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Company Delivers High End of Guidance as Strategic Plan Takes Hold
FOURTH QUARTER & 2019 HIGHLIGHTS:
New York, NY, February 27, 2020 (NASDAQ: MDCA) – MDC Partners Inc. (“MDC Partners” or the “Company”) today announced financial results for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2019.
“We are beginning to see the benefits of the strategic plan we implemented in 2019. In the fourth quarter, we delivered sequential revenue growth of 11% while maintaining our focus on reducing costs across the organization, resulting in improved profitability and Covenant EBITDA near the top of our guided range at $184.2 million,” said Mark Penn, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MDC Partners. “Net new business remained strong in the quarter at $37 million and over $100 million for the last nine months of 2019 since my arrival. In addition to our operational improvements across the organization that will continue to drive results, with the recent announcements of the Anomaly Alliance and Constellation, we now have six tentpole partner networks designed to enhance collaboration across disciplines, benefiting our clients and agencies alike.”
Frank Lanuto, Chief Financial Officer, added, “We delivered a solid performance in the fourth quarter, reporting $57 million in Adjusted EBITDA and over $92 million in cash flow from operations in the quarter, ending the year with $107 million in cash and no revolver borrowings, reducing our leverage to 4.5x.”
Fourth Quarter and Year-to-Date 2019 Financial Results
Revenue for the fourth quarter of 2019 was $382.0 million versus $393.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2018, a decline of 3.0%. The effect on revenue of foreign exchange due to the strong US Dollar was negative 0.3%, the impact of non-GAAP acquisitions (dispositions), net was negative 1.2%, and organic revenue declined 1.5%. Organic revenue was favorably impacted by 279 basis points from increased billable pass-through costs incurred on clients’ behalf from certain of our partner firms acting as principal.
Net New Business wins in the fourth quarter of 2019 totaled $37.2 million.
Net loss attributable to MDC Partners common shareholders for the fourth quarter of 2019 was $10.5 million versus a net loss of $83.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2018. This improvement was primarily due to a decline in expenses principally driven by a reduction in staff costs, a lower impairment charge in 2019 and a foreign exchange gain in the fourth quarter of 2019 versus a loss in the prior year fourth quarter, partially offset by a decline in revenues. Diluted loss per share attributable to MDC Partners common shareholders for the fourth quarter of 2019 was $0.15 versus diluted loss per share of $1.46 for the fourth quarter of 2018.
Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter of 2019 was $57.0 million versus $52.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2018, an increase of 9.8%. Excluding the impact of the Kingsdale divestiture, Adjusted EBITDA increased 14.3% in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared with the prior year period.
The improvement was primarily driven by reduction in staff costs, partially offset by lower revenue. This led to a 170 basis point improvement in Adjusted EBITDA margin in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 14.9% from 13.2% in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Revenue in 2019 was $1.42 billion versus $1.48 billion in 2018, a decrease of 4.1%. The effect on revenue of foreign exchange due to the strong US Dollar was negative 0.9%, the impact of non-GAAP acquisitions (dispositions), net was negative 0.1%, and organic revenue decline was 3.1%. Organic revenue was favorably impacted by 206 basis points from increased billable pass-through costs incurred on clients’ behalf from certain of our partner firms acting as principal.
Net New Business wins in 2019 totaled $93.6 million.
Net loss attributable to MDC Partners common shareholders in 2019 was $17.0 million, an improvement versus a net loss of $132.1 million in 2018. This change was principally due to a decline in expenses primarily driven by a reduction in staff and administrative costs, a lower impairment charge in 2019 and a foreign exchange gain in 2019 versus a loss in 2018, partially offset by a decline in revenues. Diluted loss per share attributable to MDC Partners common shareholders in 2019 was $0.25 versus a diluted loss per share of $2.31 in 2018.
Adjusted EBITDA in 2019 was $174.2 million versus $162.6 million in 2018, an increase of 7.1%. Excluding the impact of the Kingsdale divestiture, Adjusted EBITDA increased 13.5% in 2019 compared with 2018. The improvement was primarily driven by lower staff and administrative costs at Partner agencies and at Corporate, partially offset by a decline in revenues. This led to a 130 basis point improvement in Adjusted EBITDA Margin in in 2019 to 12.3% from 11.0% in 2018.
Covenant EBITDA for the last twelve months (LTM) was $184.2 million at December 31, 2019 versus $172.6 million at December 31, 2018, an increase of 6.7%.
2020 financial guidance is updated as follows:
Management will host a conference call on Thursday, February 27, 2020, at 4:30 p.m. (ET) to discuss its results. The conference call will be accessible by dialing 1-412-902-4266 or toll free 1-888-346-6216. An investor presentation has been posted on our website at www.mdc-partners.com and may be referred to during the conference call.
A recording of the conference call will be available one hour after the call until 12:00 a.m. (ET), March 5, 2020, by dialing 1-412-317-0088 or toll free 1-877-344-7529 (passcode 10139158), or by visiting our website at www.mdc-partners.com.
About MDC Partners Inc.
MDC Partners is one of the most influential marketing and communications networks in the world. As “The Place Where Great Talent Lives,” MDC Partners is celebrated for its innovative advertising, public relations, branding, digital, social and event marketing agency partners, which are responsible for some of the most memorable and effective campaigns for the world’s most respected brands. By leveraging technology, data analytics, insights and strategic consulting solutions, MDC Partners drives creative excellence, business growth and measurable return on marketing investment for over 1,700 clients worldwide. For more information about MDC Partners and its partner firms, visit our website at www.mdc-partners.com and follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mdcpartners.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
In addition to its reported results, MDC Partners has included in this earnings release certain financial results that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) defines as “non-GAAP financial measures.” Management believes that such non-GAAP financial measures, when read in conjunction with the Company’s reported results, can provide useful supplemental information for investors analyzing period to period comparisons of the Company’s results. Such non-GAAP financial measures include the following:
(1) Organic Revenue: “Organic revenue growth” and “organic revenue decline” refer to the positive or negative results, respectively, of subtracting both the foreign exchange and acquisition (disposition) components from total revenue growth. The acquisition (disposition) component is calculated by aggregating prior period revenue for any acquired businesses, less the prior period revenue of any businesses that were disposed of during the current period. The organic revenue growth (decline) component reflects the constant currency impact of (a) the change in revenue of the partner firms that the Company has held throughout each of the comparable periods presented, and (b) “non-GAAP acquisitions (dispositions), net”. Non-GAAP acquisitions (dispositions), net consists of (i) for acquisitions during the current year, the revenue effect from such acquisition as if the acquisition had been owned during the equivalent period in the prior year and (ii) for acquisitions during the previous year, the revenue effect from such acquisitions as if they had been owned during that entire year (or same period as the current reportable period), taking into account their respective pre-acquisition revenues for the applicable periods, and (iii) for dispositions, the revenue effect from such disposition as if they had been disposed of during the equivalent period in the prior year.
(2) Net New Business: Estimate of annualized revenue for new wins less annualized revenue for losses incurred in the period.
(3) Adjusted EBITDA: Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP measure that represents operating profit plus depreciation and amortization, stock-based compensation, deferred acquisition consideration adjustments, distributions from non-consolidated affiliates, and other items.
(4) Covenant EBITDA: Covenant EBITDA is a measure that includes pro forma adjustments for acquisitions, one-time charges, permitted dispositions and other items, as defined in the Company’s Credit Agreement. Pro forma adjustments for our real estate consolidation to our new headquarters at 1 World Trade Center (“1WTC”) are calculated to include the lease expense recognized as of the first period required by US GAAP for 1WTC and excluding the future costs of all leases that will either be terminated or sublet as permitted dispositions in connection with the relocation. We believe that the presentation of Covenant EBITDA is useful to investors as it eliminates the effect of certain non-cash and other items not necessarily indicative of a company’s underlying operating performance. In addition, the presentation of Covenant EBITDA provides additional information to investors about the calculation of, and compliance with, certain financial covenants in the Company’s Credit Agreement.
Included in this earnings release are tables reconciling MDC Partners’ reported results to arrive at certain of these non-GAAP financial measures. The Company provides guidance on a non-GAAP basis as we cannot predict certain elements which are included in reported GAAP results, including the impact of foreign exchange rates, among other measures. We are unable to reconcile our projected 2020 Organic Revenue Growth to the corresponding GAAP measure because we are unable to predict the 2020 impact of foreign exchange due to the unpredictability of future changes in foreign exchange rates and because we are unable to predict the occurrence or impact of any acquisitions, dispositions, or other potential changes. We are unable to reconcile our projected 2020 Covenant EBITDA to the corresponding GAAP measure because the amount and timing of many future charges that impact these measures (such as amortization of future acquired intangible assets, foreign exchange transaction gains or losses, impairment charges, provision or benefit for income taxes, and certain assumptions used in the calculation of deferred acquisition consideration) are variable, uncertain, or out of our control and therefore cannot be reasonably predicted without unreasonable effort, if at all. As a result, we are unable to provide reconciliations of these measures. In addition, we believe such reconciliations could imply a degree of precision that might be confusing or misleading to investors. For the same reasons, we are unable to address the probable significance of the unavailable information, which could have a potentially unpredictable, and potentially significant, impact on future GAAP financial results.
This press release contains forward-looking statements. Statements in this press release that are not historical facts, including without limitation the information under the heading “Financial Outlook” and statements about the Company’s beliefs and expectations, earnings (loss) guidance, recent business and economic trends, potential acquisitions, and estimates of amounts for redeemable noncontrolling interests and deferred acquisition consideration, constitute forward-looking statements. Words such as “estimates”, “expects”, “contemplates”, “will”, “anticipates”, “projects”, “plans”, “intends”, “believes”, “forecasts”, “may”, “should”, and variations of such words or similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements are based on current plans, estimates and projections, and are subject to change based on a number of factors, including those outlined in this section. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update publicly any of them in light of new information or future events, if any.
Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties. A number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. Such risk factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
Investors should carefully consider these risk factors and the additional risk factors outlined in more detail in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K and in the Company’s other SEC filings.
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