ALMA MEDIA CORP. PRESS RELEASE 10 FEBRUARY 2006, 10.00 1(1)
ALMA MEDIA GAINS NEW MARKETPLACES IN KIEV AND TALLINN
Alma Media is expanding its classified services business into areas with faster economic growth than Finland. The company has acquired a majority holding in a used vehicle marketplace in Tallinn, Estonia, and has also set up a City24 property portal company in Kiev, Ukraine.
Internet penetration in the Tallinn region is at the same level as in Finland. Alma Media has acquired an 80 % majority holding in AS Autoinfo in Tallinn, which maintains the online marketplace autoinfo.ee for used cars. Cream International, which developed the portal's technology and is responsible for its maintenance, will continue as a minority shareholder with a 20 % holding.
In January 2005 Alma Media acquired City24.ee in Tallinn and during the same year launched new City24 marketplaces in Riga, the capital of Latvia, and Vilnius, capital of Lithuania. Net sales of City24.ee in Tallinn grew by more than 60 %, while operations in Latvia and Lithuania have also made a good start.
Based on its good experience in these Baltic countries, Alma Media has decided to expand its property marketplace business to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. Ukraine has a population of about 48 million, 2.7 million of whom live in Kiev. A new company, TOB City24, has been set up in Kiev which will launch a property marketplace later this spring. The service is based on the technical platform developed in the Baltic countries. Alma Media holds 70 % of this company, the remaining shares being owned by the company's key employees.
Alma Media will henceforth report its Marketplaces business in two segments: Domestic and International. Net sales of Domestic operations this year will total slightly less than EUR 20 million. International operations will have net sales in excess of one million euros and record a loss. The profitability of the whole Marketplaces group will improve compared to last year.
Senior Vice President Raimo Mäkilä, tel. +358 10 665 5802, +358 40 546 1892
DISTRIBUTION: Helsinki Exchanges, principal media