Press Release: Scholastic Reports Fiscal 2015 Second Quarter Results
As previously announced, the Company's Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.15 per share on the Company's Class A and Common Stock for the third quarter of fiscal 2015. The dividend is payable on March 16, 2015 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on January 30, 2015.
Real Estate Update
The Company previously announced that it is reconfiguring the ground floor of its headquarters location at 557 Broadway in an effort to maximize the value of the retail component of the building. As a result, the Company stated it would close its retail store in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City by mid-January 2015.
Defined Benefit Pension Plan
During the quarter, the Company offered certain former employees the option of receiving one-time lump sum payments from the plan, and recorded a non-cash pre-tax settlement charge of $3.7 million in connection with these payments. The settlement charge accelerates the recognition of unrecognized pension benefit costs that would have been incurred in subsequent periods.
For the first half of fiscal 2015, revenue was $949.4 million, compared to $899.5 million in the prior year period, an increase of $49.9 million, or 6%. Earnings per diluted share in the first half of the fiscal year were $1.04, compared to $0.88 a year ago, including one-time charges of $0.14 and $0.39 per diluted share, respectively. The higher revenues are mainly attributable to stronger performance of the Company's book clubs and book fairs, and also in classroom books, all evidence of a greater focus on the impact of independent reading on improved student performance, as well as increased circulation of classroom magazines, whose print and digital offerings are a low-cost supplement to address Common Core's requirement for non-fiction reading. This was partially offset by lower sales and profits in the Company's Educational Technology and Services operations and the impact of foreign exchange on the Company's international operations. On a year-to-date basis, the Company generated free cash flow of $48.8 million, compared to $35.6 million in the previous year.