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Press release from CNW Group

CI Financial reports 2011 financial results: Earnings per share increase 15%; dividend raised 7%

Thursday, February 16, 2012

CI Financial reports 2011 financial results: Earnings per share increase 15%; dividend raised 7%12:04 EST Thursday, February 16, 2012TSX Symbol: CIXTORONTO, Feb. 16, 2012 /CNW/ - CI Financial Corp. ("CI") today released audited financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2011.HIGHLIGHTSYear endedDecember 31, 2011($millions exceptper share amounts)Year endedDecember 31, 2010($millions exceptper share amounts)% changeAverage Assets Under Management72,18665,71910EBITDA Per Share 12.532.329Earnings Per Share1.311.1415Net income376.9328.615Dividends Recorded Per Share0.890.7716Net Debt2731789(7)SG&A Expenses40 bps40 bps0Free Cash Flow43334426HIGHLIGHTSQuarter endedDecember 31, 2011($millions exceptper share amounts)Quarter endedSeptember 30, 2011($millions exceptper share amounts)% changeQuarter endedDecember 31, 2010($millions exceptper share amounts)% changeAverage Assets Under Management69,34970,823(2)69,2970EBITDA Per Share 10.610.6100.62(2)Earnings Per Share0.310.32(3)0.303Dividends Recorded Per Share0.230.2300.2110SG&A Expenses40 bps40 bps042 bps(5)Free Cash Flow10410409951 EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) is not a standardized earnings measures prescribed by IFRS; however, management believes that most of its shareholders, creditors, other stakeholders and investment analysts prefer to include the use of these performance measures in analyzing CI's results. CI's method of calculating this measure may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies.2 Includes amounts required for working capital.For the year ended December 31, 2011, average assets under management were $72.2 billion, an increase of 10% from the previous year. At December 31, 2011, ending assets under management were $69.6 billion, down 4% from $72.8 billion at December 31, 2010. Over the past two months, positive market performance has resulted in CI's assets under management reaching $72.2 billion at February 15, 2012, up 4% from the average assets under management for the quarter ended December 31, 2011.For the year ended December 31, 2011, CI reported earnings per share of $1.31, 15% higher than the previous year - a result of higher average assets under management combined with stable operating margins achieved through consistent expense management. In addition, CI reported EBITDA per share of $2.53, a 9% increase from 2010.For the quarter ended December 31, 2011, CI reported earnings per share of $0.31, up from $0.30 per share in the fourth quarter of 2010 and down slightly from the third quarter of 2011. In comparison, the average quarterly level of the S&P/TSX Composite Index was down 7% year over year and down 5% from the third quarter."We had exceptional results for the year and fourth quarter, in what was a challenging environment," said Stephen A. MacPhail, CI President and Chief Executive Officer. "During the year, we continued to find operating efficiencies and redirected the savings into enhancing our sales and marketing, investment management and Assante operations. At the same time, our earnings outperformed the TSX considerably with minimal volatility. For our shareholders, this resulted in a 15% increase in earnings, higher dividends, a strong balance sheet and surplus cash used to repurchase $95 million in shares.""Furthermore, the growth in assets for the year-to-date, combined with our expectation for continued strong free cash flow and earnings, set the stage for our decision to increase CI's dividend by 7%, effective in March."CI successfully controlled discretionary spending, keeping the growth in expenses in line with the growth in assets under management. Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses as a percentage of average assets under management were 0.40% in 2011, unchanged from the prior year.CI generated $433.5 million in free cash flow during the year ended December 31, 2011, up 26% from $343.7 million in 2010. The strength of CI's cash flow facilitated a reduction in net debt by $58.4 million, the payment of $254.2 million in dividends and the repurchase of 4.7 million shares at a cost of $95.2 million. As of January 31, 2012, CI had 283,633,366 shares outstanding.Gross sales of funds for the year ended December 31, 2011 were $9.1 billion compared to $9.8 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010. Total redemptions in 2011 were $8.8 billion, unchanged from the previous year. CI had net sales of $0.3 billion in the year ending December 31, 2011.The Board of Directors declared monthly cash dividends of $0.08 per share payable on each of March 15, April 13 and May 15, 2012 to shareholders of record on February 29, March 31 and April 30, 2012, respectively. The monthly dividend represents a yield of 4.4% on CI's closing share price of $21.90 on February 15, 2012.For detailed financial statements for the quarter ended December 31, 2011, including Management's Discussion and Analysis, please refer to CI's website at www.ci.com/cix under Reports, or contact investorrelations@ci.com.Analysts' Conference Call CI will hold a conference call with analysts today at 4 p.m. Eastern time. Speaking on the call will be Stephen MacPhail, President and Chief Executive Officer and Douglas Jamieson, Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer. The conference call and a slide presentation will be accessible through a webcast at www.ci.com/q4. Alternatively, investors may listen to the discussion by dialling (416) 340-2217 or 1-866-696-5910 (passcode: 2211452).The call will be available for playback later that day until March 1, 2012 at (905) 694-9451 or 1-800-408-3053 (passcode: 5532613). The webcast will be archived at www.ci.com/q4.CI Financial Corp. (TSX: CIX) is an independent, Canadian-owned wealth management company. CI offers a broad range of investment products and services, including an industry-leading selection of investment funds, and is on the Web at www.ci.com/cix.This press release contains forward-looking statements with respect to CI and its products and services, including its business operations and strategy and financial performance and condition. Although management believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, such statements involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations include, among other things, general economic and market factors, including interest rates, business competition, changes in government regulations or in tax laws, and other factors discussed in materials filed with applicable securities regulatory authorities from time to time.  For further information: Stephen A. MacPhail President and Chief Executive Officer CI Financial Corp. (416) 364-1145