Although Penton Media closed 2005 with slim figures (see Folio: Alert, March 23), irst quarter financials for the company are looking a bit brighter. Revenues increased 1.8 percent over the same period last year, topping off at $54.3 million, despite the shift of moving three onferences traditionally held in the first quarter to the second quarter this year.
Publishing revenues were down from $32.7 million to $31.8 million for the first quarter, a 2.7 percent decrease. The company reported softness in its manufacturing, government and electronic titles. The lifestyle category showed revenues up 12 percent over the first quarter last year, which includes the company’s largest event, Expo West. Retail and technology categories showed losses of 4 and 7 percent, respectively. Events revenues show a 5.3 percent improvement to $17.4 million, while online ventures accounted for $5.1 million in revenue, up 24.1 percent from last year. A surge in online initiatives including 76 webinars in the first quarter helped add to this increase, the company reported in its earnings statement.
First quarter EBITDA was $17.2 million, up 11.1 percent from last year’s $15.4 million. Net income was up more than 200 percent from last year’s $1.8 million, rounding out at $5.5 million. Last year’s first quarter net income results were, however, impacted by a $1.6 million buyback of bonds and a $2.8 million loss from discontinued operations.
In late March, Penton filed a preliminary proxy statement that included a request that shareholders give the board authority at its annual meeting, which was held this past Tuesday, to implement a 1-to-32 reverse stock split. The rarely used split would have reduced the number of common shares outstanding from 34.4 million to slightly more than one million and increased the value of the stock from about 53 cents to $16. Analysts previously told FOLIO: that the measure is often taken by companies in financial trouble, rather than companies like Penton, which has grown its EDITDA from $14 million to $46 million in 2005. In mid-April, the company abandoned plans for the reverse stock split without explanation.