Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Free Press company sees decline in revenue

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FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership (FPLP), the company that owns the Winnipeg Free Press, Brandon Sun and several regional papers, reported a 6.9 per cent decline in revenue for the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31, 2013 to $28.1 million.

Print advertising, which accounts for 80 per cent of the company's print and distribution revenue category, was down 9.3 per cent in the quarter.

The company noted the decrease in print advertising revenues is consistent with the widespread decline of retail sales reported by Statistics Canada in its December retail trade report.

It noted the declining print advertising trend has continued in January and February this year. The extreme frigid weather experienced in December -- a factor contributing to the December retail sales slowdown -- has continued throughout January and February 2014.

EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for the fourth quarter was $5.9 million, a decrease of $1.3 million, or 18.2 per cent, from the same period last year.

Revenue for the full year at FPLP was $106.3 million, a decrease of $5.3 million or 4.7 per cent from the prior year.

EBITDA for the year was $20 million, compared with $20.9 million in 2012, a decrease of 4.1 per cent.

FP Newspapers Inc. -- which owns securities entitling it to 49 per cent of the distributable cash of FPLP -- reported net earnings of $1.6 million for the fourth quarter, compared with $2.0 million for the same period last year.

FP Newspapers Inc. shares closed down 9.78 per cent or 53 cents in trading Thursday to $4.89.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 14, 2014 B7

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