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Ascent Capital Group Announces Financial Results For The Three Months Ended March 31, 2013

by Moni Blogger | May 09, 2013

Englewood, CO – May 9, 2013 – Ascent Capital Group, Inc. (“Ascent” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: ASCMA) has reported results for the three months ended March 31, 2013. Ascent is a holding company that owns Monitronics International, Inc. (“Monitronics”), one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing home security alarm monitoring companies.

Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Monitronics provides security alarm monitoring services to more than 818,000 residential and commercial customers as of March 31, 2013. Monitronics’ long-term monitoring contracts provide high margin recurring revenue that results in predictable and stable cash flow.

Highlights1:

• Ascent’s net revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2013 increased 22.3%, driven by increases in Monitronics’ subscriber accounts and increases in average recurring monthly revenue (RMR) per subscriber
• Ascent’s Adjusted EBITDA2 for the three months ended March 31, 2013 increased 27.2%
• Ascent’s balance sheet remains strong with $222.3 million of cash and marketable securities
• Monitronics’ Adjusted EBITDA for the three months ended March 31, 2013 increased 22.9%
Monitronics subscriber accounts as of March 31, 2013 increased 15.8% to 818,335
Monitronics average RMR per subscriber as of March 31, 2013 increased 5.3% to $39.74
• Monitronics completed the repricing of its Senior Secured Credit Facility and amended its interest rate swap arrangements
Monitronics expects the repricing will result in a pro forma annualized interest expense savings of approximately $8.1 million

Ascent Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Bill Fitzgerald stated, “The business is off to a solid start in 2013 with Monitronics reporting strong double-digit growth in subscribers, revenue and Adjusted EBITDA in the first quarter. Monitronics also successfully completed the repricing of its Senior Secured Credit Facility which will provide significant annual cost savings as well as increased flexibility to invest in future growth.

“At the holding company level, we remain focused on acquisitions in the alarm monitoring and related security industry and are confident we will identify and execute on new opportunities that will drive attractive returns for our shareholders.”

Mike Haislip, President and Chief Executive Officer of Monitronics said, “We delivered another solid performance in the first quarter with 22 percent growth in revenue and 23 percent growth in Adjusted EBITDA. We also saw a 15.8% increase in total subscriber accounts. As previously predicted, attrition levels increased modestly in the quarter given the age of accounts in our portfolio and an increase in disconnects due to relocations as the housing market continues its recovery. Our predictive data indicates that we should expect an increase in attrition through the second and third quarters of 2013 before moderating in the fourth quarter. Finally, our suite of advanced services continued to be an attractive option for subscribers with 48 percent of new customers in the quarter signing up for some form of home automation or interactive services. Despite the increase in telecom and field service costs associated with these services, they continue to provide our business with strong revenue and RMR growth.”

(1 Comparisons are year-over-year unless otherwise specified.)
(2 For a definition of Adjusted EBITDA and applicable reconciliations, see the Appendix to this release. Ascent’s net income for the three months ended March 31, 2013 totaled $2.8 million compared to a net loss of $5.1 million for the three months ended March 31,
2012.)

Three Months Ended March 31, 2013 Results

Ascent Capital Group, Inc.

For the three months ended March 31, 2013, Ascent reported net revenue of $100.2 million, an increase of 22.3% compared to $81.9 million for the three months ended March 31, 2012. This increase in net revenue is primarily attributable to increases in Monitronics’ subscriber accounts and average RMR per subscriber.

Ascent’s total cost of services for the three months ended March 31, 2013 increased 37.5% to $15.2 million. This increase is primarily due to an increased number of accounts monitored across the cellular network and a higher number of customers receiving interactive and home automation services, which result in higher operating and service costs.

Selling, general & administrative (“SG&A”) costs for the three months ended March 31, 2013 increased 10.8% to $19.7 million, primarily attributable to increases in Monitronics SG&A expenses. The increase in Monitronics SG&A is primarily attributable to increased payroll expenses of approximately $1.0 million. Additionally, Ascent’s consolidated stock-based compensation expense increased approximately $528,000 over the corresponding prior year period, related to restricted stock and option awards granted to certain employees. For the three months ended March 31, 2013, Ascent’s Adjusted EBITDA increased 27.2% to $71.3 million. This increase in Adjusted EBITDA is primarily due to revenue growth at Monitronics, partially offset by higher operating and service costs.

For the three months ended March 31, 2013, Ascent recorded a one-time pre-tax gain of $3.2 million related to the divestiture of an equity investment tied to the Company’s legacy businesses. Ascent also divested $1.1 million in legacy real estate assets resulting in a one-time pre-tax gain of $141,000 during the three months ended March 31, 2013.

Ascent reported net income from continuing operations for the three months ended March 31, 2013 of $2.3 million, compared to a net loss of $4.9 million in the three months ended March 31, 2012.

Monitronics International

For the three months ended March 31, 2013, Monitronics reported net revenue of $100.2 million, an increase of 22.3% compared to $81.9 million for the three months ended March 31, 2012. The increase in net revenue is attributable to a 15.8% increase in the number of subscriber accounts and a 5.3% increase in average RMR per subscriber to $39.74 as of March 31, 2013.

Monitronics’ total cost of services for the three months ended March 31, 2013 increased 37.5% to $15.2 million. The increase for the three months ended March 31, 2013 is primarily attributable to an increased number of accounts monitored across the cellular network and an increase in interactive and home automation services, resulting in higher operating and service costs.

Monitronics SG&A costs for the three months ended March 31, 2013 increased 10.8% to $15.9 million compared to the prior year period. The increased Monitronics SG&A costs are primarily attributable to increased payroll expenses of approximately $1.0 million.

Monitronics’ Adjusted EBITDA for the three months ended March 31, 2013 was $69.4 million, an increase of 22.9% over the three months ended March 31, 2012. The increase in Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter is primarily due to revenue and subscriber growth. Monitronics’ Adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of revenue was 69.3% in the first quarter of 2013, compared to 69.0% for the three months ended March 31, 2012.

Monitronics reported net income for the three months ended March 31, 2013 of $1.3 million compared to a net loss of $3.8 million in the prior year period.

For the three months ended March 31, 2013, Monitronics purchased 28,460 subscriber accounts, compared to 24,174 subscriber accounts in the three months ended March 31, 2012. Purchases from Monitronics’ core account generation engine, or the accounts that Monitronics buys from authorized dealers on a recurring basis, remained strong this quarter, up 11.5 percent over the same quarter in 2012.

Monitronics’ trailing twelve month attrition for the period ended March 31, 2013 increased to 12.2% from 11.3% for the twelve months ended March 31, 2012. As expected, attrition levels increased due to the age of accounts in our portfolio and an increase in disconnections due to higher household relocations.

Credit Facility Repricing

On March 25, 2013, Monitronics completed the repricing of its Senior Secured Credit Facility, which is comprised of a $150.0 million revolver and a Term Loan B under which $688.8 million remains outstanding. The repriced facility will now have an interest rate of LIBOR plus 3.25% with a LIBOR floor of 1.00% for the Term Loan B and an interest rate of LIBOR plus 3.75% with a LIBOR floor of 1.00% for the revolver. Concurrently, Monitronics extended the maturity of its
Senior Secured Revolving Credit Facility by nine months to December 22, 2017.

In conjunction with the repricing, Monitronics also amended its interest rate swap arrangements resulting in a new weighted average fixed interest rate of 5.0% on its Term Loan B, as compared to 6.2% formerly. Monitronics expects that the repricing will result in pro forma annualized interest expense savings of approximately $8.1 million.

Ascent Liquidity and Capital Resources

At March 31, 2013, on a consolidated basis, Ascent had $100.4 million of cash and cash equivalents, $2.6 million of restricted cash and $142.9 million of marketable securities. The Company may use a portion of these assets to decrease debt obligations, fund stock repurchases, or fund strategic acquisitions or investment opportunities.

During the three months ended March 31, 2013, Monitronics used cash of $46.0 million to fund purchases of subscriber accounts net of holdback and guarantee obligations.

At March 31, 2013, the existing long-term debt of Monitronics includes the principal balance of $1.1 billion under its Senior Notes, Credit Facility, and Credit Revolver. The Senior Notes have an outstanding principal balance of $410.0 million as of March 31, 2013 and mature on April 1, 2020. The Credit Facility term loan has an outstanding principal balance of $688.8 million as of March 31, 2013 and requires principal payments of $1.7 million per quarter with the remaining outstanding balance becoming due on March 23, 2018. The Credit Facility revolver has an outstanding balance of $21.5 million as of March 31, 2013 and becomes due on December 22, 2017.

Forward Looking Statements

This press release includes certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements about business strategies, acquisition opportunities, market potential, consumer demand for interactive and home automation services, the integration of acquired assets and businesses, estimated interest expense savings, future financial prospects and other matters that are not historical facts. These forward-looking statements involve many risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements, including, without limitation, possible changes in market acceptance of our services, technological innovations in the alarm monitoring industry, competitive issues, continued access to capital on terms acceptable to Ascent, our ability to capitalize on acquisition opportunities, general market and economic conditions, and changes in law and government regulations. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release, and Ascent expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to disseminate any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement contained herein to reflect any change in Ascent’s expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based. Please refer to the publicly filed documents of Ascent, including the most recent Form 10-K and 10-Q, for additional information about Ascent and about the risks and uncertainties related to Ascent’s business which may affect the statements made in this press release.

About Ascent Capital Group, Inc.

Ascent is a holding company and owns 100 percent of its operating subsidiary, Monitronics, one of the nation's largest, fastest-growing home security alarm monitoring companies, headquartered in Dallas, TX, and certain former subsidiaries of Ascent Media Group, LLC.

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