I made a pretty good estimation of Yellow Media’s Q3 projections, my range was EBITDA of $160.4M to $175.8M with them achieving an actual of $166.0M.
Modelling Q4, there are two significant factors worth considering. One has to adjust an amount due to the impact of the LesPAC disposition. There may be an impairment expense dealing with the CanPages fallout that will take effect in Q1-2012. A parenthetical note that has to do with the “I” in EBITDA; one has to make a subtle adjustment to the amount of cash interest the corporation is paying – it will be about $7M less due to debt repayments.
In Q3-2011, the corporation did $166.0M EBITDA; in Q4-2010, the corporation did $192.7M, but Trader Corporation needs to be removed from the equation, thus this is adjusted down to $161.3M. This number itself is artificially low because the company expensed the majority of its income trust to corporation expenses in this quarter. With Trader Corporation, the number is $225.2M, and adjusting Trader out of this was $193.8M as a baseline.
Leaving out my distillation which can compete with alchemy, leaves the following projection, which uses a 14% decay and plus or minus 4% for error bounds:
Higher than expectations: $174.4M or above;
Lower than expectations: $158.9M or below.
I also anticipate the company will announce it will convert the Preferred Shares Series 1 into equity, but this should not surprise the market. A potential surprise, and one I cannot predict, is whether the company will suspend preferred share dividends completely – my model shows that in 2013 the company will face a cash crunch if it cannot renew its credit facility as the Medium Term Notes become due. This does not assume any further asset sales.
There becomes a bit of psychology involved. Payment of preferred share dividends will cost about $29M for 2012, and this is assuming Series 1 and 2 convert into equity at the earliest date. If dividends are suspended, the company will save cash flow but this will not be sufficient to pay off the 2013 Medium Term Notes with existing operational cash flow. If the dividends are not suspended then the company will still not make the 2013 MTN payments unless if they can raise cash through an extension of their credit facility or an asset sale.
However, the market perception might be better later in 2012 than it is currently. It is also more likely that it is more likely there would be some sort of recovery if the company paid preferred share dividends than if it did not.
My guess is that the company will continue paying preferred share dividends for this quarter, but I am not completely sure. I do believe the preferred shareholders will become more vulnerable later in the year when Yellow Media tries to renegotiate the credit facility – if their operations are not to snuff, the bank(s) that are willing to lend to Yellow will likely have as a covenant that preferred shareholders cannot be paid unless if Yellow Media is below certain debt coverage ratios.
I also believe management will bring up the idea of doing a reverse stock split, as the dilution after the conversion of Preferred series 1 and 2 will likely keep the stock price below the psychological barrier of one dollar for some time.
This continues to be a high risk, very high potential reward situation if the company gets it right and stems the decay in revenues. However, it will be a long and drawn out battle as it struggles to raise cash to slay its debt albatross. If you assume the company will not go into creditor protection, the unsecured convertible debentures (TSX: YLO.DB.A) has great value, but again, they are trading at 21 cents to the dollar for a reason – you never know if/when they are going to do a pre-packaged CCAA deal, at least if you are not an insider. Since the unsecured convertible debentures are subordinated to the other components of the debt structure, they will likely be offered a pittance compared to the Medium Term Note holders in such a deal, which explains why they are trading at about half of the Medium Term Notes of comparable coupon and duration.