INTERIM REPORT JANUARY - MARCH 2000
ALMA MEDIA CORP. STOCK EXCHANGE BULLETIN 11 MAY 2000, 8.30 AM INTERIM REPORT JANUARY - MARCH 2000 Alma Medias net sales between January-March totalled MFIM 712 (1999: MFIM 725), the operating profit was MFIM 23 (38) and the pre-tax profit was MFIM 28 (32). The Groups full-year net sales will remain similar to last years level. The full-years operating profit will not reach last years level owing to increased investments made in the New Media and Broadcasting business areas. KEY FIGURES MFIM January-March 1-12 Net sales 712 725 2 911 Operating profit 23 38 188 -as % of net sales 3.2 5.2 6.5 Profit before extraordinary items 28 33 173 -as % of net sales 4.0 4.5 5.9 Equity ratio 51 48 52 Gearing 41 42 40 Capital expenditure on fixed assets 58 80 253 Full-time personnel on average 3 055 3 030 3 108 Earnings per share (FIM) 1.16 1.56 7.15 MEUR January-March 1-12 Net sales 120 122 490 Operating profit 4 6 32 Profit before extraordinary items 5 5 29 Capital expenditure 10 13 43 Earnings per share (euro) 0.20 0.26 1.20 NET SALES BY BUSINESS AREA (MFIM) January-March 1-12 Alpress 318 313 2 1 301 Broadcasting 260 268 -3 1 064 New Media*) 17 6 183 29 Alprint 195 202 -3 786 Parent company 23 16 44 63 Intragroup net sales -101 -80 26 -332 Total 712 725 -2 2 911 OPERATING PROFIT/LOSS BY BUSINESS AREA (MFIM) January-March 1-12 Alpress 29 32 -9 172 Broadcasting 3 3 0 48 New Media*) -8 -5 -60 -28 Alprint -2 5 -140 0 Parent company -4 -2 -100 -9 Group entries 5 5 0 5 Total 23 38 -39 188 (* Net sales and operating profit of the New Media business area are not derived from the legal structure of the organisation. Overlaps between Alpress and New Media are eliminated in Group entries.) Net sales and result Consolidated net sales between January and March totalled FIM 712 million (1999: FIM 725 million). The New Media business area increased its net sales by 183 % and Alpress by 2 %. Broadcastings net sales declined by 3 % and Alprints by 3 %. The Group recorded an operating profit of FIM 23 (38) million. The net sales of Alpresss major newspapers increased. Both circulation and advertising income rose 4 %. Aamulehti showed particularly strong profit growth. Alpress posted net sales of FIM 318 (313) million and an operating profit of FIM 29 (32) million. Net sales of MTV Oy, part of the Broadcasting business area, totalled FIM 260 (268) million. Sales of advertising time declined FIM 13 million. The start-up of the TVTV! cable channel reduced MTV Oys operating profit by FIM 7 million. MTV Oys operating profit was FIM 3 (3) million. The associated companies contributed FIM 2 (-3) million to Broadcastings operating profit. TV4 AB in Sweden tripled it's operating profit with respect to the comparable period. MTV3 Channels share of total viewing time during the period was 40 % (42 %). Alma Media strengthened its position as Finlands leading Internet services provider. Its online services have more than half a million weekly visitors. The New Media business areas net sales rose 183 % on the same period last year to FIM 17 (6) million, 42 % of which was derived from sales of content and other services and 58 % from advertising revenue. The business areas operating loss was FIM -8 (-5) million. Alprints net sales totalled FIM 195 (202) million. The main reasons for the decline were a fall in prices arising from overcapacity and the loss of certain customers in Sweden. With the exception of newspaper products, the market situation has improved since the last quarter of 1999 but is still weaker than in the comparable period. Alprint reported an operating loss of FIM -2 (+5 operating profit) million. The parent companys impact on the consolidated operating profit was FIM -4 (-2) million. The associated companies contributed FIM 0 (-3) million including FIM 1 (-4) million from TV4 AB in Sweden. Operating expenses and depreciation amounted to FIM 702 (696) million. Consolidated depreciation totalled FIM 40 (42) million. Net financing expenses were FIM +5 (-5) million owing to an exceptionally large dividend received from Maakuntien Viestintä Oy and to lower interest expenses. FIM 10 (9) million in taxes were deducted according to the current tax rate. The net profit for the period was FIM 19 (24) million and earnings per share were FIM 1.16 (1.56). Balance sheet The balance sheet totalled FIM 2 539 at the end of March (FIM 2 521 million on 31 Dec. 1999). The equity ratio at the close of the period was 51 % (52 % on 31 Dec. 1999) and shareholders equity per share was FIM 76.39 (FIM 79.00 on 31 Dec. 1999). Investments and financing Capital expenditure totalled FIM 58 (80) million and included FIM 28 million on production machinery for Alprint and FIM 9 million on shares in Lapin Kansa. The remainder comprised normal replacement and maintenance investments. The Group had FIM 112 (148) million in cash reserves at the end of the period. Interest-bearing loans totalled FIM 611 (634) million at the close of the period. Gearing was 41 % (40 % on 31 Dec. 1999). Personnel The Group had 3 055 (3 030) employees on average during the period as well as an additional 1 068 (1 039) part-time newspaper delivery staff. Outsourcing reduced the number of employees in MTV Oy by 82. The number of employees in the parent company was increased by the transfer of technical service personnel from the business areas to the parent company. Administration Alma Media Corporations Annual General Meeting re-elected Pekka Ala- Pietilä and Olli Reenpää, who were in turn for retirement from the Board of Directors, for the following three-year term of office. Matti Kavetvuo and Jonas Nyren were elected in place of Pirkko Alitalo and Björn Mattsson, who retired from the Board, for the remainder of their terms (one year). The AGM decided that the Supervisory Board should have 13 members. No new members were elected in place of Mr Kavetvuo and Mr Nyren. Of the members in turn for retirement, Ari Heiniö, Paavo Pitkänen and Jarmo Raveala were re-elected. Björn Mattsson was elected a new member. The personnel representatives on the Supervisory Board are Kari Asikainen, Asko Haapaniemi and Vesa Kallionpää. The AGM re-appointed Mauri Palvi APA and the firm of authorized public accountants KPMG Wideri Oy Ab as the companys auditors. The AGM approved the Boards dividend proposal of FIM 4.00 per share on 1999. The dividend payment date was 28 March 2000. Convening after the AGM, the Board of Directors elected Olli Reenpää as its chairman and Bengt Braun as his deputy. The Alma Media share Share trading was lively during the period. Altogether 606 000 (147 000) Series I shares and 2 631 000 (1 183 000) Series II shares were traded. The highest share prices during the period were also the highest in Alma Medias history. The companys market capitalisation at the close of the period totalled EUR 760 million (EUR 436 million). Price (euro) highest lowest 31 March 2000 Series I 65.00 27.00 47.00 Series II 70.00 27.00 49.27 Alma Medias Board of Directors has no authorisations to raise the share capital. Subsequent events MTV Oy and Helsinki Televisio Oy (HTV) signed an agreement in April extending the coverage of the cable TV channel TVTV! to include the Helsinki Metropolitan Area from 14 July 2000, bringing it within reach of 1.7 million viewers. HTVs cable network covers altogether 200 000 households. In April Alma Media opened an operator- and hardware-independent mobile portal called Port Alma providing access to Alma Medias news, information and entertainment services. Based on WAP and SMS services, the new portal is also designed to operate in GPRS and UMTS environments. Part of the services will be financed by advertising revenues. M-commerce services and personalised interface features will be added in September. The mobile portal is available for use by customers of all the teleoperators in Finland and it also provides a single point of access for all Alma Medias mobile services. The portal employs the AHAA database and its patented user privacy and personalised interface features. A wide-ranging classified ads package was launched in MTV3 Internet at the end of April. Called Punainen Tori (Red Square), the service is designed to cater for the buying and sales advertisements of individual citizens. It includes extensive search facilities and also a watchdog function to alert the user when the desired goods are being offered for sale. Alma Media strengthened its technological capabilities with a FIM 14 million investment at the beginning of May in three new-media companies specialising in software, software platforms and services that support development of the Groups online and mobile services. The acquired holdings are 18 % of Pro Solution Oy, 17 % of Meteori Books Oy and 4 % of Salient Stills Inc. Prospects for end of year The business environment is expected to remain favourable for newspaper publishing during the remainder of the year. Alpresss net sales and operating profit are forecast to slightly exceed last years figures. MTV Oys net sales will fall short of the target and are forecast to remain similar to last years level. MTV Oy has decided to invest further in programming in order to safeguard its high share of total viewing time. An increase in programming costs caused by the competitive situation and the start-up investments of TVTV! will adversely affect profitability compared to previous year. For these reasons Broadcastings result of operations will be a clear decrease on the level in 1999. Alma Media will further boost its investments in new media. Net sales of the New Media business area are expected to at least double and its relative profitability will improve. Alprints operating profit will be adversely affected during the second and third quarters by the one-time costs arising from concentration of its heat-set production line. Alprints net sales and operating profit for the full year are expected to reach last years levels. The Groups full-year net sales are expected to remain similar to last years. The operating profit will be lower than in 1999 owing to the addition investments to be made in the Broadcasting and New Media business areas. Business environment Business conditions remained buoyant for newspapers as both advertisement sales and circulation continued to develop positively. The afternoon paper market declined slightly but Iltalehti once again raised its market share. The competitive situation in the business dailies market remained unchanged. Average television viewing time per day in Finland increased 10 minutes, compared to the same period last year, to 3 hours and 12 minutes. MTV3 Channels average viewing time remained unchanged at 77 minutes per day. MTV Oy started up a new cable channel called TVTV! in February. The launch of this channel has made faster progress than expected. Use of the Internet continued to show vigorous growth, although growth in Internet advertising was slower than expected. On the other hand a large number of e-commerce and content services have been introduced. Taloustutkimus Oy forecasts that the volume of online trading in Finland will total about FIM 1.35 billion in 2000. The number of people using Alma Media Groups online services continued to increase strongly. No significant changes took place in demand for graphic products. Paper prices have increased 2-3 % since last spring. Demand is weakest in newspaper products, whereas demand for heatset products rose towards the end of the period. The situation in the Russian market showed no significant change. Alpress Business conditions remain positive for newspaper publishing although the regional differences separating southern Finland, with its growth centres, and northern Finland with high unemployment remained large. Once again newspaper advertising captured market share from the other main media, rising over 7 % on the same period last year. Growth was over 10 % if the net impact of the FIM 4 million spent on advertising in the 1999 parliamentary elections is eliminated. Alpress publishes 31 newspapers. Its holding in Lapin Kansa Oy increased from 62 % to 76 % during the first third. The printing operations of Kainuun Sanomain Kirjapaino Oy were sold to Alprint Oy at the turn of the year and its three local newspapers were sold to Suomen Paikallissanomat Oy. Pohjolan Sanomat Oy sold PS-Print Oy to this companys operative management in early January. Since the beginning of March Pohjolan Sanomat has been printed at Alprints newspaper printing works in Rovaniemi. Mr Matti Apunen was appointed Editor-in-Chief of Aamulehti in January after his predecessor took up the same position in Svenska Dagbladet in Sweden. Aamulehtis editorial and advertisement pages were extensively redesigned. The circulations of Alpresss newspapers increased by almost 2 % on average. Iltalehtis circulation rose further and took almost two percentage points in market share from its rival. The afternoon newspaper market declined overall by almost 3 %. Kauppalehti was very successful in the market for business dailies. Alpresss circulation revenues increased 4 %. Advertising sales by the Alpress newspapers rose 4 % but growth varied strongly among the titles. Aamulehtis advertising revenue increased 12 % whereas the advertising revenues of the northern provincial newspapers declined somewhat. Alpresss expenses were raised by marketing expenditure and an increase in printing and distribution costs. Alpresss net sales totalled FIM 318 (313) million. Net sales last year included the printing businesses of Pohjolan Sanomat and Kainuun Sanomat. The comparable increase in net sales was 5 %. Some 52 % (51 %) of net sales came from advertising sales, 45 % (44 %) from circulation sales and 3 % (5 %) from other sales. Alpresss operating profit was FIM 29 (32) million. Broadcasting Televisions share of media advertising has declined slightly and was 22 % (22 %). MTV Oy accounted for 76 % (84 %) of television advertising. TV viewing time began to increase during 1999 and this trend was further evident during the reporting period, when viewing time rose 10 minutes, or 6 %, on an average day compared to the same time last year. MTV3 Channel retained its high share of total viewing time, 77 minutes per average day (77 min. in 1999), or 40 % (42 %) of total viewing time. MTV3 Channels programme time was reduced to 1337 hours (1450 hours). Domestic programming's share of airtime increased to 65 % (50 %). MTV Oys net sales totalled FIM 260 million, down almost 3 % on last years period, which included FIM 10 million from election advertising. MTVs operating profit was FIM 3 (3) million. The launch of TVTV! reduced MTVs operating profit by FIM 7 million. Net sales of TV4 AB in Sweden were 578 (499) million Swedish krona and its operating profit was 38 (9) million krona. TV4 ABs impact on MTV Oy, after amortization of goodwill on consolidation, totalled FIM 1 (-4) million. Net sales of Radio Nova, which is 48 %-owned by Alma Media, totalled FIM 12 (12) million and its operating loss was FIM -3 (-1) million. Several new radio channels started up at the turn of the year have increased competition in radio broadcasting. The cable TV channel TVTV! was launched on 1 February. A target of 1 % of total TV viewing time was set for its first year of operation. Its share after the first two months of operation was already 0.5 %. Once transmission to all households in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area starts on 14 July 2000, TVTV! will be available to 85 % of all households in Finland able to receive cable television. New Media Alma Media is Finlands leading provider of Internet services. The company offers more than 30 different online services which are used by more than half a million different visitors weekly. The most popular services are MTV3i, Iltalehti Online, Kauppalehti Online, the property trading service DIME/Asuntopörssi, the job recruitment service Jobline and the Luukku Finnish-language e-mail service. Of Alpresss online newspapers, Kauppalehti Online has grown extremely vigorously in terms of visitors. Kauppalehti Online had 82 000 (32 000) weekly visitors at the close of March. The New Media business area comprises Alma Media Interactive Oy, Alma Media Net Ventures Oy, and the Groups online newspapers and servi ces. Alma Media Interactive Oy is responsible for most of the Groups net media activities. Alma Media Net Ventures Oy handles the commercial exploitation, in Finland and abroad, of the business concepts, new media service applications and patents and industrial property rights developed by Alma Media in the areas of customer management, content production and e-commerce. Alma Media Net Ventures is also responsible for strategic investments in new media. The main minority holdings are in California-based Netsage Corporation Inc.; WS Wireless Services Oy which maintains eTori; Prowellness Oy, which specialises in healthcare IT applications; and Almare Systems Oy. The Internet surged in popularity once again. Research by Taloustutkimus Oy indicates that the number of people who have sometimes used the Internet increased 24 % to 2.1 million, compared to February 1999. The number of Finns using the Internet weekly rose 47 % to 962 000 users. The number of visitors to Alma Medias online services has increased strongly, totalling 511 000 (196 000) at the end of March. At the same time there were 551 000 registered names in Alma Medias AHAA customer management database. Alma Media broadened the scope of its DIME/Asuntopörssi property trading service during the period to include the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. Property trading newspapers now also appear in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, as well as the towns of Jyväskylä, Pori and Tampere. Chargeable Plus services were added to Iltalehti Onlines service portfolio in February. Net sales by the New Media business area totalled FIM 17 (6) million. The strongest increase was registered by Kauppalehti Online, DIME/Asuntopörssi and Jobline. New Media reported an operating loss of FIM -8 (-5 operating loss) million. Alprint The overall situation in the graphic industry has not changed sig- nificantly. The collapse of the Russian market in the autumn of 1998 led to a sharp reduction in exports of printed products, which is still depressing this sector. Overcapacity has reduced price levels substantially. Free capacity is in plentiful supply, particularly in the newspaper and tabloid segments. Demand for newspaper products is not expected to recover rapidly despite stabilisation of the Russian economy. The market for heatset products is distinctly better. Pricing of these magazine products was still unhealthy at the start of the year but market conditions have started to recover in the spring. The same trend is expected to continue to the end of the year. The new heatset rotation press at Alprints Tampere Rahola facility will start up on schedule this May. This investment replaces the old presses at the Pori and Vantaa heatset units, which will be discontinued during the summer. Paper prices and labour costs have risen 2-3 % from last year. This has reduced profitability since it has not been possible to allocate the rise in costs to printing prices owing to the prevailing market conditions. Alprints net sales totalled FIM 195 (202) million. Intragroup sales increased more than 10 % but exports to the western markets and deliveries to other domestic customers declined. Exports accounted for FIM 58 (67) million of Alprints net sales, and were distributed as follows: Nordic countries 63 %, Russia 30 % and other markets 7 %. Alprint reported an operating loss of FIM -2 (+5) million. The figures in this interim report are unaudited. ALMA MEDIA CORPORATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS Ahti Martikainen Vice President, Corporate Communications and Investor Relations Further information: Mr Matti Packalén, President and CEO, +358 9 5078715 Ms Ritva Sallinen, Senior Vice President, Finance and Administration, +358 9 5078708 Distribution: Helsinki Exchanges Principal media CONSOLIDATED INCOME STATEMENT (MFIM/MEUR) 2000 1999 1999 1-3 MEUR 1-3 MEUR 1-12 MEUR NET SALES 712 120 725 122 2 911 490 Share of profits of associated companies 0 0 -3 -1 2 0 Other operating income 13 2 12 2 50 8 Expenses -702 -118 -696 -117 -2 775 -467 OPERATING PROFIT 23 4 38 6 188 32 Financial income and expenses 5 1 -5 -1 -15 -3 PROFIT BEFORE EXTRAORDINARY ITEMS 28 5 33 5 173 29 Extraordinary income 0 0 0 0 2 0 Extraordinary expenses 0 0 -1 0 0 0 PROFIT BEFORE TAXES 28 5 32 5 175 29 Taxes -9 -2 -7 -1 -57 -10 Minority interests 0 0 -1 0 -4 -1 NET PROFIT FOR THE PERIOD 19 3 24 4 114 19 CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEET (MFIM/MEUR) 2000 1999 1999 31 March MEUR31 March MEUR 31 Dec. MEUR ASSETS FIXED ASSETS Intangible assets 81 14 84 14 80 13 Goodwill on consolidation 105 18 108 18 104 17 Tangible assets 990 167 970 163 993 167 Investement 703 118 755 127 701 118 CURRENT ASSETS Inventories 250 42 224 38 235 40 Receivables 298 50 329 55 279 47 Cash and bank receivables 112 19 148 25 129 22 2 539 427 2 618 440 2 521 424 CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEET (MFIM/MEUR) 2000 1999 1999 31 March MEUR31 March MEUR 31 Dec. MEUR SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY AND LIABILIES SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY 1 202 202 1 147 193 1 243 209 MINORITY INTERESTS 16 3 25 4 24 4 PROVISIONS 14 2 5 1 14 2 LIABILITIES Long-term 554 93 676 114 664 112 Short-term 753 127 765 129 576 97 2 539 427 2 618 440 2 521 424 CAPITAL EXPENDITURE (MFIM/MEUR) 2000 1999 1999 1-3 MEUR 1-3 MEUR 1-12 MEUR Gross capital expenditure on fixed assets 58 10 80 13 253 43 GROUP CONTINGENT LIABILITIES (MFIM/MEUR) 2000 1999 1999 31 March MEUR31 March MEUR 31 Dec. MEUR Against own debt Pledges 2 0 18 3 9 2 Mortages on land and buildings 232 39 234 39 232 39 Chattel mortgages 142 24 159 27 146 25 Guarantees 30 5 2 0 29 5 On behalf of associated companies Guarantees 4 1 4 1 4 1 Other own commitments Leasing commitments 6 1 8 1 7 1 Buyback commitments 1 0 0 0 2 0 Total 417 70 425 71 429 72 Group leasing payments falling due (MFIM) During 1 April - 31 Dec. 2000 3 3 4 After 2000 3 5 3 DERIVATIVE FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS Foreign currency loans totalling FIM 12 million, denominated in DEM and FRF, were hedged using forward currency and swap contracts. The exchange rate differences on loans and the derivative results are entered under Other Financial Income and Expenses. NET SALES BY BUSINESS AREA (MFIM/MEUR) 2000 1999 1999 1-3 MEUR 1-3 MEUR 1-12 MEUR Alpress 318 53 313 53 1 301 219 Broadcasting 260 44 268 45 1 064 179 New Media 17 3 6 1 29 5 Alprint 195 33 202 34 786 132 Parent company 23 4 16 3 63 11 Intragroup net sales -101 -17 -80 -13 -332 -56 Total 712 120 725 122 2 911 490 OPERATING PROFIT BY BUSINESS AREA (MFIM/MEUR) 2000 1999 1999 1-3 MEUR 1-3 MEUR 1-12 MEUR Alpress 29 5 32 5 172 29 Broadcasting 3 1 3 1 48 8 New Media -8 -1 -5 -1 -28 -5 Alprint -2 0 5 1 0 0 Parent company -4 -1 -2 0 -9 -2 Group entries 5 1 5 1 5 1 Total 23 4 38 6 188 32 AVERAGE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES BY BUSINESS AREA 2000 1999 1999 1-3 1-3 1-12 Alpress 1 288 1 243 1 300 Broadcasting 629 711 702 New Media 104 83 101 Alprint 965 945 957 Parent company 69 48 48 Total 3 055 3 030 3 108 In addition part-time delivery staff 1 068 1 039 1 059 PER SHARE DATA (FIM/EUR) 2000 1999 1999 1-3 EUR 1-3 EUR 1-12 EUR Earnings per share 1,16 0,20 1,56 0,26 7,15 1,20 Shareholders' equity per share 76,39 12,85 72,93 12,27 79,00 13,29 NET SALES AND OPERATING PROFIT BY QUARTER (MFIM) I/1999 II/1999III/1999 IV/1999 1999 Net sales 725 749 638 799 2 911 Operating profit 38 59 23 68 188 I/2000 II/2000III/2000 IV/2000 2000 Net sales 712 Operating profit 23 President and CEO Matti Packalén: Alma Media is a mass communications company specialising in content production. The strategic emphasis of our businesses lies in the management of different means of distribution and relations with individual customers. Alma Media reaches almost every inhabitant of Finland weekly via its traditional media. To strengthen our position in the emerging environment of digital communications, we will be committing substantial investments to the field of new media in the next few years. Digital television is playing a central role in this strategy because digital television, we believe, will be one of the main channels through which consumers will access Internet services in the future. For this reason it is imperative that MTV3 Channels share of total viewing time remains high. To ensure this happens, MTV Oy will increase its investments in programming even though its performance will weaken temporarily as a result. MTV Oy started up a cable television channel called TVTV! in February as part of its preparations for the multi-channel culture in the new digital era. While this channel will enable us to reach new target groups, it will also serve as a platform for testing the distribution of new Internet content via the medium of television. Alma Media launched its first Internet services on the public networks Iltalehti Online and MTV3i in 1995. Today, these media are the most popular online services in Finland, measured in terms of number of visitors. Our early entry into the market proved to be the correct decision since Alma Medias online services had more than half a million weekly visitors at the close of the first quarter this year. Large numbers of visitors also make media advertising and targeted advertising a viable option on the Internet. Online media offer entire new ways of employing knowledge about customers and Internet users to develop services and target advertising at different groups. A significant threat to the wider use of the Internet is the concern felt by users about their personal privacy. Users of Alma Medias online services are registered in our own AHAA customer management database, which underlies all our online services. The heart of the database is a method patented by Alma Media enabling personalised services to be offered to users without jeopardising their privacy. The system has been developed in close co- operation with the authorised data security office. The database currently holds information on 560 000 registered users of Alma Medias services. Previously, only those customers using Alma Medias services via wireline networks were linked to the AHAA database. In April this year Alma Media opened a mobile portal, Port Alma, and since then all customers registered as users of this mobile portal have also been registered in the AHAA database. The Port Alma services are based on WAP and SMS services. The number of WAP mobile phones in Finland is still very small, which is limiting the growth of this business. Phone technology and the data transfer speeds possible on mobile networks today are not yet advanced enough to allow transmission of moving pictures, for example, to mobile terminals. However, WAP services must be seen as a necessary step towards the sort of services that will be available with third-generation mobile phones and terminals. Port Alma has been designed to operate in UMTS and GPRS environments as well as they also support the transmission of moving pictures to terminals. Port Alma, and the investments we have made in new-media technology and content companies this spring, support Alma Medias new-media strategy, the core elements of which are customer management in all distribution channels, investments in companies focusing on online enabling technologies, and strategic content-producing partners. The prospects for our New Media business are bright and we expect this business to be a significant profit generator for the Group within the next two to three years. One of our strategic priorities is to develop co-operation between our various media. We have initiated a pilot project with major advertisers to develop the tools necessary to offer total advertising solutions. The first quarter of the year was particularly good for the Alpress newspapers and we expect this same positive trend to continue to the year end. Alpresss strong cash flow will enable the Group to boost its investments in future growth areas without affecting our equity ratio target. Television continued to lose its share of the media market, which is surprising since television viewing is clearly rising. Advertising prices cannot be excessively high because, taken as a whole, th
- Date: 11.5.2000, 08:00
- News type: Stock exchange release
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