(Toronto, Canada) Corus Entertainment Inc. (TSE: CJR.B; NYSE: CJR) announced its first quarter results today posting solid gains in revenue and EBITDA (income before depreciation, amortization, interest, other and income taxes), led by growth in both its Television and Radio divisions. Corus reports in Canadian dollars.
Pro-forma analysis has been provided for enhanced comparability between periods to reflect revenue and EBITDA results of fiscal 2001 acquisitions as if the acquisitions had occurred on September 1, 2000. The strong consolidated results for the three months ending November 30, 2001 were achieved in a softening economy, which generally had a negative impact on North American broadcasting results. The results include a 49% overall increase in revenues over the previous year, from $117.5 million to $174.7 million fueled by acquisitions and organic growth. The strong year-over-year gains from Television and Radio revenues were offset by continued declines in the publishing operations, which was attributable to rationalization of the North American book retailing sector. EBITDA for the quarter was $45.7 million, up 25% over the prior year. On a pro-forma basis, EBITDA was consistent with the prior year. Earnings per share for the quarter were $0.09 down from $0.35 last year as a result of an after-tax loss of $3.6 million on sale of investments and an after-tax restructuring charge of $9.8 million in the quarter. Excluding restructuring charges and loss on sale of investments, earnings per share were $0.41 for the quarter. Cash flow per share for the quarter was $1.24 compared with $0.76 last year.
“During a period of considerable economic uncertainty, our strategy of focusing on specialty television and radio gave Corus a clear advantage in our first quarter,” said John Cassaday, President and Chief Executive Officer of Corus Entertainment. “While the general economic decline during this quarter did not significantly impact Corus’ overall performance, we have reduced our workforce by approximately 10% and our overall annual operating costs by approximately $10-15 million. We are in a strong position to achieve our growth targets for the balance of the fiscal year.”
Corus’ Television division contributed to the positive quarter with revenue and EBITDA gains of 12% and 11% respectively over the same period last year. Solid organic growth of 12% for both revenue and EBITDA reflect the continued climb in affiliate revenues from DTH and digital cable subscribers. On a pro-forma basis, Corus Radio posted a 2% increase in both revenue and EBITDA, with strong gains of 8% in local advertising sales, outpacing the market by 1%. Corus’ Content division experienced a decrease in revenue and EBITDA of 19% and 33% respectively on a pro-forma basis compared to the prior year. The decline is the result of a number of factors, including the continued challenges facing Klutz in the U.S. specialty retail book market and a lower proprietary production volume from Nelvana for the quarter. However, newly-secured distribution channels for Klutz product and a production schedule that remains on target for delivery of approximately 250 episodes from Nelvana by year-end, compared to 242 episodes last year, point to stronger results for the division later in the fiscal year.
“During the first three months of our fiscal year, we have examined all of our operations to ensure they are providing the best value to the company and its shareholders,” added Heather Shaw, Executive Chair of Corus Entertainment. “Corus will continue to focus on operational excellence and the benefits of our consolidation strategy by identifying internal synergies and opportunities to best serve our audiences, customers and investors.”
Corus Entertainment is a Canadian-based media and entertainment company. Corus is Canada’s market leader in both specialty TV and Radio. Corus also owns Nelvana Limited, one of the world’s largest international producers and distributors of children’s programming and products. The company’s other interests include music, television broadcasting and advertising services. A publicly traded company, Corus is listed on the Toronto (CJR.B) and New York (CJR) Exchanges. Corus’ Web site can be found at corusentertainment.com.
Certain statements in this press release may constitute forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance, or achievements of the company to be materially different from any future results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking documents.
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