Printing company Quad/Graphics, which counts among its clients Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith and Rodale, managed to do better in EBITDA and cash flow than it planned, despite relatively flat revenues, according to its full-year 2011 financials out this week.
The printing market has been highly volatile and unpredictable, and Quad has not been alone in its laser focus on cost reductions and operating efficiencies. By the end of last year, 6,200 full-time positions had been cut since it closed on the Worldcolor acquisition in July 2010 along with 12 plant closures.
Full-year revenues for 2011 were $4.67 billion, down only slightly from 2010’s $4.67 billion. EBITDA was $638 million, however, which was higher than its original guidance of $610 to $625 million. Cash flow also came out better than planned—$340 million versus original estimates of $260 million to $300 million.
The company was able to pay down $163 million in debt in the fourth quarter and $325 million since its Worldcolor acquisition. Quad’s debt ratio is now 2.3x, with total long-term debt at about $1.3 billion.
The Worldcolor acquisition was expected to create $250 million in cost-saving synergies, of which Quad says $196 million was realized by the end of 2011.
The cash flow and debt reduction contributed to the company’s 25 percent increase in its quarterly dividend.
To remain competitive, Quad says it’s continuing to invest in multiplatform technologies and set aside $168 million in capital projects in 2011 and plans to invest another $125 million this year.
Meanwhile, Quad just announced it has completed the sale of its Canadian assets to Transcontinental—a deal in which the assets were essentially exchanged for Transcontinental’s Mexican operations.