Harlequin Parent Torstar Revenues Sink in Q1 in Challenged Print Environment

[Press Release]

Torstar Corporation Reports First Quarter Results

Torstar Corporation (TSX:TS.B) today reported financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2013.

Highlights for the quarter:

• Total Segmented Revenue was $332.4 million in the first quarter of 2013, down $18.4 million from $350.8 million in the first quarter of 2012.

• Total Segmented EBITDA (see “non-IFRS measures”) was $29.4 million in the first quarter of 2013, down $9.4 million from $38.8 million in the first quarter of 2012.

• Net income attributable to equity shareholders was $4.2 million ($0.05 per share) in the first quarter down $13.3 million ($0.17 per share) from $17.5 million ($0.22 per share) last year.

• Adjusted earnings per share (excluding restructuring and other charges and non-cash foreign exchange in both years, and gain on sale of assets in 2012) was $0.14 in the first quarter of 2013, down $0.08 from $0.22 in the first quarter of 2012.

• Net debt was $167.7 million at March 31, 2013, up $4.8 million from $162.9 million at December 31, 2012.

• Dividend to remain unchanged at an annualized rate of $0.525 per share.

“Results continue to be affected by a challenging print advertising market and we are responding to this pressure with further reductions in the cost base that we believe will not compromise our commitment to quality” said David Holland, President and CEO of Torstar Corporation. “EBITDA from the segments was down $9.4 million to $29.4 million with the Media operation down $5.7 million due to lower results at Star Media Group. We were however
encouraged that our community media operations, Metroland Media, reported a modest increase in earnings in the quarter. At Harlequin, EBITDA was down by $2.8 million to $18.2 million excluding the impact of foreign exchange. Lower results were anticipated due to comparison to a very strong first quarter in 2012 and the impact of higher year over year digital author royalty rates.”

“Looking forward, revenue visibility remains limited for the Media operation. In the face of revenue pressures in certain areas of our business, we remain committed to seeking new revenue opportunity which include the introduction of the paywall at The Toronto Star this summer and our ongoing efforts to grow the Metro franchise across Canada. We are also very focused on adjusting the cost base in the Media operation. These efforts are expected to benefit operating results through 2013 and in the future. At Harlequin, our objective for 2013 continues to be delivering relatively stable results assuming global economic conditions do not deteriorate. As expected, Harlequin’s year-over-year results in the first half of the year will be negatively affected by factors such as the transition to higher digital royalty rates which will cease to be a factor after the second quarter of this year.”

“Our modest leverage continues to be an advantage as we evolve. We announced this morning that Torstar’s dividend will be maintained at an annual rate of $0.525. We feel that this is a balanced approach to the dividend and takes into account factors such as our current pension funding obligations.”

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