Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Voyager to Take $45mm Charge

Voyager Learning will take a $35-45mm non-cash charge against its 2006 operating results as a result of the sale of Proquest Information and Learning. PQIL was sold in 2007 to Cambridge Information Group for $222mm. The write down represents 20% of the value of the business unit and in retrospect it is hard to understand how that purchase price could have been effectively negotiated given the current accounting disclosures. On the earnings call last week, Mr. Richard Surratt, Voyager Company's President and CEO noted that they will also take a non-cash charge against goodwill for the purchase of Voyager. In November, Mr. Surrat noted that they expected to have their 2006 10-Qs and 10-K competed by the end of the first quarter 2008; however, they are six weeks behind and do not expect to have that work completed until mid-May. They do expect to have their financial reports for 2007 completed by July.

Mr. Surratt went on to note the status of several lawsuit against the company but there is little change here since the last update in November. He was joined on the call by Ron Klausner, President, and Brad Almond, CFO, of Voyager Expanded Learning.

On an operating basis the company appears to be performing consistently and is stable given a challenging operating environment. Mr. Almond commented on the full year results:

For the fiscal year ending December 29, 2007, the Voyager operating business had preliminary revenue of $110 million, earnings before interest and taxes, or EBIT, of $8 million and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, of $30 million. These three results each fall within the guidance we gave in November. This compares to 2006 preliminary revenue of $ 115 million, EBIT of $ 6 million and EBITDA of $ 30 million.

In his comments, Mr Klausner concluded the call with a number of comments about the operating environment faced by the company.
We have a terrific track record in developing capabilities that address very difficult problems. While some of our competitors are creating uncertainty and doubt about us as a result of the board's decision to consider strategic alternatives, we are encouraged by how well these new capabilities have been received in the market. Based on the explosive growth in usage of Ticket to Read and the early feedback on the redesign of Passport, we continue to be optimistic that our focus on researched based curriculum, high levels of implementation support, embedded professional development, and web based practice will be rewarded.
The company expects to continue their gradual operating improvement with anticipated 2008 revenue in the range of $111 to $119 million, EBIT between $6 and $10 million, and EBITDA between $28 and $32 million.

Call Transcript

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