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Transcontinental Reports Improved Profitability in Fourth Quarter

December 15, 2009
• In the fourth quarter 2009 — Growth of 15% in adjusted operating income before amortization despite 9% decrease in revenues compared to 2008.

• For fiscal 2009 — Decrease of 3% in adjusted operating income before amortization4 and 6% in revenues compared to fiscal 2008.

MONTREAL—December 15, 2009—Cost savings of close to $80 million from the rationalization plan which Transcontinental quickly instituted to counter the recession and the multiple efficiency gains which resulted; start of major printing contracts, including those for the San Francisco Chronicle and Rogers Communications; ongoing investments over the past several years in technology, new media and brand development; and the solid performance of educational book publishing and door-to-door distribution operations: those are the main factors that enabled Transcontinental to improve its profitability from quarter to quarter in 2009 and to end the year with a strong fourth quarter.

Reflecting this performance, adjusted operating income before amortization grew steadily during the year, culminating with 15% growth in the fourth quarter. Transcontinental also outdid its performance in 2008 in the past two quarters, despite the continued weakness in the economy.

“I am particularly proud of our operating performance in the fourth quarter—one of the best in our history—and the steady improvement in our financial results over the course of the year in very turbulent conditions,” said François Olivier, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are making it through this serious recession by doing better than most of our main competitors and gaining back much of the ground lost compared to 2008. We are dealing with the recession responsibly and with discipline. We also reacted right from the very start, and we did it in the Transcontinental way, calling on our people across the company to mobilize, be innovative and execute. They responded by coming up with new ways to improve efficiency and cut costs, and put forward original ideas for development. I want to thank them for their commitment, in a difficult time, to the interests of all employees and the long-term health of Transcontinental.

“We also signed financing agreements for a total of $888 million despite the tight credit situation, and we did so at competitive rates. I see this as acknowledgement by investors of our financial credibility, as well as their confidence in our growth strategy and prospects for the future. We plan to maintain our prudent balance between profits, costs, debt and investments.

Olivier continued, saying “the recurring cost savings of about $110 million a year achieved with our rationalization plan, our financial situation that allowed us in 2009—and will enable us in 2010—to further invest in our development, particularly in digital, and our decision to concentrate our new marketing communication services in a separate sector to encourage their expansion, put us in an excellent position to profit from the business opportunities that will arise in the next year in our continually evolving markets. Transcontinental is now more flexible and focused more than ever on its assets and strategic priorities. I am confident about the future.”

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