Overall, adjusted(1) consolidated revenue was $225.8 million and adjusted(1) consolidated EBITDA, including the Company’s share of its joint venture interests, was $29.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2017.  Senior debt was paid down to $37.9 million.  

The environmental, property and financial information operations experienced a very strong year.  Adjusted EBITDA grew despite increasing the level of operational investment in the fast growing REW real estate portal and ERIS. 2017 represented the third year in a row that the environmental, property and financial information operations posted double digit revenue and EBITDA growth.

The commodities sector is recovering, and the Company’s commodity information group is reaping the benefits of this recovery as well as restructuring efforts made in the energy group to shift focus to data information products and digital media. Results were also bolstered by strong performance of the mining information operations which continued to benefit from a full recovery of the mining market. This environment should also aid the Company’s related information businesses as well as the Western Canadian communities that our community media operations serve. 

The community media group made good progress in its efforts to evolve and build its digital media business while leveraging its traditional print and flyer offerings.  The group continues to generate good cash flow that is being used to develop the Company’s growth businesses. While print advertising revenue continued to decline as expected, digital revenues grew 50% and digital profits continued to grow, with progress being made in the Company’s portfolio of digital products and marketing solutions offerings.  

As a result of improved performance in both the community media and commodity information groups, as well as continued growth in the environmental, property and financial information group, fourth quarter performance of the Company improved with adjusted(1) EBITDA increasing 5.8% versus the same period in the prior year.  

Given recent strong growth and positive prospects in a number of its operations, the Company plans to continue to aggressively invest in strategic areas. All of the businesses in the environmental, property and financial information segment continue to grow revenue and profit and are targeting large addressable markets. Investment will continue in these businesses particularly in new product, data and feature development. Within agricultural information, a number of operations including WIN, the agricultural exhibitions and AgDealer are growing, and investment will continue to be made in these areas. The Company also continues to invest in and improve the value of its energy and mining database and subscription offerings, positioning itself as the cyclical downturn reverses. Lastly, the Company’s digital community media operations are expanding and will continue to receive investment.

In support of its growth segments the Company recruited a number of senior personnel with relevant industry experience. Recruitment will continue to be a key focus of the Company.

Given the varied outlook, management plans to continue the progress of the last few years in strengthening the Company’s financial position by further reducing debt. A strengthened balance sheet will mitigate risk while allowing the ongoing and planned operational and capital investments. These investments are necessary to continue the evolution of the Company’s products, services and operations, and to support the growth being realized in a number of the Company’s businesses where substantial shareholder value is being created. 

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