Agricore United's (TSX: AU) Board of Directors today increased its quarterly dividend to $0.04 per share on the Limited Voting Common Shares payable on February 15, 2007 to shareholders of record at the close of business on December 29, 2006.
On November 30, 2006, Agricore United reported record gross profit and net revenues from services (gross profit), earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), and cash flow provided by operations for its fiscal year ended October 31, 2006. These results reflected the culmination of five consecutive years of improvement with compound annual growth rates in gross profit, EBITDA and cash flow provided by operations of 4 percent, 17 percent and 40 percent, respectively. The Company's focus over the last few years on reserving cash to reduce its debt levels coupled with its recent debt refinancing efforts has significantly strengthened the Company's financial position.
Since September 2003, the Company has declared quarterly dividends of $0.03 per share on Limited Voting Common Shares. "In its 100 year history, Agricore United has consistently paid dividends each year except for three years during the 1930's," says Wayne Drul, Board Chair. "On the strength of our steadily improving financial results, I am very pleased to continue that track record today by declaring an increase in our quarterly dividend."
References to EBITDA are to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, gains or losses on disposal of assets and loss on settlement of swaps and are provided to assist securityholders in determining the ability of AU to generate cash flow from operations to cover financial charges, before income and expense items from investing activities, income taxes and items not considered to be in the ordinary course of business. The items excluded in the determination of EBITDA include items that are non-cash in nature, income taxes, financing charges or otherwise not considered to be in the ordinary course of business. EBITDA provides important management information concerning business segment performance since AU does not allocate financing charges or income taxes to these individual segments. EBITDA should not be considered in isolation of or as a substitute for (i) net income or loss, as an indicator of an entity's operating performance, or (ii) cash flows from operating, investing and financing activities, as a measure of an entity's liquidity. EBITDA does not have a standardized meaning prescribed by Canadian generally accepted accounting principles and is therefore unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other issuers.
Agricore United is one of Canada's leading agri-businesses with headquarters in Winnipeg, Manitoba and extensive operations and distribution capabilities across western Canada as well as operations in the United States and Japan. Agricore United uses its technology, services and logistics expertise to leverage its network of facilities and connect agricultural customers to domestic and international customers and suppliers. The company's operations are diversified into sales of crop inputs and services, grain merchandising, livestock production services and financial services. Agricore United's common shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "AU".
Vice-President, Corporate Finance and Investor Relations
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