You can say one thing about Yellow Media Inc. ’s earnings this week – they won’t be as bad as last time.
The last time the phone book publisher pushed out a quarterly earnings release, it was forced to take a $2.9-billion goodwill writedown. That’s a number that will get you some uncomfortable headlines, but the more routine financials weren’t any more confidence inspiring.
The Montreal-based company, which publishes directories across Canada and offers digital advertising and marketing services, saw its print business decline by 15 per cent. Online revenue was up, but not nearly enough to cover the drop in print revenues. Total revenues fell 9 per cent, to $323.4-million.
So what to expect as the company reports the end of its fiscal year? Analysts are looking for a profit of 46 cents a share for the year, down from 65 cents in 2010, according to Standard & Poor’s Capital IQ.
But they will also be looking for some answers – the company quietly revamped its Canpages Inc. division last week, shuttering an unconfirmed number of offices as it stops publishing an unspecified number of phone books and lays off an unspecified number of employees.
The company says it is hiring a lot of the Canpages employees back. Dozens of employees beg to differ, saying that hundreds of people have been handed permanent pink slips.
Given that Yellow Media paid $225-million for the division just under two years ago, it’s a likely topic of conversation as analysts get a chance to directly question executives.
Especially in the context of an entire year, which included a shakeup of top leadership, a $708-million sale of its Trader Corp. unit in an effort to pay down debt, and share price 97 per cent lower than a year ago.
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