Courier Records Modest Declines in Q4, Net Loss for Fiscal Year
Book manufacturing revenues were down 8%, reflecting declines in educational and religious sales. In education, solid growth in college textbook sales was offset by the effects of widespread budget shortfalls at the elementary and high school levels. Religious sales were also down for the year, reflecting the recession’s impact on religious donations. In specialty trade, the company’s successful pursuit of new customers enabled a modest rise in sales despite overall market weakness.
“As expected, we did better in the fourth quarter than earlier in the year,” said Courier Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James F. Conway III. “While we continued to wrestle with the worst recession in decades, we were helped by the tough measures we took early in the downturn to reduce operating costs and align our capacity with market conditions. In addition to winding down Creative Homeowner’s distribution operation, those measures included closing a small one-color book manufacturing plant, consolidating one-color work at other manufacturing facilities and reducing our overall employee base by 12%. Equally important, we did all this without compromising either our service to customers or our investment in the future.
“Finally, despite the market turbulence, our cash flow and financial condition remained strong. We finished fiscal 2009 with our debt paid down by more than $10 million, to $13.6 million, while also returning another $10 million in dividends to shareholders. I am pleased to report that once again this morning, Courier’s Board of Directors declared a dividend of $.21 per share, the same as last quarter.”
Book manufacturing: continuing strength in higher education
Courier’s book manufacturing segment had fourth-quarter sales of $58.8 million, down 8% from $63.5 million last year. Operating income in the fourth quarter was $8.0 million, including $1.0 million of restructuring costs related to the closing of a one-color printing plant in February 2009. Fourth-quarter operating income in fiscal 2008 was $10.4 million.