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Tronc, Inc. Reports Second Quarter 2017 Results

CHICAGO, Aug. 02, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- tronc, Inc. (NASDAQ:TRNC) today announced financial results for the second quarter ended June 25, 2017.

Second Quarter 2017 Financial Summary and Highlights:

  • Digital only subscribers were 220,000 in second quarter 2017, up 89% year-over-year
  • Total revenues of $369.8 million, down 8.6% compared to second quarter 2016
  • Total operating expenses decreased $38.8 million compared to second quarter 2016
  • Net income was $6.8 million, or $0.21 per share, compared to $4.1 million, or $0.12 per share, in second quarter 2016
  • Adjusted EBITDA was $44.0 million, up slightly from prior year quarter
  • Cash on the balance sheet was $174.2 million providing substantial liquidity for the Company to execute its strategy in 2017 and beyond

“Our solid bottom line performance during the quarter reflects our continued efforts to manage the business more efficiently,” said tronc CEO Justin Dearborn. “While we anticipate ongoing industry-level revenue challenges, we are optimistic about the Company's future and remain focused on continuing to execute our growth strategy.”

Second Quarter 2017 Results
Total revenues for second quarter 2017 decreased 8.6% to $369.8 million, compared to $404.5 million for second quarter 2016. Second quarter 2017 advertising revenue was down 15% on a year-over-year basis, however, circulation revenue experienced an increase of 2% compared to same period of the prior year, with the majority of the growth attributed to digital only subscribers and the Los Angeles Times.

Total operating expenses, including depreciation and amortization, for second quarter 2017 were $351.3 million, down 10%, compared to $390.2 million for second quarter of 2016, reflecting continued cost reduction efforts.

Net income for second quarter 2017 was $6.8 million, or $0.21 per share, compared to $4.1 million, or $0.12 per share, for second quarter of 2016. Adjusted EPS for second quarter 2017 was $0.36, up 3% on a year-over-year basis.

Adjusted EBITDA for second quarter 2017 was $44.0 million, compared to $43.5 million for second quarter 2016.

Net cash provided by operating activities was $24.4 million for second quarter 2017. Capital expenditures totaled $5.0 million for the quarter. Debt and pension liabilities were reduced by $7.9 million during the quarter, compared to first quarter 2017. Cash balance grew to $174.2 million.

Segment Results
The Company operates in two segments: troncM, which is comprised of the Company’s media groups excluding their digital revenues and related expenses, except digital subscription revenues when bundled with a print subscription, and troncX, which includes all digital revenues and related expenses of the Company from local tronc websites, third party websites, mobile applications, digital only subscriptions, Tribune Content Agency, The Daily Meal and forsalebyowner.com.

Included in the tables below is segment reporting for troncM and troncX for the second quarters of 2017 and 2016. Second quarter 2017 troncM total revenues decreased 9% to $312.4 million, compared to second quarter 2016. Advertising revenue declined by 17%, which was partially offset by a slight increase in circulation revenues. Operating expenses declined by $25.7 million, or 8%, compared to the prior-year quarter, primarily due to decreases in compensation expense. Income from operations for troncM was $21.8 million or a 22% decline from the prior-year quarter. Adjusted EBITDA for troncM for the second quarter 2017 was $34.7 million, down 2% on a year-over-year basis.

Total revenues for troncX for the second quarter of 2017 were $58.2 million, down 5% from prior-year quarter. Advertising revenues for troncX declined by 9%, while content revenues, which includes digital only subscriptions and content syndication, increased by 14.3%. Income from operations for troncX was $8.4 million, an increase of 35% from the prior-year period. Adjusted EBITDA for second quarter 2017 was $12.9 million, up 21% compared to second quarter 2016.

Total second quarter 2017 average monthly unique visitors were 55 million, down 9% from the prior-year quarter, while digital only subscribers grew to 220,000, up 89% from the prior year and up 22% sequentially.

Other Activity
Subsequent to the end of the second quarter 2017, the Company sold all of its ownership interest in the CIPS Marketing Group.

2017 Outlook
2017 Full Year Guidance for total revenues has been confirmed as a range of $1.54 to $1.56 billion and adjusted EBITDA has been updated to a range of $189 to $195 million.

Conference Call Details
tronc will host a conference call to discuss the Company’s second quarter 2017 results at 5 p.m. Eastern Time (4 p.m. Central Time) on Wednesday, August 2, 2017. The conference call may be accessed via tronc’s Investor Relations website at investor.tronc.com or by dialing 844.494.0195 (508.637.5599 for international callers) and entering conference ID 56167153. An archived version of the webcast will also be available for one year on the tronc website. To access the replay via telephone, available until August 9, 2017, dial 855.859.2056 (404.537.3406 for international callers), conference ID 56167153.

Non-GAAP Financial Information
To provide investors with additional information regarding tronc’s financial results, this press release includes references to Adjusted EBITDA, AEBITDA Margin, Adjusted total operating expenses, Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted Diluted EPS and Net Debt. These are not measures presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (US GAAP) and tronc’s use of the terms Adjusted EBITDA, AEBITDA Margin, Adjusted total operating expenses, Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted Diluted EPS and Net Debt may vary from that of others in the Company’s industry. Adjusted EBITDA, AEBITDA Margin, Adjusted total operating expenses, Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted Diluted EPS and Net Debt should not be considered as an alternative to net income (loss), income from operations, operating expenses, net income (loss) per diluted share, revenues or any other performance measures derived in accordance with US GAAP as measures of operating performance or liquidity. Further information regarding tronc’s presentation of these measures, including a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA, AEBITDA Margin, Adjusted total operating expenses, Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted Diluted EPS to the most directly comparable US GAAP financial measure, is included below in this press release.

Cautionary Statements Regarding Forward-looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 that involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, statements regarding tronc's business transformation strategy and 2017 guidance. Words such as “may,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “project,” “will,” “projections,” “continue,” “business outlook,” “estimate,” “outlook,” or similar expressions generally identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks, trends and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in such forward-looking statements. Such risks, trends and uncertainties, which in some cases are beyond our control, include: changes in advertising demand, circulation levels and audience shares; competition and other economic conditions; the Company's ability to develop and grow its online businesses; changes in newsprint price; the Company's ability to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting; concentration of stock ownership among the Company's principal stockholders whose interests may differ from those of other stockholders; and other events beyond the Company’s control that may result in unexpected adverse operating results. The Company’s actual results could also be impacted by the other risks detailed from time to time in its publicly filed documents, including in Item 1A (Risk Factors) of its most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, in its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and in other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

About tronc, Inc.
tronc, Inc. (NASDAQ:TRNC) is a media company rooted in award-winning journalism. Headquartered in Chicago, tronc operates newsrooms in nine markets with titles including the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida's Sun-Sentinel, Newport News, Virginia’s Daily Press, Allentown, Pennsylvania's The Morning Call, Hartford Courant, and The San Diego Union-Tribune. Our legacy of brands has earned a combined 94 Pulitzer Prizes and is committed to informing, inspiring and engaging local communities.

Our brands create and distribute content across our media portfolio, offering integrated marketing, media, and business services to consumers and advertisers, including digital solutions and advertising opportunities.

Exhibits:
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Loss
Segment Income and Expenses
Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets
Non-GAAP Reconciliations – Net Income (Loss) to Adjusted EBITDA and AEBITDA Margin
Non-GAAP Reconciliations – Total Operating Expenses to Adjusted Total Operating Expenses
Non-GAAP Reconciliations – Net Income (Loss) to Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted Diluted EPS
Non-GAAP Reconciliations – Total Debt to Net Debt

(TRNC-F)


TRONC, INC.
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME (LOSS)
(In thousands, except per share data)
(Unaudited)
Three months ended Six months ended
June 25,
2017
June 26,
2016
June 25,
2017
June 26,
2016
Operating revenues $369,791 $404,501 $735,907 $802,720
Operating expenses 351,325 390,169 704,941 792,293
Income from operations 18,466 14,332 30,966 10,427
Interest expense, net (6,404) (6,699) (12,881) (13,443)
Premium on stock buyback (6,031)
Loss on equity investments, net (584) (168) (1,272) (297)
Reorganization items, net (49) (143)
Income (loss) before income taxes 11,478 7,416 10,782 (3,456)
Income tax expense (benefit) 4,637 3,360 6,930 (1,049)
Net income (loss) $6,841 $4,056 $3,852 $(2,407)
Net income (loss) per common share:
Basic $0.21 $0.12 $0.11 $(0.08)
Diluted $0.21 $0.12 $0.11 $(0.08)
Weighted average shares outstanding:
Basic 32,825 32,975 34,566 31,155
Diluted 33,029 33,028 34,794 31,155



The tables below show the segmentation of income and expenses for the three and six months ended June 25, 2017 as compared to the three and six months ended June 26, 2016.

Three Months Ended
troncM troncX Corporate and
Eliminations
Consolidated
Jun 25,
2017
Jun 26,
2016
Jun 25,
2017
Jun 26,
2016
Jun 25,
2017
Jun 26,
2016
Jun 25,
2017
Jun 26,
2016
Total revenues$312,438 $344,370 $ 58,242 $ 61,531 $(889) $(1,400) $369,791 $404,501
Operating expenses290,680 316,367 49,838 55,306 10,807 18,496 351,325 390,169
Income from operations21,758 28,003 8,404 6,225 (11,696) (19,896) 18,466 14,332
Depreciation and amortization6,888 5,562 3,579 2,803 4,193 5,935 14,660 14,300
Adjustments (1)6,028 1,664 938 1,695 3,935 11,519 10,901 14,878
Adjusted EBITDA (2)$34,674 $35,229 $12,921 $10,723 $(3,568) $(2,442) $44,027 $43,510


Six Months Ended
troncM troncX Corporate and
Eliminations
Consolidated
Jun 25,
2017
Jun 26,
2016
Jun 25,
2017
Jun 26,
2016
Jun 25,
2017
Jun 26,
2016
Jun 25,
2017
Jun 26,
2016
Total revenues$623,950 $687,432 $113,681 $118,791 $(1,724) $(3,503) $735,907 $802,720
Operating expenses582,439 639,251 101,128 106,919 21,374 46,123 704,941 792,293
Income from operations41,511 48,181 12,553 11,872 (23,098) (49,626) 30,966 10,427
Depreciation and amortization12,595 11,311 6,816 5,633 8,427 11,480 27,838 28,424
Adjustments (1)9,441 4,973 2,135 2,045 7,756 31,269 19,332 38,287
Adjusted EBITDA (2)$63,547 $64,465 $21,504 $19,550 $(6,915) $(6,877) $78,136 $77,138

(1) See reconciliation of Net Income (Loss) to Adjusted EBITDA for additional information on adjustments.

(2) Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP measure. See Reconciliation of Net Income (Loss) to Adjusted EBITDA for additional information.


troncM

Three Months Ended Six Months Ended
June 25,
2017
June 26,
2016
%
Change
June 25,
2017
June 26,
2016
%
Change
Operating revenues:
Advertising $140,902 $169,751 (17.0%) $283,452 $338,720 (16.3%)
Circulation 120,755 120,231 0.4% 240,377 239,736 0.3%
Other 50,781 54,388 (6.6%) 100,121 108,976 (8.1%)
Total revenues 312,438 344,370 (9.3%) 623,950 687,432 (9.2%)
Operating expenses 290,680 316,367 (8.1%) 582,439 639,251 (8.9%)
Income from operations 21,758 28,003 (22.3%) 41,511 48,181 (13.8%)
Depreciation and amortization 6,888 5,562 23.8% 12,595 11,311 11.4%
Adjustments (1) 6,028 1,664 * 9,441 4,973 89.8%
Adjusted EBITDA (2) $34,674 $35,229 (1.6%) $63,547 $64,465 (1.4%)

* Represents positive or negative change in excess of 100%

(1) See reconciliation of Net Income (Loss) to Adjusted EBITDA for additional information on adjustments.

(2) Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP measure. See Reconciliation of Net Income (Loss) to Adjusted EBITDA for additional information.


troncX

Three Months Ended Six Months Ended
June 25,
2017
June 26,
2016
%
Change
June 25,
2017
June 26,
2016
%
Change
Operating revenues:
Advertising $47,481 $52,117 (8.9%) $92,318 $99,096 (6.8%)
Content 10,761 9,414 14.3% 21,363 19,695 8.5%
Total revenues 58,242 61,531 (5.3%) 113,681 118,791 (4.3%)
Operating expenses 49,838 55,306 (9.9%) 101,128 106,919 (5.4%)
Income from operations 8,404 6,225 35.0% 12,553 11,872 5.7%
Depreciation and amortization 3,579 2,803 27.7% 6,816 5,633 21.0%
Adjustments (1) 938 1,695 (44.7%) 2,135 2,045 4.4%
Adjusted EBITDA (2) $12,921 $10,723 20.5% $21,504 $19,550 10.0%

* Represents positive or negative change in excess of 100%

(1) See reconciliation of Net Income (Loss) to Adjusted EBITDA for additional information on adjustments.

(2) Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP measure. See Reconciliation of Net Income (Loss) to Adjusted EBITDA for additional information.


TRONC, INC.
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(In thousands)
(Unaudited)
June 25,
2017
December 25,
2016
Assets
Current Assets:
Cash $174,200 $198,349
Accounts receivable 159,230 195,519
Inventories 6,719 10,950
Prepaid expenses and other 17,683 18,863
Total current assets 357,832 423,681
Net Properties, Plant and Equipment 60,465 67,866
Other Assets
Goodwill 122,631 122,469
Intangible assets, net 127,003 132,161
Software, net 49,683 54,565
Other long-term assets 78,077 88,024
Total other assets 377,394 397,219
Total assets $795,691 $888,766
Liabilities and Equity
Current Liabilities
Current portion of long-term debt $21,845 $21,617
Accounts payable 62,456 70,148
Other 143,861 173,122
Total current liabilities 228,162 264,887
Non-Current Liabilities
Long-term debt 340,109 349,128
Other non-current liabilities 162,570 166,870
Total non-current liabilities 502,679 515,998
Equity
Total stockholders' equity 64,850 107,881
Total liabilities and equity $795,691 $888,766


TRONC, INC.
NON-GAAP RECONCILIATIONS
(In thousands) (Unaudited)
Reconciliation of Net Income (Loss) to Adjusted EBITDA and AEBITDA Margin:
Three months ended Six months ended
June 25,
2017
June 26,
2016
%
Change
June 25,
2017
June 26,
2016
%
Change
Net income (loss) $6,841 $4,056 68.7% $3,852 $(2,407) *
Income tax expense (benefit) 4,637 3,360 38.0% 6,930 (1,049) *
Interest expense, net 6,404 6,699 (4.4)% 12,881 13,443 (4.2%)
Premium on stock buyback * 6,031 *
Loss on equity investments, net 584 168 * 1,272 297 *
Reorganization items, net 49 * 143 *
Income from operations 18,466 14,332 28.8% 30,966 10,427 *
Depreciation and amortization 14,660 14,300 2.5% 27,838 28,424 (2.1%)
Restructuring and transaction costs(1) 8,232 9,114 (9.7%) 14,554 23,100 (37.0%)
Stock-based compensation 2,537 2,200 15.3% 4,397 3,819 15.1%
Employee voluntary separation program 132 3,564 (96.3%) 381 11,368 (96.6%)
Adjusted EBITDA $44,027 $43,510 1.2% $78,136 $77,138 1.3%
Revenue $369,791 $404,501 $735,907 $802,720
Net Income (Loss) Margin 1.8% 1.0% 0.5% (0.3%)
AEBITDA Margin 11.9% 10.8% 10.6% 9.6%

Represents positive or negative change in excess of 100%

(1) - Restructuring and transaction costs include costs related to tronc's internal restructuring, such as severance and IT outsourcing costs, and transaction costs related to completed and potential acquisitions.

Adjusted EBITDA

The Company defines Adjusted EBITDA as net income before equity in earnings of unconsolidated affiliates, income taxes, loss on early debt extinguishment, interest expense, other (expense) income, realized gain (loss) on investments, reorganization items, depreciation and amortization, net income attributable to non-controlling interests, and other items that the Company does not consider in the evaluation of ongoing operating performance. These items include stock-based compensation expense, restructuring charges, transaction expenses, premium on stock buyback and certain other charges and gains that the Company does not believe reflects the underlying business performance (including spin-related costs). AEBITDA Margin is defined as Adjusted EBITDA divided by Revenue. Management believes that because Adjusted EBITDA excludes (i) certain non-cash expenses (such as depreciation, amortization, stock-based compensation, and gain/loss on equity investments) and (ii) expenses that are not reflective of the Company’s core operating results over time (such as restructuring costs, including the employee voluntary separation program and gain/losses on employee benefit plan terminations, litigation or dispute settlement charges or gains, premiums on stock buyback, and transaction-related costs), this measure provides investors with additional useful information to measure the Company’s financial performance, particularly with respect to changes in performance from period to period. The Company's management uses Adjusted EBITDA (a) as a measure of operating performance; (b) for planning and forecasting in future periods; and (c) in communications with the Company’s Board of Directors concerning the Company’s financial performance. In addition, Adjusted EBITDA, or a similarly calculated measure, is used as the basis for certain financial maintenance covenants that the Company is subject to in connection with certain credit facilities. Since not all companies use identical calculations, the Company's presentation of Adjusted EBITDA and AEBITDA Margin may not be comparable to other similarly titled measures of other companies and should not be used by investors as a substitute or alternative to net income or any measure of financial performance calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP. Instead, management believes Adjusted EBITDA and AEBITDA Margin should be used to supplement the Company’s financial measures derived in accordance with GAAP to provide a more complete understanding of the trends affecting the business.

Although Adjusted EBITDA is frequently used by investors and securities analysts in their evaluations of companies, Adjusted EBITDA has limitations as an analytical tool, and investors should not consider it in isolation or as a substitute for, or more meaningful than, amounts determined in accordance with GAAP. Some of the limitations to using non-GAAP measures as an analytical tool are: they do not reflect the Company’s interest income and expense, or the requirements necessary to service interest or principal payments on the Company’s debt; they do not reflect future requirements for capital expenditures or contractual commitments; and although depreciation and amortization charges are non-cash charges, the assets being depreciated and amortized will often have to be replaced in the future, and non-GAAP measures do not reflect any cash requirements for such replacements.

The Company does not provide a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA guidance due to the inherent difficulty in forecasting and quantifying certain amounts that are necessary for such reconciliation, including adjustments that could be made for restructuring and transaction costs, stock-based compensation amounts and other charges reflected in our reconciliation of historic numbers, the amount of which, based on historical experience, could be significant.


TRONC, INC.
NON-GAAP RECONCILIATIONS
(In thousands) (Unaudited)
Reconciliation of Total Operating Expenses to Adjusted Total Operating Expenses:
Three Months Ended June 25, 2017 Three Months Ended June 26, 2016
GAAP Adjustments Adjusted GAAP Adjustments Adjusted
Compensation $126,897 $(6,845) $120,052 $150,493 $(11,725) $138,768
Newsprint and ink 22,848 22,848 26,095 26,095
Outside services 114,879 (1,732) 113,147 122,964 (2,703) 120,261
Other 72,041 (2,324) 69,717 76,317 (450) 75,867
Depreciation and amortization 14,660 (14,660) 14,300 (14,300)
Total operating expenses $351,325 $(25,561) $325,764 $390,169 $(29,178) $360,991


Six Months Ended June 25, 2017 Six Months Ended June 26, 2016
GAAP Adjustments Adjusted GAAP Adjustments Adjusted
Compensation $259,614 $(11,174) $248,440 $312,593 $(28,151) $284,442
Newsprint and ink 46,372 46,372 52,073 52,073
Outside services 229,189 (3,623) 225,566 250,673 (9,264) 241,409
Other 141,928 (4,535) 137,393 148,530 (872) 147,658
Depreciation and amortization 27,838 (27,838) 28,424 (28,424)
Total operating expenses $704,941 $(47,170) $657,771 $792,293 $(66,711) $725,582

Adjusted Total Operating Expenses

Adjusted total operating expenses consist of total operating expenses per the income statement, adjusted to exclude the impact of items listed in the Adjusted EBITDA non-GAAP reconciliation. Management believes that Adjusted total operating expenses is informative to investors as it enhances the investors' overall understanding of the financial performance of the Company's business as they analyze current results compared to prior periods.


TRONC, INC.
NON-GAAP RECONCILIATIONS
(In thousands) (Unaudited)
Reconciliation of Net Income (Loss) to Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted Diluted EPS:
Three months ended
June 25, 2017 June 26, 2016
Earnings Diluted
EPS
Earnings Diluted
EPS
Net income - GAAP$6,841 $0.21 $4,056 $0.12
Premium on stock buyback
Adjustments to operating expenses, net of 40% tax:
Restructuring and transaction costs4,939 0.15 5,468 0.17
Employee voluntary separation program79 2,138 0.06
Adjusted net income - Non-GAAP$11,859 $0.36 $11,662 $0.35


Six months ended
June 25, 2017 June 26, 2016
Earnings Diluted
EPS
Earnings Diluted
EPS
Net income (loss) - GAAP$3,852 $0.11 $(2,407) $(0.08)
Premium on stock buyback6,031 0.16
Adjustments to operating expenses, net of 40% tax:
Restructuring and transaction costs8,732 0.25 13,860 0.44
Employee voluntary separation program229 0.01 6,821 0.22
Adjusted net income - Non-GAAP$18,844 $0.54 $18,274 $0.59

Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted Diluted EPS

Adjusted Net Income is defined as Net income - GAAP excluding the following adjustments: Restructuring and transaction costs and Employee voluntary separation program, net of the impact of income taxes and premium on stock buyback.

Adjusted Diluted EPS computes Adjusted Net Income divided by diluted weighted average shares outstanding.

Management believes Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted Diluted EPS are informative to investors as they enhance investors' overall understanding of the financial performance of the Company's business as they analyze current results compared to future recurring projections.


TRONC, INC.
NON-GAAP RECONCILIATIONS
(In thousands) (Unaudited)
Reconciliation of Total Debt to Net Debt:
As of
June 25,
2017
December 25,
2016
% Change
Current portion of long-term debt $21,845 $21,617 1.1%
Long-term debt 340,109 349,128 (2.6%)
Total debt 361,954 370,745 (2.4%)
Less: Cash 174,200 198,349 (12.2%)
Net debt $187,754 $172,396 8.9%

Net Debt

Net Debt is defined as Total Debt less Cash. The Company's management believes that the presentation of Net Debt provides useful information to investors as management reviews Net Debt as part of its management of our overall liquidity, financial flexibility, capital structure and leverage.

Investor Relations Contact: Aaron Miles tronc Investor Relations 312.222.4345 amiles@tronc.com Media Contact: Marisa Kollias tronc Corporate Communications 312.222.3308 mkollias@tronc.com

Source: tronc, Inc.