The shareholders meeting was today. Here is a comment from the presentation I liked, "Though we refinanced our debt little more than a year ago, we continually monitor the credit markets for opportunities to improve our capital structure and debt costs in advance of the December 2015." The sooner the better.
The amount of actual debt fell by $14.4M over the 40 days from 12/30/2012 to 02/08/2013 (page 13 of the 12/30/2012 10-Q and page 14 of the presentation). Cash was probably drawn down to pay it, but my lack of access to a 02/08/2013 balance sheet makes it difficult to tell.
I really admire Mr. Schmidt (to single out one member of management). That he convinced the creditors not to wipe out the common in 2011 still amazes me! Such a go-to-the-mat-for-the-shareholders attitude is very valuable. There are sooooo many companies whose managements are indifferent or even hostile to the owners (shareholders, that is).
Well, he didn't do it alone...but I agree with you that the executive management team, broadly, is exceptional, and really, the whole corporate culture here is just a model for a committed, values-oriented, value-added, enterprise. The sales culture, and the relentlessness and effectiveness of it, is just "missionary" in its zeal, to me. I ascribe a considerable measure of "intangible" value to this stock, compared to a more "hack outfit" like MNI, where so much of the pride and culture has been lost, cannabilized, or destroyed. (GCI is still pretty good, but I think LEE is so much more attractive at $1.24, compared to GCI at $21.50.)
LEE is a model for a corporate culture. The values are imbued with a Midwestern decency, integrity, and inclusionary style. That makes the employees much more committed to the "enterprise," in a truly messianic team-like fashion, than some of the other publishers where the meat axe has had to come out. Sacrifice is performed by all, when needed, for the greater whole, and people are treated with utmost dignity, is my impression. The product speaks for itself, and there is a very high awareness of not sacrificing quality, for short term cost savings that, again, "cannabilize."
This company is like a religion. It has a huge "heart," and a powerful "will to survive" (for the equity holders). And it's going to be a survivor. The debt is going to be paid down over time. And equity holders are going to earn a 25-40% annualized return, over the long run, imho, based on the current stock price.
In the mean time, I think we'll see $1.50-1.65 again, before the end of this year...and quite possibly by summer.