Press Release: Scholastic Reports Fiscal 2015 Second Quarter Results
New York - December 18, 2014 - Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL), the global children's publishing, education and media company, today reported financial results for the Company's fiscal 2015 second quarter ended November 30, 2014.
Revenue in the second quarter was $665.6 million, compared to $623.2 million a year ago, an increase of 7%. The Company reported second quarter earnings per diluted share of $2.05, versus $1.80 in the prior year period. Results for the second quarter of the current fiscal year include one-time expenses of $0.12 per diluted share, which are detailed below. The prior year period included one-time expenses of $0.35 per diluted share. Excluding one-time items, second quarter earnings per diluted share were $2.17 versus $2.15 in the prior year period.
Second quarter results were largely driven by strong sales in children's books, especially in the Company's school-based distribution channels, and continued growth in classroom books and magazines. These gains were partially offset by the adverse effect of foreign exchange on the Company's international business and higher planned investment in technology infrastructure, as well as lower sales of the Company's educational technology products and reduced revenues in Canada. The operating income increase in children's books was also affected by a favorable comparison as a result of a one-time impairment charge taken in the prior year period and lower levels of investment in Storia® in the current quarter.
During the second quarter, the Company generated free cash flow (as defined) of $125.7 million, compared to $129.4 million in the prior year period. At quarter-end, the Company's net debt (as defined) was $61.3 million. A year ago, cash and cash equivalents exceeded the Company's total debt by $107.6 million, prior to the Company's strategic purchase of its headquarters location in New York City in February 2014. In the second quarter, Scholastic repaid $94.7 million of debt, distributed $5.1 million in dividends to its shareholders, and repurchased $3.5 million of its common stock in open-market transactions.