ) (90,118 ) 5,725   (84,393 )
Other operating costs (46,580 ) (48,219 ) (5,866 ) (644 ) (101,309 ) 5,468   (95,841 )
Adjusted EBITDA** 9,095   (1,069 ) 4,317   (2,396 ) 9,947   (4,795 ) 5,152  
Amortization &
depreciation
(3,574 ) (3,419 ) (18,317 ) (11 ) (25,321 ) 18,030   (7,291 )
Operating earnings (loss)** 5,521   (4,488 ) (14,000 ) (2,407 ) (15,374 ) 13,235   (2,139 )
Restructuring and other charges (472 ) (3,731 )     (4,203 )   (4,203 )
Impairment of assets (135,367 ) (393 ) (12,000 )   (147,760 ) 12,000   (135,760 )
Operating profit (loss)** ($130,318 ) ($8,612 ) ($26,000 ) ($2,407 ) ($167,337 ) $25,235   ($142,102 )
Loss from continuing operations             ($164,834 )
Discontinued operations             ($400 )
Net loss             ($165,234 )
         
         
Three months ended September 30, 2014
(in $000's) MMG SMG Digital Ventures Corporate Total
Segmented*
Adjustments
Eliminations1
Total Per
Consolidated Statement of Income
Operating revenue $115,070   $87,259   $8,873     $211,202   ($11,277 ) $199,925  
Salaries and benefits (53,722 ) (31,724 ) (3,700 ) ($3,537 ) (92,683 ) 4,547   (88,136 )
Other operating costs (48,345 ) (48,376 ) (4,006 ) (1,815 ) (102,542 ) 4,568   (97,974 )
Adjusted EBITDA** 13,003   7,159   1,167   (5,352 ) 15,977   (2,162 ) 13,815  
Amortization &
depreciation
(3,512 ) (3,448 ) (852 ) (14 ) (7,826 ) 677   (7,149 )
Operating earnings (loss)** 9,491   3,711   315   (5,366 ) 8,151   (1,485 ) 6,666  
Restructuring and other charges (1,475 ) (2,431 ) (1 )   (3,907 ) 1   (3,906 )
Impairment of assets   (82,348 ) (15,000 )   (97,348 ) 15,000   (82,348 )
Operating profit (loss)** $8,016   ($81,068 ) ($14,686 ) ($5,366 ) ($93,104 ) $13,516   ($79,588 )
Loss from continuing operations             ($86,998 )
Net income from discontinued operations             $212,332  
Net income             $125,334  

1 Reflects eliminations of proportionate share of joint ventures and 56% interest in VerticalScope.
* Includes proportionately consolidated share of joint venture operations and VerticalScope.
** These are non-IFRS or additional IFRS measures, see "Non-IFRS measures."

Revenue
Segmented revenue was down $9.8 million or 4.6% in the third quarter. Revenue excluding the proportionate share of revenue from joint ventures and Torstar's 56% interest in VerticalScope ("operating revenue") was down $14.5 million or 7.3%. The decline in segmented revenue, which included the impact of $5.8 million of revenue associated with the investment in VerticalScope on July 28, 2015, was largely due to print advertising revenue declines, which continued to be under pressure in the third quarter, combined with continued declines in flyer distribution revenues. Multi-platform subscriber revenues were down 1.9% in the third quarter of 2015.

At the Star Media Group, print advertising revenue declines in the third quarter reflected some moderation in the rate of decline relative to the year to date trend at the Toronto Star and resulted from a moderation in the rate of decline in retail advertising combined with an acceleration in the rate of decline in national advertising. Metro's revenues were down in the third quarter reflecting continued pressure on national advertising partially offset by modest growth in regional revenues in markets outside Ontario.

At Metroland Media Group, the decline in print advertising revenues in the third quarter reflected a modest improvement over the year to date trend reflecting a slight moderation in the rate of decline in national advertising revenues relative to the year to date trend. In addition, flyer distribution revenues continued to decline largely as a result of closures of a few large retail customers. The trend in the third quarter moderated slightly reflecting the impact of price increases.

The increase in revenue in the Digital Ventures segment for the third quarter of 2015 was primarily the result of the inclusion of revenues resulting from the investment in VerticalScope on July 28, 2015 but also reflects growth in revenue at eyeReturn in the third quarter of 2015 relative to the comparable period of 2014, partially offset by lower revenues from Workopolis.

Digital revenue across all segments increased 22.8%2 in the third quarter of 2015, largely resulting from the investment in VerticalScope on July 28, 2015. Digital revenues for the third quarter also reflect lower revenues at Workopolis and Save.ca offset by continued growth at eyeReturn, the Metroland local community websites and digital services. Digital revenues were 16.1% of total segment revenues in the third quarter of 2015 compared to 12.5% in the third quarter of 2014.

Salaries and benefits
Segmented salaries and benefits costs were down $2.6 million or 2.8% in the third quarter of 2015. This decrease reflects the benefit of $4.5 million in savings from restructuring initiatives and a $1.1 million digital media tax credit, as this represents recoveries of previously incurred salary and benefits costs; partially offset by the impact of the inclusion of the 56% investment in VerticalScope after July 28, 2015 as well as increased staffing costs associated with the launch of Star Touch on September 15, 2015 and general wage increases.

Other operating costs
Other operating costs primarily consist of circulation/flyer distribution costs, production costs and newsprint costs which represented 38.3%, 27.0% and 14.7% respectively of segmented other operating costs for the third quarter. Segmented other operating costs were down $1.2 million or 1.2% in the third quarter of 2015 largely as a result of lower circulation/flyer distribution costs, lower newsprint consumption and price, and other cost reductions. Other operating costs for the third quarter of 2015 also reflect lower Corporate consulting costs relative to the third quarter of 2014. These cost reductions were partially offset by the inclusion of VerticalScope's costs from July 29, 2015 to September 30, 2015.

Adjusted EBITDA
Segmented adjusted EBITDA was $9.9 million in the third quarter of 2015, down $6.1 million from the third quarter of 2014. This decrease reflects the above noted revenue declines and additional costs associated with Star Touch and were only partially offset by the impact of cost reductions and the investment in VerticalScope on July 28, 2015. Adjusted EBITDA in the third quarter of 2015 also included the benefit of $1.1 million in digital media tax credits.

Profitability of the digital properties was higher in the third quarter of 2015 largely as a result of the inclusion of the investment in VerticalScope from July 29, 2015 through September 30, 2015 as well as improvement in the performance of the digital properties in the Star Media Group and Metroland Media Group.

Amortization and depreciation
Total segmented amortization and depreciation increased $17.5 million in the third quarter of 2015. The increase in the third quarter was primarily the result of $14.8 million of amortization of fair value adjustments on the investment in VerticalScope.

Operating earnings
Segmented operating earnings in the third quarter of 2015 were down $23.6 million from $8.2 million in the third quarter of 2014. This decrease primarily reflects the above noted revenue declines and increased amortization and depreciation which were only partially offset by the impact of cost reductions.

Restructuring and other charges
Total segmented restructuring and other charges were $4.2 million in the third quarter of 2015 and $3.9 million in the comparable period of 2014. These charges largely related to ongoing efforts to reduce costs as well as a charge related to Metroland Media Group's decision to phase out product sales. Restructuring charges through the end of the third quarter of 2015 reflect a reduction of approximately 309 positions which are expected to result in annualized net labour savings of $23.6 million. Of the annualized savings anticipated as a result of the initiatives undertaken through the first nine months of 2015, $9.3 million of the savings are expected to be realized in 2015 (including $4.7 million in the first nine months) and $14.3 million in 2016.

Impairment of assets
During the third quarter of 2015, Torstar incurred charges related to asset impairment of property, plant and equipment, intangible assets, goodwill and investments in joint ventures totalling $147.8 million. During the third quarter of 2014, Torstar incurred charges related to asset impairment of property, plant and equipment, goodwill and investments in joint ventures totalling $97.3 million. These charges have no impact on cash flows.

During the third quarters of 2015 and 2014, Torstar conducted impairment tests on the carrying value of intangible assets with a finite useful life, intangible assets with an indefinite useful life and goodwill. In carrying out this testing during the third quarter of 2015, it was determined that the carrying amount of goodwill in the Metroland Media Group of CGUs exceeded the value in use and Torstar recorded an impairment charge of $135.0 million for goodwill and a charge of $0.4 million for intangible assets in the Metroland Media Group of CGUs. This impairment was the result of lower revenue projections reflecting current economic conditions coupled with lower forecasted longer term revenues reflecting continued shifts in spending by advertisers from print advertising to digital advertising. Torstar also recorded a $12.0 million impairment charge in respect of its joint venture investment in Workopolis during the third quarter of 2015 resulting from lower forecasted revenues attributable to continued increases in competition in the online recruitment and job search markets as well as prevailing economic conditions.

In carrying out this testing during the third quarter of 2014, it was determined that the carrying amount of goodwill in the Star Media Group of CGUs exceeded the value in use and Torstar recorded an impairment charge of $82.0 million for goodwill in the Star Media Group of CGUs. This impairment was the result of lower forecasted revenues reflecting continued shifts in spending by advertisers. Torstar also recorded a $15.0 million impairment charge in respect of its joint venture investment in Workopolis during the third quarter of 2014 resulting from lower forecasted revenues attributable to an increase in competition in the online recruitment and job search markets and prevailing economic conditions.

Operating profit (loss)
Segmented operating loss increased $74.2 million in the third quarter of 2015. Operating loss excluding the proportionate share from joint ventures and Torstar's 56% interest in VerticalScope ("operating profit (loss)") was up $62.5 million in the third quarter of 2015. This increase primarily reflects increased depreciation and amortization expense related to the investment in VerticalScope and increased non-cash impairment charges relative to the comparable period in 2014.

Interest and financing costs
Interest and financing costs were $0.7 million in the third quarter of 2015, up $0.1 million from the third quarter of 2014. The higher interest and financing costs in the third quarter of 2015 reflect a $0.9 million decrease in interest on debt, as all amounts outstanding under the previous debt facilities were repaid during the third quarter of 2014 using proceeds from the sale of Harlequin. These decreases were partially offset by a $0.6 million increase in financing costs related to employee benefit plans and a decrease of $0.2 million in interest earned on cash and cash equivalents.

Income (loss) from joint ventures
Loss from joint ventures was $11.6 million in the third quarter of 2015 and $13.7 million in the third quarter of 2014. These losses primarily reflect impairment charges of $12.0 million recorded in the third quarter of 2015 and $15.0 million recorded in the third quarter of 2014 related to Torstar's joint venture investment in Workopolis, as discussed above.

Income (loss) from associated businesses
Loss from associated businesses was $11.8 million in the third quarter of 2015 and $0.3 million in the third quarter of 2014. The 2015 third quarter included income of $0.5 million from Black Press offset by a loss of $1.1 million from Shop.ca, a loss of $0.9 million from Blue Ant and a loss of $10.3 million from VerticalScope. The third quarter loss from VerticalScope included $14.8 million of amortization of fair value adjustments on the acquisition of the investment in VerticalScope. The third quarter of 2014 included income of $1.1 million from Black Press and $0.1 million from Tuango offset by a loss of $0.8 million from Blue Ant and a loss of $0.7 million from Shop.ca.

Income and other taxes
Torstar recorded a tax recovery of $1.2 million in the third quarter of 2015. This compares to income tax recoveries of $14.4 million in the third quarter of 2014. The tax recoveries in the third quarter of 2014 were primarily attributable to a deferred tax benefit associated with the recognition of certain previously unrecognized loss carryforwards and certain tax and accounting base differences in connection with the sale of Harlequin.

Net loss from continuing operations
Net loss from continuing operations was $164.8 million ($2.04 per share) in the third quarter of 2015, an increase of $77.8 million ($0.96 per share) from a loss of $87.0 million ($1.08 per share) in the third quarter of 2014. Net loss from continuing operations for the third quarter of 2015 included $147.8 million of non-cash impairment charges and $25.3 million of charges in respect of amortization and depreciation. Net loss from continuing operations for the third quarter of 2014 included $97.3 million of non-cash impairment charges and $7.8 million of charges in respect of amortization and depreciation.

Income (loss) from discontinued operations
On August 1, 2014 Torstar sold all of the shares of Harlequin to a division of HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C., a subsidiary of News Corp., for a purchase price of $455.0 million, subject to certain adjustments for working capital and other related items. Effective the second quarter of 2014, Harlequin was reclassified as Assets Held for Sale and Discontinued Operations. Upon the closing of the sale in the third quarter of 2014, the net assets of Harlequin were no longer included in Assets Held for Sale. In connection with the sale of Harlequin, Torstar indemnified the Purchaser for costs and fees related to certain matters including certain tax and pre-existing litigation matters and estimated the exposure under these indemnities and recorded a contingent liability in respect of these matters. The loss from discontinued operations of $0.4 million for the third quarter of 2015 relates to revised estimates in respect of insurance reserves. Net income from discontinued operations was $212.3 million in the third quarter of 2014, reflecting Harlequin's net income as well as the gain on sale.

Net income (loss) attributable to equity shareholders
Net loss attributable to equity shareholders was $164.3 million ($2.05 per share) in the third quarter of 2015 compared to net income attributable to equity shareholders of $125.3 million ($1.57 per share) in the third quarter of 2014. Net income attributable to equity shareholders in the third quarter of 2014 included a $224.6 million pre-tax gain on the sale of Harlequin.

OUTLOOK
Through the third quarter and first nine months of 2015, Metroland Media Group and Star Media Group continued to face challenges as a result of continued shifts in spending by advertisers. Indications are that the revenue trends experienced at Star Media Group and Metroland Media Group in the third quarter of 2015 have continued early into the fourth quarter with print advertising revenues likely to continue to be under pressure. Torstar expects that flyer distribution revenues in the balance of the year will continue to be negatively affected by closures of a few large retail customers, partially offset by the benefit of price increases. The modest decline in subscriber revenues experienced in the first nine months of 2015 is also expected to continue through the end of 2015. Within the Digital Ventures segment, the trends in revenue growth at VerticalScope and eyeReturn experienced in the third quarter have continued early into the fourth quarter and are expected to continue for the balance of the year.

Across Torstar, cost reduction will remain an important area of focus and Metroland Media Group and Star Media Group are anticipated to realize $5.2 million of savings in the balance of 2015 from restructuring initiatives undertaken through the end of the third quarter of 2015 ($3.7 million in Metroland Media Group and $1.5 million in the Star Media Group). Star Media Group has recognized the benefit of $7.1 million in digital media tax credits in the first nine months of 2015, and does not currently anticipate recognizing the benefit of any further digital media tax credits in the fourth quarter.

The Toronto Star launched its new tablet offering, Star Touch, on September 15, 2015. Presently it is expected that the net investment related to Star Touch in 2015 to be within the range of $11 to $12 million on a pre-tax basis ($5.5 million on a pre-tax basis for the first nine months of 2015), including significant marketing costs associated with the launch. Excluding Star Touch, net investment spending associated with other growth initiatives in the balance of 2015 is currently expected to be somewhat lower than 2014 levels.

Capital expenditures for 2015 continue to be forecasted in the order of $35 million, including approximately $13 million in respect of Star Touch.

Looking forward, in 2016, the net investment related to Star Touch is estimated to fall to approximately $7 to $8 million. Also, expenses related to Torstar's registered defined benefit pension plans are currently expected to decrease by approximately $2.5 million in 2016. From a cash flow perspective, in 2016, Torstar anticipates the required funding of its registered defined benefit pension plans to remain at approximately $18 million, which is approximately $3 million in excess of the amount expected to be expensed in the statement of income in 2016. Capital expenditures in 2016 are currently anticipated to be between $16 million and $18 million.

Subsequent to the end of the third quarter, Torstar's Board of Directors announced that it intends to reduce the dividend to 26 cents per share annually effective the first quarter of 2016.

2 The paywall at the Toronto Star was eliminated effective April 1, 2015. Revenues associated with the paywall were not material and were excluded from both the current and prior periods for comparison purposes in the discussions of digital and multi-platform subscriber revenues.

DIVIDEND
On November 3, 2015, Torstar declared a quarterly dividend of 13.125 cents per share on its Class A shares and Class B non-voting shares, payable on December 31, 2015, to shareholders of record at the close of business on December 11, 2015. Torstar advises that, for the purposes of the Income Tax Act, Canada and for any relevant provincial tax legislation, this dividend is designated as an eligible dividend.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
For additional information, please refer to Torstar's condensed consolidated financial statements for the period ended September 30, 2015 and the Interim Management's Discussion and Analysis ("MD&A"). Both documents will be filed today on SEDAR and are available on Torstar's corporate website www.torstar.com.

CONFERENCE CALL
Torstar has scheduled a conference call for November 4, 2015 at 8:15 a.m. to discuss its third quarter results. The dial-in number is (416) 340-8527 or 1-800-355-4959. A live broadcast of the conference call will be available over the internet on the Presentations, Events and Conference Calls page (Investor Relations) on Torstar's website www.torstar.com. A recording of the conference call will be available for 9 days at (905) 694-9451 or 1-800-408-3053 reservation number 8478824. An online archive of the broadcast will be available shortly after the completion of the call and will be accessible by visiting the Presentations, Events and Conference Calls (Investor Relations) page on Torstar's website www.torstar.com.

About Torstar Corporation
Torstar Corporation is a broadly based media company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TS.B). Its businesses include the Star Media Group led by the Toronto Star, Canada's largest daily newspaper and Free Daily News Group Inc., which publishes the English-language Metro newspapers in several Canadian cities; Metroland Media Group, publisher of community and daily newspapers in Ontario; and also include digital properties including thestar.com, Star Touch, Workopolis, wagjag.com, toronto.com, save.ca, Olive Media and eyeReturn Marketing Inc. It also holds an interest in VerticalScope, a North American vertically-focused digital media company.

Non-IFRS measures
In addition to operating profit, an additional IFRS measure, as presented in the consolidated statement of income, management uses segmented revenue, adjusted EBITDA ("EBITDA") (and where applicable segmented adjusted EBITDA), operating earnings (and where applicable segmented operating earnings), and adjusted earnings per share as measures to assess the consolidated performance and the performance of the reporting units and business segments. Please refer to Section 11 of Torstar's MD&A for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2015 for a reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA and Operating earnings (and Segmented adjusted EBITDA/Segmented Operating earnings -- as applicable) with Operating profit (Segmented Operating profit -- as applicable) and adjusted earnings per share to earnings per share.

Segmented revenue
Segmented revenue is calculated in the same manner as operating revenue in the Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements, except that it is calculated using total segment results which includes Torstar's proportionately consolidated share of revenues from joint ventures and Torstar's 56% interest in VerticalScope. Management of each segment is accountable for the revenues, including the proportionately consolidated share of revenues from joint venture operations. Management believes that segmented revenue is a useful measure for investors as it is a measure of the revenues for which management of each segment is accountable. The intent of segmented revenue is to provide additional useful information to investors, analysts and readers of Torstar's financial statements. The measure does not have any standardized meaning under IFRS and accordingly may not be comparable to measures used by other companies.

Adjusted EBITDA (Segmented Adjusted EBITDA)
Management believes that adjusted EBITDA is an important proxy for the amount of cash generated by Torstar's ongoing operations (or by a reporting unit or business segment) to generate liquidity to fund future capital needs and management uses this metric for this purpose. Adjusted EBITDA is not the actual cash provided by operating activities and is not a recognized measure of financial performance under IFRS. Torstar calculates adjusted EBITDA as operating revenue, less salaries and benefits and other operating costs, as presented on the consolidated statement of income, and excludes restructuring and other charges and impairment of assets. Restructuring and other charges and impairment of assets are eliminated as these activities are not related to ongoing operations as of the end of the period. The exclusion of impairment of assets also eliminates the non-cash impact. Adjusted EBITDA is also used by investors and analysts for valuation purposes. The intent of adjusted EBITDA is to provide additional useful information to investors, analysts and readers of Torstar's financial statements. The measure does not have any standardized meaning under IFRS and accordingly may not be comparable to measures used by other companies (including calculating EBITDA on an adjusted basis to exclude restructuring and other charges and impairment of assets). Segmented adjusted EBITDA is calculated in the same manner described above, except that it is calculated using total segment results including proportionately consolidated results for joint ventures and Torstar's 56% interest in VerticalScope for which management is accountable.

Operating earnings/Segmented operating earnings
Operating earnings is used by management to represent the results of ongoing operations inclusive of amortization and depreciation. Management uses operating earnings as a measure of the amount of income generated by Torstar's ongoing operations (or by a reporting unit or business segment) after giving effect to amortization and depreciation. Management believes this metric is also useful for investors for this purpose. Torstar calculates operating earnings as operating revenue less salaries and benefits and other operating costs and amortization and depreciation. Operating earnings excludes restructuring and other charges and impairment of assets. Restructuring and other charges and impairment of assets are eliminated as these activities are not related to ongoing operations as of the end of the period. Torstar's method of calculating operating earnings (including calculating operating earnings on an adjusted basis to exclude restructuring and other charges and impairment of assets) may differ from other companies and accordingly may not be comparable to measures used by other companies. The intent of operating earnings is to provide additional useful information to investors, analysts and readers of Torstar's financial statements. The measure does not have any standardized meaning under IFRS, is not a recognized measure of financial performance under IFRS, and accordingly may not be comparable to measures used by other companies. Segmented operating earnings is calculated in the same manner described above, except that it is calculated using total segment results including proportionately consolidated operating earnings for joint ventures and Torstar's 56% interest in VerticalScope for which management is accountable.

Adjusted earnings per share
Adjusted earnings per share is used by management to represent the per share earnings of results of Torstar's ongoing operations (or by a reporting unit or business segment) and is not a recognized measure of financial performance under IFRS. Management believes this metric is also useful for investors for this purpose. Torstar calculates adjusted earnings per share as earnings per share from continuing operations less the per share effect of restructuring and other charges, impairment of assets, non-cash foreign exchange, other income (expense) and change in deferred taxes. Restructuring and other charges and impairment of assets are eliminated as these activities are not related to ongoing operations as of the end of the period. Non-cash foreign exchange, other income (expense) and changes in deferred taxes are eliminated as these are not related to ongoing operating activities. The intent of presenting adjusted earnings per share is to provide additional useful information to investors, analysts and readers of Torstar's financial statements. Torstar's method of calculating adjusted earnings per share may differ from other companies and accordingly may not be comparable to measures used by other companies. The measure does not have any standardized meaning under IFRS, is not a recognized measure of financial performance under IFRS, and accordingly may not be comparable to measures used by other companies.

Operating profit/Segmented operating profit
Operating profit is an additional IFRS measure. Management uses operating profit to measure the results of operations inclusive of impairments and restructuring and other charges. Operating profit appears in Torstar's consolidated statement of income. Management believes that operating profit provides additional useful information to investors, analysts and readers of Torstar's financial statements. The measure does not have any standardized meaning under IFRS and accordingly may not be comparable to measures used by other companies. Torstar's method of calculating operating profit may differ from other companies and accordingly may not be comparable to measures used by other companies. Segmented operating profit is calculated in the same manner described above, except that it is calculated using total segment results including proportionately consolidated results for joint ventures and Torstar's 56% interest in VerticalScope for which management is accountable.

Forward-looking statements
Certain statements in this press release and in Torstar's oral and written public communications may constitute forward-looking statements that reflect management's expectations regarding Torstar's future growth, financial performance and business prospects and opportunities as of the date of this press release. Generally, these forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "anticipate", "believe", "plan", "forecast", "expect", "estimate", "intend", "would", "could", "if", "may" and similar expressions.

This press release includes, among others, forward-looking statements regarding Torstar's estimates regarding contingent liabilities, expected savings including net savings from restructuring initiatives, the outlook for the balance of 2015, including anticipated revenue trends and operating costs and expected costs related to Star Touch, expected pension plan obligations and expenses, Torstar's expected capital expenditures and investment spending associated with other growth initiatives, expectations described in connection with the impairment of assets and anticipated future dividend payments and digital media tax credits. All such statements are made pursuant to the "safe harbour" provisions of applicable Canadian securities legislation. These statements reflect current expectations of management regarding future events and operating performance, and speak only as of the date of this release. In addition, forward-looking statements are provided for the purpose of providing information about management's current expectations and plans relating to the future. Readers are cautioned that reliance on such information may not be appropriate for other purposes.

By their very nature, forward-looking statements require management to make assumptions and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties. There is a significant risk that predictions, forecasts, conclusions or projections will not prove to be accurate, that management's assumptions may not be accurate and that actual results, performance or achievements may differ significantly from such predictions, forecasts, conclusions or projections expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. We caution readers not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements in this press release as a number of factors could cause actual future results, conditions, actions or events to differ materially from the targets, outlooks, expectations, goals, estimates or intentions expressed in the forward-looking statements.

These factors include, but are not limited to: Torstar's ability to operate in highly competitive industries; Torstar's ability to compete with digital media, other newspapers and other forms of media; Torstar's ability to respond to the shift to digital media and the shift by advertisers to other digital platforms; Torstar's ability to attract, grow and retain its digital audience and profitably develop its digital platforms; Torstar's ability to attract and retain advertisers; Torstar's ability to maintain adequate circulation/subscription levels; Torstar's ability to attract and retain readers; Torstar's ability to integrate the technology associated with new digital platforms, including the Star Touch; general economic conditions and customer prospects in the principal markets in which Torstar operates; Torstar's ability to reduce costs; loss of reputation; dependence on third party suppliers and service providers; reliance on technology and information systems; Torstar's ability to execute appropriate strategic growth initiatives; unexpected costs or liabilities related to acquisitions and dispositions; changes in employee future benefit obligations; labour disruptions; newsprint costs; reliance on its printing operations; litigation; privacy, anti-spam, communications, e-commerce and environmental laws, health and safety regulations and other laws and regulations applicable generally to Torstar's businesses; availability of insurance; dependence on key personnel; intellectual property rights; credit risk; product revenue and product liability; changes in deposit interest rates; foreign exchange fluctuations and foreign operations; income tax and other taxes; results of impairment tests and uncertainties associated with critical accounting estimates; and control of the Company by the Voting Trust. Effective July 28, 2015, Torstar's business now includes Torstar's 56% interest in VerticalScope. Accordingly the risks outlined above and in Torstar's Annual MD&A also apply to Torstar's investment in VerticalScope. In addition, Torstar has identified the following additional risk factors which apply more uniquely to VerticalScope including: VerticalScope's ability to compete with other digital media and other forms of media; VerticalScope's ability to attract, grow and retain its digital audience and profitably develop its digital platforms; VerticalScope's ability to attract, grow and retain advertisers; VerticalScope's ability to execute appropriate growth initiatives; VerticalScope's ability to integrate new verticals and acquisitions; and restrictions imposed by VerticalScope's credit facilities, including restrictions on certain distributions, compliance with certain financial covenants and compliance with other affirmative and negative covenants.

Torstar cautions that the foregoing list is not exhaustive of all possible factors, as other factors could adversely affect our results.

In addition, a number of assumptions, including those assumptions specifically identified throughout this press release, were applied in making the forward-looking statements set forth in this press release. Some of the key assumptions include, without limitation, assumptions regarding the performance of the North American economies; tax laws; continued availability of printing operations; availability of financing on appropriate terms; exchange rates; market competition; rates of return and discount rates relating to pension expense and pension plan obligations; expected future revenues; availability of appropriate opportunities for VerticalScope to grow its business; expected future liabilities; expected future cash flows and discount rates relating to valuation of goodwill and intangible assets; and successful development and launch of new products. There is a risk that some or all of these assumptions may prove to be incorrect. Decisions on declaration and payment of dividends are made on a quarterly basis by the Board of Directors. There is no assurance regarding the amount and timing of future dividends.

When relying on our forward-looking statements to make decisions with respect to Torstar and its securities, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and potential events. Torstar does not intend, and disclaims any obligation to, update any forward-looking statements, whether written or oral, or whether as a result of new information or otherwise, except as may be required by law.

For more information, please see the discussion of risks affecting Torstar and its businesses in Torstar's 2014 Management's Discussion & Analysis which has been filed on www.sedar.com and is available on Torstar's corporate website www.torstar.com.

Torstar's news releases are available on the Internet at www.torstar.com.

   
   
Torstar Corporation  
Consolidated Statement of Financial Position  
(Thousands of Canadian Dollars)
(Unaudited)
 
  As at
September 30, 2015
 As at
December 31, 2014
 
 Assets       
  Current:       
  Cash and cash equivalents $15,136  $251,339  
  Restricted cash 40,465  16,150  
  Receivables 134,370  162,843  
  Inventories 6,937  9,309  
  Prepaid expenses 8,894  6,645  
  Prepaid and recoverable income taxes 7,130  2,044  
  Total current assets 212,932  448,330  
 Restricted cash    22,750  
 Investments in joint ventures 37,310  54,531  
 Investments in associated businesses 238,849  39,960  
 Property, plant and equipment 118,067  125,057  
 Intangible assets 77,222  61,610  
 Goodwill 209,457  344,417  
 Other assets 11,834  9,497  
 Employee benefits 5,802  9,243  
 Deferred income tax assets 27,862  28,126  
 Total assets $939,335  $1,143,521  
 Liabilities and Equity       
  Current:       
  Accounts payable and accrued liabilities $109,169  $115,717  
  Derivative financial instruments 3,537     
  Provisions 25,915  22,583  
  Income tax payable 6,622  11,708  
  Total current liabilities 145,243  150,008  
 Provisions 15,328  16,774  
 Other liabilities 11,573  9,996  
 Employee benefits 88,200  85,315  
 Deferred income tax liabilities 10,444  11,708  
 Equity:       
  Share capital 402,322  400,577  
  Contributed surplus 19,530  18,708  
  Retained earnings 243,444  447,725  
  Accumulated other comprehensive income 1,737  21  
  Total equity attributable to equity shareholders 667,033  867,031  
  Minority interests 1,514  2,689  
 Total equity 668,547  869,720  
 Total liabilities and equity $939,335  $1,143,521  
     
     
Torstar Corporation
Consolidated Statement of Income
(Thousands of Canadian Dollars except per share amounts)
(Unaudited)
  Three Months Ended
 September 30
Nine Months Ended
 September 30
  2015 2014 2015 2014
         
 Operating revenue $185,386   $199,925   $572,882   $624,700  
          
 Salaries and benefits (84,393 ) (88,136 ) (254,318 ) (269,745 )
 Other operating costs (95,841 ) (97,974 ) (285,336 ) (299,339 )
 Amortization and depreciation (7,291 ) (7,149 ) (20,868 ) (23,593 )
 Restructuring and other charges (4,203 ) (3,906 ) (23,568 ) (11,776 )
 Impairment of assets (135,760 ) (82,348 ) (135,760 ) (82,872 )
 Operating profit (loss) (142,102 ) (79,588 ) (146,968 ) (62,625 )
 Interest and financing costs (685 ) (615 ) (972 ) (4,953 )
 Foreign exchange 98   (7,247 ) 460   (7,860 )
 Loss from joint ventures (11,573 ) (13,695 ) (9,721 ) (10,599 )
 Loss from associated businesses (11,772 ) (346 ) (11,083 ) (925 )
 Other income (expense)   93   160   (1,523 )
   (166,034 ) (101,398 ) (168,124 ) (88,485 )
 Income and other taxes recovery 1,200   14,400   1,700   18,000  
 Net loss from continuing operations (164,834 ) (86,998 ) (166,424 ) (70,485 )
 Income (loss) from discontinued operations (400 ) 212,332   (3,900 ) 222,662  
 Net loss ($165,234 ) $125,334   ($170,324 ) $152,177  
 Attributable to:        
  Equity shareholders ($164,337 ) $125,343   ($169,149 ) $152,129  
  Minority interests ($897 ) ($9 ) ($1,175 ) $48  
          
 Net income (loss) attributable to equity shareholders per Class A (voting) and Class B (non-voting) share:        
 Basic:        
  From continuing operations ($2.04 ) ($1.08 ) ($2.06 ) ($0.88 )
  From discontinued operations ($0.01 ) $2.65   ($0.05 ) $2.78  
   ($2.05 ) $1.57   ($2.11 ) $1.90  
 Diluted:        
  From continuing operations ($2.04 ) ($1.08 ) ($2.06 ) ($0.88 )
  From discontinued operations ($0.01 ) $2.64   ($0.05 ) $2.78  
  ($2.05 ) $1.56   ($2.11 ) $1.90  
         
         
Torstar Corporation
Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows
(Thousands of Canadian Dollars)
(Unaudited)
  Three months ended September 30 Nine months ended September 30
  2015 2014 2015 2014
 Cash was provided by (used in)        
  Operating activities $8,925   ($9,636 ) $21,846   $33,621  
  Investing activities (208,227 ) 410,992   (227,618 ) 391,073  
  Financing activities (10,239 ) (193,924 ) (30,431 ) (209,946 )
 Increase (decrease) in cash (209,541 ) 207,432   (236,203 ) 214,748  
 Effect of exchange rate changes from discontinued operations   305     403  
 Cash, beginning of period 224,677   24,824   251,339   17,410  
 Cash, end of period $15,136   $232,561   $15,136   $232,561  
 Operating activities:        
  Net loss from continuing operations ($164,834 ) ($86,998 ) ($166,424 ) ($70,485 )
  Amortization and depreciation 7,291   7,149   20,868   23,593  
  Deferred income taxes 100   (12,000 ) 900   (15,300 )
  Loss from joint ventures 11,573   13,695   9,721   10,599  
  Distributions from joint ventures 6,175   750   7,500   5,060  
  Loss from associated businesses 11,772   346   11,083   925  
  Dividend from associated businesses 193   725   193   919  
  Impairment of assets 135,760   82,348   135,760   82,872  
  Non-cash employee benefit expense 5,327   3,774   15,333   11,060  
  Employee benefits funding (5,023 ) (10,778 ) (14,534 ) (28,559 )
  Other (1,793 ) 6,037   (3,082 ) 1,885  
    6,541   5,048   17,318   22,569  
  Restricted cash (116 ) (21,970 ) (1,565 ) (21,970 )
  Decrease in non-cash working capital 2,500   11,231   6,093   24,387  
 Cash provided by (used in) operating activities of continuing operations 8,925   (5,691 ) 21,846   24,986  
 Cash provided by (used in) operating activities of discontinued operations   (3,945 )   8,635  
 Cash provided by (used in) operating activities $8,925   ($9,636 ) $21,846   $33,621  
 Investing activities:        
  Additions to property, plant and equipment and intangible assets ($7,864 ) ($8,020 ) ($23,989 ) ($15,045 )
  Investment in associated businesses (200,588 )   (202,055 ) (1,417 )
  Acquisitions and portfolio investments (162 ) (28 ) (2,090 ) (10,754 )
  Net proceeds from the sale of Harlequin   442,207     442,207  
  Restricted cash   (22,750 )   (22,750 )
  Other 387   (22 ) 516   441  
 Cash provided by (used in) investing activities of continuing operations (208,227 ) 411,387   (227,618 ) 392,682  
 Cash used in investing activities of discontinued operations   (395 )   (1,609 )
 Cash provided by (used in) investing activities ($208,227 ) $410,992   ($227,618 ) $391,073  
 Financing activities:        
  Repayment of bankers' acceptances   ($183,893 )   ($190,923 )
  Issuance of bankers' acceptances       11,199  
  Dividends paid ($10,397 ) (10,370 ) ($31,144 ) (31,051 )
  Exercise of share options   131   394   612  
  Other 158   208   319   217  
 Cash used in financing activities ($10,239 ) ($193,924 ) ($30,431 ) ($209,946 )
 Cash represented by:        
 Attributed to continuing operations:        
  Cash $15,136   $10,409   $15,136   $10,409  
  Cash equivalents -- short-term deposits   222,152     222,152  
  Net cash, end of period $15,136   $232,561   $15,136   $232,561  

Contact Information

  • For more information please contact:

    L. DeMarchi
    Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer
    Torstar Corporation
    (416) 869-4776