MAIN NEWS HEADLINES
November 15-30, 2005 Edition
For Third QuarterNEW YORK, NY/11/5/05Viacom Inc., which owns publisher Simon & Schuster, has reported a 10% increase in revenues for the third quarter ended September 30, 2005.
Revenues increased 10% to $5.9 billion from $5.4 billion for the same quarter last year, led by growth of 15% in Cable Networks and 54% in Entertainment, as well as increases in Outdoor and Radio. Viacom’s revenues from advertising climbed 9% led by gains of 17% at Cable Networks and 7% at Television. Operating income rose 5% to $1.4 billion, paced by increases at Cable Networks, Radio, Outdoor, Entertainment and Parks/Publishing.
Effective July 1, 2005, the Company realigned its segments to reflect the new management structure under its Co-Presidents and Co-Chief Operating Officers in anticipation of splitting the company into two. Cable Networks include the results of MTV Networks and BET. Showtime is reported in the Television segment, and Paramount Parks and Simon & Schuster are combined and disclosed in an “all other” category named Parks/Publishing. Prior periods have been reclassified to conform to this presentation.
Splitting the company will allow investors to choose between the “fast-growth” new Viacom, which will include MTV Networks and Paramount Pictures, and the “slow-growth” CBS, comprising the broadcast television network, Infinity radio and Simon & Schuster book publishers, Sumner M. Redstone, chairman and chief executive officer of Viacom, Inc., has said.
Commenting on the third quarter results, Redstone, 82, said “Our operating results for the third quarter not only have us on track for achieving our guidance for the year, but also highlight the rationale and promise of our proposed separation into two companies, which we now expect to complete by the end of the year. The significant strengths of ‘new’ Viacom to deliver consistent double digit bottom line growth and the proven cash generation ability of CBS Corporation will underpin their performance and define their attractiveness to investors in the future.
“For the third quarter of 2005, we exhibited revenue growth in nearly every major segment, paced by ad sales growth at MTV Networks and BET, as well as at CBS and UPN. Our radio and television stations also turned in higher results that outpaced their respective industries and our motion picture operations turned in its best summer ever. Operating income gains from Cable Networks, Entertainment and Outdoor fueled 5% operating income growth in the quarter and more than offset declines in the Television segment, where ad sales increases of 7% were unable to match results from the year-earlier quarter which were driven primarily by the strong initial television syndication sales of the CBS hit franchise series, CSI. Additionally, the superior cash flow generation of our operations enabled us to return value to shareholders through our continuing stock purchase program, which was a major contributor to our 12% per diluted share increase in net earnings from continuing operations in the quarter.”
Third quarter results included several non-recurring items which reduced operating income by approximately $58 million. The Company recorded an impairment charge of approximately $19 million related to the sale of two TV stations. Also, damage from hurricanes Katrina and Rita cost the Company $7 million in revenues and $15 million in expenses, principally in Outdoor, Television and Cable Networks segments. In addition, Viacom recorded expenses of $17 million associated with its previously announced plans to separate into two publicly traded companies by the end of 2005. Viacom has filed a registration statement on Form S-4 with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the separation.
Net earnings per diluted share from continuing operations in the third quarter of 2005 increased 12% to $.47 per diluted share compared with $.42 per diluted share in the prior year, reflecting a 2% increase in net earnings from continuing operations to $735 million from $722 million in the same quarter last year.
For the third quarter of 2005, Viacom’s free cash flow increased to $879 million from $543 million for the same prior-year period, as higher earnings from continuing operations and improvements in working capital were partially offset by higher cash taxes and increases in capital expenditures. Free cash flow reflects the Company’s net cash flow from operating activities of $1.0 billion less capital expenditures of $134 million.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2005, revenues increased 9% to $17.3 billion and operating income increased 5% to $4.0 billion, paced by Cable Networks, Entertainment and Outdoor. Net earnings from continuing operations was $2.1 billion, or $1.30 per diluted share, for the nine-month period compared with $2.1 billion, or $1.19 per diluted share for the same prior-year period which included a tax benefit of $149 million, or $.09 per diluted share, from the resolution of income tax audits and $34 million, net of tax, or $.02 per diluted share for severance charges in 2004. Excluding these prior year items and the $19 million of expenses incurred during the first nine months of 2005 associated with the Company’s separation, net earnings from continuing operations increased 8% with diluted earnings per share growth of 17% for the nine months ended September 30, 2005.
Free cash flow for the nine months ended September 30, 2005 was $2.6 billion compared with $2.4 billion for the same prior-year period reflecting higher earnings and improvements in working capital partially offset by higher cash taxes and capital expenditures.
The Company remains on track to deliver mid single-digit growth in revenues and operating income and high single-digit growth in earnings per share. The Company’s 2005 business outlook is based on 2004 revenues of $22.1 billion, operating income of $5.1 billion and diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of $1.54, which reflect Famous Players as a discontinued operation and also excludes the non-cash impairment and severance charges and the tax benefit recorded in 2004. The 2005 outlook excludes expenses associated with the Company’s announced separation.