Thursday, 10 May 2012

Torstar Corp. raises dividend as net income surges higher in first quarter

Torstar Corp. raises dividend as net income surges higher in first quarter
Wed May 9 2012 Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew Business Reporter
Torstar Corp., publisher of the Toronto Star, is increasing its dividend to shareholders as revenues for the first-quarter declined slightly in a challenging environment, the company said.
Revenue was $350.8 million for the three months ending March 31, 2012, down from $351.4 million in the year-earlier quarter, Torstar said Wednesday.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, commonly known as EBITDA, for the first quarter were $40.2 million, down $1.5 million from the first quarter of 2011.

The decline reflects relatively stable media results and a decline at Harlequin, which continued to adjust to the shift to digital reading, the company said.
“Results were solid in the quarter given the environment,” David Holland, president and chief executive officer of Torstar said in a release.
“Looking forward, in the Canadian media operations visibility remains limited on the print advertising market and the digital advertising market continues to evolve rapidly. At Harlequin, after a strong 2011, we are anticipating a modest decline in results in 2012.”
Net income attributable to equity shareholders was $29.3 million in the first quarter, up from $15.5 million in the year-earlier quarter. A significant portion of the gain was the result of the sale of part of Torstar’s 50 per cent joint-venture stake in Tuango, a Quebec-based group-buying website.
Torstar retains a 38.2 per cent interest in Tuango.
Adjusted earnings per share were 24 cents in the first quarter, up 2 cents from 22 cents in the year-earlier period, the company said.
Print advertising revenues were down at the Toronto Star and Metroland Media Group newspapers but up at the Metro commuter newspapers. Digital revenues were flat in the quarter, the company said.
In book publishing, declines in print revenue more than offset growth in digital revenue, Torstar said.
The company’s board of directors has approved a 5 per cent dividend increase to $0.13125 per share from $0.125 cents for shareholders of record, effective June 30.
Torstar’s annual general meeting will be held in Toronto on Wednesday

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