TORONTO, Ontario (November 4, 2004) – MDC Partners Inc. (“MDC Partners”) today announced its financial results for the third quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2004. Consolidated revenue for the third quarter was $86.3 million, an increase of 33% from the $64.9 million in the same quarter last year. Operating profit of $2.3 million was achieved, compared to $3.0 million reported for the third quarter of 2003. The net loss for the quarter was $1.5 million, compared to net income of $3.2 million in 2003. Diluted loss per share for the quarter ended September 30, 2004 was $0.07 versus diluted earnings per share of $0.15 last year.
Consolidated revenue for the nine months was $237.4 million, an increase of 4% from the $227.7 million reported in 2003. The net loss was $1.1 million versus net income of $26.8 million in 2003. Diluted loss per share was $0.05 compared to diluted earnings per share of $1.19 in the 2003 period.
Due to the significant impact that certain operating affiliates have on the results of operations of the Company, the foregoing discussion and analysis of the Company’s results consolidate the equity-accounted affiliate operations of the Marketing Communications Division (the “Combined” basis). As previously disclosed, beginning September 22, 2004, MDC Partners consolidated the financial results of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, LLC.
On a Combined basis, revenues were $98.0 million in the third quarter compared to $71.4 million, an improvement of 37% or $26.6 million. Operating profit was $4.1 million, a decrease of $0.5 million from the prior-year period. On the same Combined basis, revenues for the nine months ended September 30, 2004 were $272.8 million, an increase of 11% over the prior year. Operating profit was $11.2 million, compared to an operating loss of $1.1 million in 2003.
Marketing Communications revenue on a Combined basis was $77.5 million for the quarter, 51% more than the comparable $51.3 million reported in the third quarter of 2003 primarily due to acquisitions completed in 2004 and organic growth. Organic revenue increased 8.7% for the third quarter and 12.8% in the year-to-date period. EBITDA (please see the reconciliation of EBITDA to operating profit below) for the quarter was $8.0 million, an increase of 29% from the $6.2 million earned in the same prior-year period. EBITDA margins were 10.3% for the quarter versus 12.1% in the previous year due to an increase in operating costs disproportionate to the increase in revenue. For the nine months ended September 30, 2004, Marketing Communications’ Combined revenue was $215.6 million with EBITDA of $21.6 million, an increase of 46% and 40%, respectively, over the prior year. However, excluding operating losses of a non-core marketing unit and investment spending of a start-up unit, EBITDA was $9.8 million for the quarter and $27.3 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2004.
“We are extremely pleased with the progress that our partner companies have made during the third quarter,” said Miles S. Nadal, Chairman, President & CEO of MDC Partners. “New business wins in the quarter were substantial including work for Unilever, a major U.S.-based retailer, and Sprint.”
Revenue attributable to Secure Products International (“SPI”) totaled $20.5 million for the third quarter of 2004, an increase of $1.6 million or 8% compared to the 2003 third quarter revenues. A significant increase in production at Ashton Potter related to the USPS contract awarded in 2003 generated a 112% improvement in the revenues of the stamp operation. Operating profits earned by SPI amounted to $1.3 million for the quarter compared to $0.8 million, primarily the result of increased production and profitability at Ashton Potter and Placard. Operating income generated by Mercury was relatively unchanged from the prior-year third quarter, despite the impact of the NHL lockout on ticket revenues, while Metaca, the Canadian card operations, experienced a decline in operating profits. Management continues to undertake initiatives designed to reduce the cost structure and improve efficiencies at Metaca. In connection with this effort, severance and other related charges of $0.2 million were recorded in the quarter. SPI generated $2.1 million to EBITDA for the third quarter, an increase of 79% versus the same period of 2003.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2004, SPI revenues totaled $56.5 million compared to $96.2 million in the prior year. 2003 revenues include $49.0 million related to an operation that was divested in the second quarter of 2003. Operating profit for the nine months was $2.1 million compared to an operating loss of $10.9 million in the prior year.
“We continue to manage our SPI assets and believe the prospects for market share gains and growth in profitability are significant. However, our previously stated strategy of realizing on our investment via an initial public offering remains our ultimate objective,” said Mr. Nadal. “The expected improvement in operating performance of the Division combined with the relative weakness of the Canadian income trust market has moved our timetable for such a transaction.”
Corporate and other operating expenses increased from $3.8 million in the 2003 third quarter to $5.8 million this quarter as a result of increased compliance costs associated with US GAAP reporting and Sarbanes-Oxley legislation, an increase in the provision for stock-based compensation, and an increase in overhead costs in connection with the establishment of a US corporate office in New York. Year to date, corporate and other operating expenses were $17.1 million compared to $8.8 million in the prior year.
On September 22, MDC Partners entered into a new revolving credit agreement with a syndicate of banks led by JP Morgan Chase, including Toronto Dominion Bank, Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which provided for borrowings of up to $100 million. At the same time, a cash management program was established with partner companies to centrally manage a substantial portion of their cash balances. This cash management program, together with the initial use of the credit facility, repaid in full the outstanding balances on the Company’s two senior and one mezzanine credit facilities and a term debt facility, and reduced MDC Partners’ debt by approximately $45 million. The resultant consolidation of the Company’s various debt instruments has also amounted to a reduction in weighted average borrowing rates of approximately 250 basis points.
During the third quarter, upon further review of the Company’s interest in an affiliate, the Company determined that it should have consolidated the financial results of this affiliate for the quarter ended June30, 2004. As a result, the Company will be filing an amended Form 10-Q for the periods ended June 30, 2004. The amended results for both the second quarter and six-month periods ended June 30, 2004 increased operating expenses by $0.7 million with corresponding adjustments to income taxes, equity in affiliates and minority interest and had no impact on the Company’s revenues, net earnings nor its earning per share.
During the quarter the Company repurchased 616,000 shares under a normal course issuer bid at an average price of $11.32 per share for total cash consideration of $7.0 million.
“Our prospects for the future are truly exciting. Everyday, we deliver world-class ideas and execution for our clients, helping to grow their businesses,” said Mr. Nadal.
Management will host a conference call today at 5:00 p.m. (ET) to discuss third quarter results and will be accessible by dialing 416-640-4127 or Toll Free 1-800-814-4862. An investor presentation has been posted to our website www.mdc-partners.com and will be referred to during the conference call.
About MDC Partners Inc.
MDC Partners is one of the world’s leading marketing communications firms. Through its partnership of entrepreneurial firms, MDC Partners provides advertising and specialized communication services to leading brands throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. MDC Partners Class A shares are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol MDZ.A and on the NASDAQ under the symbol MDCA.