Transcontinental Inc.
TSX : TCL.A
TSX : TCL.B

Transcontinental Inc.

March 01, 2018 10:39 ET

Transcontinental Inc. announces its financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2018

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - March 1, 2018) - Transcontinental Inc. (TSX:TCL.A)(TSX:TCL.B)

Highlights

  • Revenues decreased by $1.9 million, or 0.4%, from $503.6 million to $501.7 million. Adjusted revenues, which exclude the accelerated recognition of deferred revenues related to the new agreement with Hearst, decreased by $41.7 million, or 8.3%, to $461.9 million. This decrease is mainly due to the sale of our media assets in Atlantic Canada and local and regional newspapers in Québec.
  • Operating earnings increased by $61.1 million, from $62.4 million to $123.5 million. Adjusted operating earnings, which exclude an amount of $33.5 million for the accelerated recognition of deferred revenues net of accelerated depreciation related to the new agreement with Hearst, as well as restructuring and other costs (gains) and impairment of assets, increased by $4.8 million, from $61.3 million to $66.1 million, or 7.8%.
  • Net earnings increased by $15.5 million, from $42.7 million to $58.2 million. Adjusted net earnings, which exclude the accelerated recognition of deferred revenues, accelerated depreciation, restructuring and other costs (gains) and impairment of assets, net of related taxes, as well as the impact of the U.S. tax reform (U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) on deferred tax, increased by $7.3 million, from $41.3 million to $48.6 million, or 17.7%.
  • Maintained a solid financial position, with a net indebtedness ratio of 0.1x.
  • Acquired Les Industries Flexipak Inc., a flexible packaging supplier located in Montréal.
  • Concluded a new agreement with Hearst under which the Corporation will transfer to Hearst, effective April 2, 2018, the printing of the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • Sold the Corporation's stake in CEDROM-SNi Inc.
  • Sold 34 local and regional newspapers in Québec as well as their related web properties.
  • The Board of Directors approved a 5% increase in the annual dividend, bringing it to $0.84 per share.

Transcontinental Inc. (TSX:TCL.A)(TSX:TCL.B) announces its results for the first quarter of fiscal 2018, which ended January 28, 2018.

"I am satisfied with our first quarter financial results, which show that our profitability has increased while we continue the transformation of our organization," said François Olivier, President and Chief Executive Officer of TC Transcontinental.

"In the printing division, the demand for our retailer-related service offering remained relatively stable. Furthermore, we implemented initiatives aimed at continuously optimizing our printing platform, namely the consolidation of our Québec newspaper printing plants. In addition, we will transfer to Hearst the operations of our California facility as of April 2018. Consequently, we will repatriate state-of-the art equipment to some of our Canadian plants, which will generate synergies mainly starting in 2019.

"In the packaging division, this year's first quarter results were mainly affected by timing differences in purchases at one of our plants, but we anticipate that organic sales growth in 2018 will be similar to 2017. In addition, we pursued in a very active manner a number of promising acquisition opportunities.

"In our Media Sector, we sold 34 local and regional newspapers during the quarter and continued to adjust our costs to our asset base. Overall, the Media Sector's activities performed well.

"Today, with our enviable financial position and significant cash flows, we are, more than ever, well positioned to accelerate the growth of our packaging business."

Financial Highlights

(in millions of dollars, except per share amounts) Q1-2018 Q1-2017 Variation
in %
Revenues $ 501.7 $ 503.6 (0.4 )%
Adjusted Revenues(1) 461.9 503.6 (8.3 )
Operating earnings before depreciation and amortization 154.7 89.0 73.8
Adjusted operating earnings before depreciation and amortization(1) 91.0 87.9 3.5
Operating earnings 123.5 62.4 97.9
Adjusted operating earnings(1) 66.1 61.3 7.8
Net earnings 58.2 42.7 36.3
Net earnings per share 0.75 0.55 36.4
Adjusted net earnings(1) 48.6 41.3 17.7
Adjusted net earnings per share(1) 0.63 0.53 18.9
(1) Please refer to the section entitled "Reconciliation of Non-IFRS financial measures" in this press release for adjusted data presented above.

2018 First Quarter Results

Revenues went from $503.6 million in the first quarter of 2017 to $501.7 million in the first quarter of 2018, a decrease of $1.9 million, or 0.4%. Excluding the $39.8 million favourable effect of the accelerated recognition of deferred revenues related to the new agreement with Hearst, adjusted revenues went from $503.6 million in the first quarter of 2017 to $461.9 million in the corresponding period in 2018, a decrease of 8.3%. In addition, excluding the unfavourable impact of the sales of newspapers and other media assets in 2017 related to the Corporation's strategy, as well as the unfavourable exchange rate effect, adjusted revenues decreased by only $7.8 million, or 1.7%. The increase in demand for our services to Canadian retailers, notably as a result of the additional contribution from the expanded agreement with Lowe's Canada, and the contribution from acquisitions in the packaging division and in the Media Sector partially offset the decline in volume due to the end of the printing of The Globe and Mail in the Maritimes and of La Presse, the decrease in revenues from unsold newspapers in the local and regional newspaper publishing niche in Québec and Ontario in the Media Sector and the timing differences in purchases at one of the packaging plants.

Operating earnings increased by $61.1 million, or 97.9%, from $62.4 million in the first quarter of 2017 to $123.5 million in the first quarter of 2018. This increase is mostly attributable to the favourable effect of the accelerated recognition of deferred revenues, the decrease in operating expenses resulting from the sale of media assets and cost reduction initiatives and the decrease in restructuring and other costs (gains) as a result of higher gains on the sale of certain activities in the Media Sector. Adjusted operating earnings increased by $4.8 million, or 7.8%, from $61.3 million in the first quarter of 2017 to $66.1 million in the first quarter of 2018. Excluding the $6.8 million favourable effect of the stock-based compensation expense as a result of the change in the share price in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the corresponding period in 2017and the unfavourable impact of the sales of newspapers and other media assets in 2017, adjusted operating earnings remained stable. The contribution from acquisitions and the favourable effect of cost reduction initiatives in the printing division and in the local and regional newspaper publishing activities in Québec and Ontario in the Media Sector were offset by the above-mentioned decrease in volume.

Net earnings increased by $15.5 million, from $42.7 million in the first quarter of 2017 to $58.2 million in the first quarter of 2018. This increase is mostly attributable to the increase in operating earnings, as explained above, partially offset by higher income taxes. On a per share basis, net earnings went from $0.55 to $0.75. Excluding the accelerated recognition of deferred revenues, accelerated depreciation, restructuring and other costs (gains) and impairment of assets, net of related income taxes, as well as the impact of the U.S. tax reform on deferred tax, adjusted net earnings increased by $7.3 million, or 17.7%, from $41.3 million in the first quarter of 2017 to $48.6 million in the first quarter of 2018. This increase is attributable to the increase in adjusted operating earnings, as explained above. On a per share basis, adjusted net earnings went from $0.53 to $0.63.

For more detailed financial information, please see the Management's Discussion and Analysis for the first quarter ended January 28, 2018 as well as the financial statements in the "Investors" section of our website at www.tc.tc

Outlook for 2018

In the printing division, we expect revenues from all our services to Canadian retailers to remain relatively stable in fiscal 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. At the end of the second quarter, we will no longer see the additional contribution of the expanded agreement with Lowe's Canada to our results, since it has already contributed for four quarters. As a reminder, this agreement concluded in January 2017 remains in effect until 2022. Also, we have renewed our multi-year agreement with Loblaw Companies Limited. This agreement includes the full range of our retailer-related services as well as additional volume for in-store marketing product printing, premedia services and commercial printing. In all the other printing verticals, we expect that our revenues will continue to be affected by a decline in volume caused by the same trends in the advertising market. We will also stop printing the San Francisco Chronicle in April 2018 pursuant to a new agreement with Hearst. However, we will continue to offer them transition services until October 31, 2018. To partially offset the decline in volume, we will continue with our operational efficiency initiatives and will benefit from the closure of our Transcontinental Métropolitain plant starting in the second quarter.

In our packaging division, the acquisition of Les Industries Flexipak Inc., completed in October 2017, will contribute to results in fiscal 2018. We also rely on our sales force to continue developing our sales funnel and we expect other sales to materialize in order to achieve an organic sales growth similar to 2017.

In the Media Sector, our revenues will be affected in 2018 by the sale of our media assets related to local and regional newspapers. We expect that our Business and Education Group will continue to perform well by diversifying its revenues in niches that depend little on advertising. We will continue to adjust our cost structure based on the volume of activity as we sell our local and regional newspapers.

The Corporation also expects that the U.S. tax reform, enacted on December 22, 2017, will have a positive effect on its results for the remainder of fiscal 2018 and for the years to come mainly as a result of the reduction in the U.S. federal statutory corporate income tax rate. The significance of this positive effect will depend on the proportion of the Corporation's earnings generated by its U.S. subsidiaries, which cannot be forecasted with certainty.

To conclude, in fiscal 2018, we expect to continue generating significant cash flows from our operating activities and to maintain our excellent financial position, which should enable us to continue making acquisitions to support our transformation into packaging.

Reconciliation of Non-IFRS Financial Measures

The financial information has been prepared in accordance with IFRS. However, financial measures used, namely the adjusted revenues, the adjusted operating earnings, the adjusted operating earnings before depreciation and amortization, the adjusted net earnings, the adjusted net earnings per share, the net indebtedness and the net indebtedness ratio, for which a complete definition is presented in the Management's Discussion and Analysis for the first quarter ended January 28, 2018, and for which a reconciliation is presented in the following table, do not have any standardized meaning under IFRS and could be calculated differently by other companies. We believe that many of our readers analyze the financial performance of the Corporation's activities based on these non-IFRS financial measures as such measures may allow for easier comparisons between periods. These measures should be considered as a complement to financial performance measures in accordance with IFRS. They do not substitute and are not superior to them.

We also believe that the adjusted revenues, the adjusted operating earnings before depreciation and amortization, the adjusted operating earnings, that takes into account the impact of past investments in property, plant and equipment and intangible assets, and the adjusted net earnings are useful indicators of the performance of our operations. Furthermore, management also uses some of these non-IFRS financial measures to assess the performance of its activities and managers.

Regarding the net indebtedness and net indebtedness ratio, we believe that these indicators are useful to measure the Corporation's financial leverage and ability to meet its financial obligations.

Reconciliation of revenues - First quarter
Three months ended
(in millions of dollars) January 28, 2018 January 29, 2017
Revenues $ 501.7 $ 503.6
Accelerated recognition of deferred revenues(1) (39.8 ) -
Adjusted revenues $ 461.9 $ 503.6
Reconciliation of operating earnings - First quarter
Three months ended
(in millions of dollars) January 28, 2018 January 29, 2017
Operating earnings $ 123.5 $ 62.4
Accelerated recognition of deferred revenues(1) (39.8 ) -
Accelerated depreciation(1) 6.3 -
Restructuring and other costs (gains) (25.9 ) (2.3 )
Impairment of assets 2.0 1.2
Adjusted operating earnings $ 66.1 $ 61.3
Depreciation and amortization 31.2 26.6
Accelerated depreciation(1) (6.3 ) -
Adjusted operating earnings before depreciation and amortization $ 91.0 $ 87.9
Reconciliation of net earnings - First quarter
Three months ended
January 28, 2018 January 29, 2017
(in millions of dollars, except per share amounts) Total Per share Total Per share
Net earnings $ 58.2 $ 0.75 $ 42.7 $ 0.55
Accelerated recognition of deferred revenues(1), net of related taxes (29.4 ) (0.38 ) - -
Accelerated depreciation(1), net of related taxes 4.6 0.06 - -
Restructuring and other costs (gains), net of related taxes (22.8 ) (0.29 ) (2.3 ) (0.03 )
Impairment of assets, net of related taxes 1.4 0.02 0.9 0.01
Impact of the U.S. tax reform on deferred tax 36.6 0.47 - -
Adjusted net earnings $ 48.6 $ 0.63 $ 41.3 $ 0.53
Reconciliation of net indebtedness
(in millions of dollars, except ratios) As at January 28, 2018 As at October 29, 2017
Long-term debt $ 348.2 $ 348.3
Current portion of long-term debt - -
Cash (313.7 ) (247.1 )
Net indebtedness $ 34.5 $ 101.2
Adjusted operating earnings before depreciation and amortization (last 12 months) $ 399.8 $ 396.7
Net indebtedness ratio 0.1 x 0.3 x
(1) Related to the new agreement with Hearst. Please refer to note 18, « New agreement with Hearst », in the unaudited condensed interim consolidated financial statements for the first quarter ended January 28, 2018

Dividend

The Corporation's Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.21 per share on Class A Subordinate Voting Shares and Class B Shares. This dividend is payable on April 11, 2018 to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 26, 2018. The Corporation thus increased the dividend per participating share by 5.0%, or $0.04, raising the annual dividend from $0.80 to $0.84 per share. This increase reflects TC Transcontinental's solid cash flow position.

Conference Call

Upon releasing its first quarter 2018 results, the Corporation will hold a conference call for the financial community today at 4:15 p.m. The dial-in numbers are 1 647 788-4922 or 1 877 223-4471. Media may hear the call in listen-in only mode or tune in to the simultaneous audio broadcast on the Corporation's website, which will then be archived for 30 days. For media requests or interviews, please contact Nathalie St-Jean, Senior Advisor, Corporate Communications of TC Transcontinental, at 514 954-3581.

Profile

TC Transcontinental is Canada's largest printer and a key supplier of flexible packaging in North America. The Corporation is also a leader in its specialty media segments. TC Transcontinental's mission is to create products and services that allow businesses to attract, reach and retain their target customers.

Respect, teamwork, performance and innovation are strong values held by the Corporation and its employees. The Corporation's commitment to its stakeholders is to pursue its business activities in a responsible manner.

Transcontinental Inc. (TSX:TCL.A)(TSX:TCL.B), known as TC Transcontinental, has close to 6,500 employees in Canada and the United States, and revenues of C$2.0 billion in 2017. Website www.tc.tc

Forward-looking Statements

Our public communications often contain oral or written forward-looking statements which are based on the expectations of management and inherently subject to a certain number of risks and uncertainties, known and unknown. By their very nature, forward-looking statements are derived from both general and specific assumptions. The Corporation cautions against undue reliance on such statements since actual results or events may differ materially from the expectations expressed or implied in them. Forward-looking statements may include observations concerning the Corporation's objectives, strategy, anticipated financial results and business outlook. The Corporation's future performance may also be affected by a number of factors, many of which are beyond the Corporation's will or control. These factors include, but are not limited to, the economic situation in the world and particularly in Canada and the United States, structural changes in the industries in which the Corporation operates, the exchange rate, availability of capital, energy costs, competition, the Corporation's capacity to engage in strategic transactions and integrate acquisitions into its activities, the regulatory environment, the safety of its packaging products used in the food industry, innovation of its offering, concentration of its sales in certain segments, cybersecurity and data protection, recruiting and retaining qualified personnel in certain geographic areas, taxation and interest rate. The main risks, uncertainties and factors that could influence actual results are described in the Management's Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) for the fiscal year ended October 29, 2017 and in the latest Annual Information Form, and have been updated in the MD&A for the first quarter ended January 28, 2018.

Unless otherwise indicated by the Corporation, forward-looking statements do not take into account the potential impact of nonrecurring or other unusual items, nor of divestitures, business combinations, mergers or acquisitions which may be announced after the date of March 1st, 2018.

The forward-looking statements in this press release are made pursuant to the "safe harbour" provisions of applicable Canadian securities legislation.

The forward-looking statements in this release are based on current expectations and information available as at March 1st, 2018. Such forward-looking information may also be found in other documents filed with Canadian securities regulators or in other communications. The Corporation's management disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise these statements unless otherwise required by the securities authorities.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF EARNINGS
Unaudited
Three months ended

(in millions of Canadian dollars, unless otherwise indicated and per share data)
January 28,
2018

January 29,
2017

Revenues $ 501.7 $ 503.6
Operating expenses 370.9 415.7
Restructuring and other costs (gains) (25.9 ) (2.3 )
Impairment of assets 2.0 1.2
Operating earnings before depreciation and amortization 154.7 89.0
Depreciation and amortization 31.2 26.6
Operating earnings 123.5 62.4
Net financial expenses 2.6 5.1
Earnings before share of net earnings in interests in joint ventures and income taxes 120.9 57.3
Share of net earnings in interests in joint ventures, net of related taxes 0.1 (0.1 )
Income taxes 62.8 14.5
Net earnings $ 58.2 $ 42.7
Net earnings per share - basic $ 0.75 $ 0.55
Net earnings per share - diluted $ 0.75 $ 0.55
Weighted average number of shares outstanding - basic (in millions) 77.5 77.2
Weighted average number of shares - diluted (in millions) 77.6 77.4
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME
Unaudited
Three months ended
January 28, January 29,
(in millions of Canadian dollars) 2018 2017
Net earnings $ 58.2 $ 42.7
Other comprehensive income (loss)
Items that will be reclassified to net earnings
Net change related to cash flow hedges
Net change in the fair value of derivatives designated as cash flow hedges 1.4 1.4
Reclassification of the net change in the fair value of derivatives designated as cash flow hedges in prior periods, recognized in net earnings during the period
(0.7
)
0.4
Related income taxes 0.2 0.5
0.5 1.3
Cumulative translation differences
Net unrealized exchange losses on the translation of the financial statements of foreign operations (23.4 ) (9.4 )
Net change in the fair value of derivatives designated as hedges of net investments in foreign operations 1.5 1.2
Related income taxes 0.4 0.3
(22.3 ) (8.5 )
Items that will not be reclassified to net earnings
Changes in actuarial gains and losses in respect of defined benefit plans
Actuarial gains in respect of defined benefit plans 5.4 19.8
Related income taxes 1.7 5.4
3.7 14.4
Other comprehensive income (loss) (18.1 ) 7.2
Comprehensive income $ 40.1 $ 49.9
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CHANGES IN EQUITY
Unaudited



(in millions of Canadian dollars)


Share
capital


Contributed
surplus


Retained
earnings
Accumulated
other
comprehensive
income (loss)



Total equity
Balance as at October 29, 2017 $ 371.6 $ 1.1 $ 851.5 $ (5.5 ) $ 1,218.7
Net earnings - - 58.2 - 58.2
Other comprehensive loss - - - (18.1 ) (18.1 )
Shareholders' contributions and distributions to shareholders
Share redemptions (1.6 ) - (5.3 ) - (6.9 )
Dividends - - (15.5 ) - (15.5 )
Balance as at January 28, 2018 $ 370.0 $ 1.1 $ 888.9 $ (23.6 ) $ 1,236.4
Balance as at October 30, 2016 $ 361.9 $ 3.2 $ 700.9 $ 2.7 $ 1,068.7
Net earnings - - 42.7 - 42.7
Other comprehensive income - - - 7.2 7.2
Shareholders' contributions and distributions to shareholders
Exercise of stock options 6.5 (1.3 ) - - 5.2
Dividends - - (14.3 ) - (14.3 )
Balance as at January 29, 2017 $ 368.4 $ 1.9 $ 729.3 $ 9.9 $ 1,109.5
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF FINANCIAL POSITION
Unaudited


(in millions of Canadian dollars)
As at
January 28,
2018
As at
October 29,
2017
Current assets
Cash $ 313.7 $ 247.1
Accounts receivable 311.4 380.6
Income taxes receivable 22.4 17.2
Inventories 118.1 116.9
Prepaid expenses and other current assets 17.0 18.4
782.6 780.2
Property, plant and equipment 478.5 500.8
Intangible assets 162.5 171.1
Goodwill 505.8 505.0
Investments in joint ventures - 2.3
Deferred taxes 84.3 139.0
Other assets 45.7 38.3
$ 2,059.4 $ 2,136.7
Current liabilities
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities $ 224.9 $ 304.7
Provisions 5.0 6.4
Income taxes payable 12.5 9.5
Deferred revenues and deposits 88.6 44.7
Current portion of long-term debt - -
331.0 365.3
Long-term debt 348.2 348.3
Deferred taxes 49.2 44.1
Provisions 2.5 1.3
Other liabilities 92.1 159.0
823.0 918.0
Equity
Share capital 370.0 371.6
Contributed surplus 1.1 1.1
Retained earnings 888.9 851.5
Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) (23.6 ) (5.5 )
1,236.4 1,218.7
$ 2,059.4 $ 2,136.7
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
Unaudited
Three months ended

(in millions of Canadian dollars)
January 28,
2018
January 29,
2017 (1)
Operating activities
Net earnings $ 58.2 $ 42.7
Adjustments to reconcile net earnings and cash flows from operating activities:
Impairment of assets 2.0 1.2
Depreciation and amortization 37.8 33.0
Financial expenses on long-term debt 4.4 4.4
Net losses (gains) on disposal of assets 0.5 (3.0 )
Net gains on business disposals (33.2 ) (1.6 )
Income taxes 62.8 14.5
Net foreign exchange differences and other 1.1 1.9
Cash flows generated by operating activities before changes in non-cash operating items and income taxes paid 133.6 93.1
Changes in non-cash operating items(2) (31.3 ) (0.5 )
Income taxes paid (12.3 ) (11.6 )
Cash flows from operating activities 90.0 81.0
Investing activities
Business combinations, net of acquired cash (11.4 ) (8.2 )
Business disposals 30.3 0.1
Acquisitions of property, plant and equipment (9.1 ) (10.5 )
Disposals of property, plant and equipment 0.1 6.7
Increase in intangible assets (3.7 ) (4.1 )
Dividends received from equity investments 3.4 -
Cash flows from investing activities 9.6 (16.0 )
Financing activities
Reimbursement of long-term debt (3.7 ) (0.1 )
Financial expenses on long-term debt (5.5 ) (5.5 )
Exercise of stock options - 5.2
Dividends (15.5 ) (14.3 )
Share redemptions (6.9 ) -
Cash flows from financing activities (31.6 ) (14.7 )
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash denominated in foreign currencies (1.4 ) -
Net change in cash 66.6 50.3
Cash at beginning of period 247.1 16.7
Cash at end of period $ 313.7 $ 67.0
Non-cash investing activities
Net change in capital asset acquisitions financed by accounts payable $ (0.4 ) $ -
(1) Certain comparative figures have been reclassified to conform to the presentation adopted in the current period.
(2) Includes an amount of $41.2 million received as part of the transaction with Hearst (Note 18).

Contact Information

  • Media
    Nathalie St-Jean
    Senior Advisor, Corporate Communications
    TC Transcontinental
    Telephone: 514-954-3581
    nathalie.st-jean@tc.tc

    Financial Community
    Shirley Chenny
    Advisor, Investor Relations
    TC Transcontinental
    Telephone: 514-954-4166
    shirley.chenny@tc.tc