March 13, 2008 / 3:14 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-Transcontinental profit rises, hikes dividend

(Adds details, comments, background, stock price)

TORONTO, March 13 (Reuters) - Commercial printer Transcontinental Inc (TCLa.TO)(TCLb.TO) reported a jump in its first-quarter profits on Thursday as revenue rose despite the strength of the Canadian dollar.

The company also raised its dividend 14 percent to 32 Canadian cents a year from 28 Canadian cents as “acquisitions made during 2007 offset the negative impact of the exchange rate between the Canadian dollar and U.S. and Mexican currencies.”

It also signaled dealmaking will continue to be a part of its strategy. Chief Executive Francois Olivier said the company plans to “continue investing in our development, notably through acquisitions.”

Transcontinental, based in Montreal, said it earned C$34.1 million ($34.8 million), or 41 Canadian cents a share, in the three months ended Jan. 31. That was up from a profit of C$20.2 million, or 23 Canadian cents a share, in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue rose 4 percent -- 8 percent if foreign exchange impact is excluded -- to C$596 million, Transcontinental said.

“We are reaping the benefits of our major restructuring projects and investments of recent years,” Olivier said.

“Our solid financial position also gives us the flexibility needed to better serve both existing and new customers, as demonstrated by the new contract to print the Rogers magazine portfolio.”

Transcontinental announced last month that it had signed an exclusive C$210-million deal to print the entire magazine portfolio of Rogers Communications Inc (RCIb.TO).

The pact with Rogers, Canada’s biggest magazine publisher, is a six-year agreement and takes effect in February 2009.

Transcontinental shares were up 43 Canadian cents at C$15.70 on the Toronto Stock Exchange shortly after the results were released.

$1=$0.98 Canadian Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; Editing by Peter Galloway

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