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Transcontinental posts fourth-quarter loss

The Transcontinental logo is seen in this handout photo.

Pierre Charbonneau/Pierre Charbonneau

Transcontinental Inc. has posted a loss of $51.9-million in the fourth quarter on a 12 per cent increase in revenue, citing one-time items including an impairment charge on a tax asset.

The Montreal-based printer posted a loss of 65 cents per share in the quarter compared with $30.8-million of net income applicable to participating shares, or 38 cents per share, in the same period last year.

Revenue rose to $585.1-million from $521.6-million.

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Transcontinental noted unusual items totalled $113.5-million in the fourth quarter, including a $57.2-million impairment charge on the carrying value of a U.S. deferred tax asset.

On an adjusted basis, Transcontinental posted a fourth-quarter profit of $61.9-million, or 77 cents per share, compared with $54.5-million, or 68 cents per share, year over year.

Transcontinental was expected to earn 64 cents per share in adjusted income on $598-million of revenue in the fourth quarter, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

For the full year, the company reported a loss of $183.3-million, or $2.27 per share, compared to net income applicable to participating shares of $120.7-million, or $1.49 per share, in the same period of 2011.

It said the drop was largely due to a $232-million asset impairment related to the media sector, which was non-cash.

Adjusted earnings per share were $1.85 on $2.11-billion in revenues for 2012.

Analysts had estimated profit excluding one-time items would be $1.75 per share on $2.1-billion of revenues.

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"I am especially pleased with how we have ended fiscal 2012," said François Olivier, president and CEO, in a release.

"As expected, despite the volatile advertising market, revenues and profitability in the fourth quarter grew due to the contribution from the integration of Quad/Graphics Canada Inc. and the good performance of the media sector."

Analysts expected the quarterly results would continue to reflect a challenging print revenue environment and soft advertising market, while margins would be negatively affected by the ongoing integration of Quad/Graphics and contract renewal incentives.

Transcontinental completed on March 1 its acquisition of the Canadian assets of Quad Graphics.

The company has been consolidating its production in a smaller number of modern plants as it increases its digital media offering.

Its printing plant in the Montreal suburb of Lasalle is slated to close later this month, affecting about 150 jobs.

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Transcontinental is the largest printer in Canada and fourth-largest in North America. It publishes consumer magazines, community newspapers in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces, and French-language educational resources.

It has 11,000 employees in Canada and the United States.

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