ALMA MEDIA CORP. STOCK EXCHANGE RELEASE 15 June 2000 at 10.00 am 1/4 ALMA MEDIA’S CORPORATE STRUCTURE FOCUSED ON GROWTH INDUSTRIES Alma Media will form its business-to-business publishing into a separate business area. Alprint’s regional newspaper printing units will be transferred to Alpress, and Alprint will subsequently specialise in magazine printing and digital prepress asset management. Alprint will cancel the planned replacement investment in a printing press for its Vantaa unit. The released cash flow will be mainly used to finance new-media development projects. Alma Media Group’s corporate structure will be changed to match future strategic priorities. Alma Media is seeking organic growth in content production and new-media. Production of economic information and its distribution through papers and TV and in particular through dedicated and mobile networks is the most dynamically growing media sector. New technologies provide possibilities to offer consumers new economic information services and products. Newspaper printing is an essential element for the production process of Alma Media’s regional daily papers. For this reason, Alprint’s regional newspaper printing units will be organisationally integrated with Alpress. As a result of the changed market situation, Alprint has decided to cancel the replacement investment in a hybrid newspaper rotation for its Kaivoksela unit in Vantaa. Alprint will specialise in offering one-stop shop services to customers who need heat set and special printing products. Business-to-business publishing into a separate business area Alma Media will form business-to-business publishing into a separate business area. New services and products to professional investors will be based both on printed media and dedicated networks and on real-time information distributed over mobile networks. The area will comprise Kauppalehti, Kauppalehti Online and Kauppalehti Optio as well as the new operations involving production and distribution of economic information. Mr. Juha Blomster, M.Sc. (Econ.), has been appointed President of the company as from 1 September 2000. He is currently the President of Kustannus Oy Aamulehti. Mr. Blomster who has also been appointed member of Alma Media Corporation’s Group Executive Board from the same date will report to Alma Media Corporation’s President and CEO, Mr. Matti Packalén. Kauppalehti’s Executive Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Lauri Helve, will continue as publisher of Kauppalehti and member of Kustannus Oy Kauppalehti’s Board of Directors and Alma Media’s Group Executive Board. Cross-media product Saldo will be launched in September 2000 The new business area will launch a cross-media product called Saldo. Saldo includes a Friday supplement delivered to subscribers of Kauppalehti, targeted mainly at private households and individual investors. The themes addressed in Saldo will also be discussed in a weekly program on MTV3 and on the Internet. The Saldo concept will also include a mutual fund, Conventum Aktive, launched in co-operation with Conventum Fund Management Limited. Conventum Aktive is a domestic balanced fund and the minimum subscription is EUR 1,000. It is the first mutual fund in Finland where all the holdings can be publicly monitored on an ongoing basis. The portfolio manager of the fund is Conventum. The performance of the fund, its portfolio and investment decisions will be analysed in the magazine, on TV and Saldo Internet pages. A virtual fund, Saldo Interactive, will be established on Internet simultaneously with Conventum Aktive. At launch its holdings will be identical with the actual Conventum Aktive Fund. In fact, persons who have invested in the fund can make online investment proposals in the virtual fund where they will also be given consideration. The performance of the virtual balanced fund and investment decisions will be monitored and the performance of the fund will be compared with Conventum Aktive. Morningstar rating service will be opened in August 2000 Kauppalehti Online is Finland’s most popular online service focusing on economic issues. Its users number about 70,000 a week. Kauppalehti Online services are available in dedicated networks and also through Alma Media’s mobile portal Port Alma. Kauppalehti Online will launch its rating service for mutual funds in Internet as a new operation in August this year. The service is based on the methodology developed by Morningstar, Inc., established in the United States in 1984. Kauppalehti is the sole licensee of the Morningstar methodology in Finland. Kauppalehti will market the service to trading places and investment management companies, among others; the service will be free to end users. Investors can use the service to conveniently compare risk-adjusted performance in different investment funds over a chosen period. The Morningstar rating service is used in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and Japan. Aamulehti’s management Mr. Heikki Saraste, whose main responsibility is to lead the Alpress business area, has been appointed Kustannus Oy Aamulehti’s President as from 1 September 2000. Mr. Kai Telanne has been appointed Executive Vice President, responsible for marketing, effective from the same date. Mr. Matti Apunen will continue as Executive Editor-in- Chief. Alprint’s regional newspaper printing presses to Alpress Newspaper printing is a critical element in the publishing of morning newspapers in Alma Media. In line with this strategy, Alprint’s newspaper printing units in Tampere, Pori, Rovaniemi and Kajaani will be transferred to the organisation of Alpress from the beginning of 2001. The present capacity situation of cold set products will enable several newspapers of Alpress to implement a make-or-buy strategy. Iltalehti, one of the major Alpress papers, is currently partly printed externally. Alprint will continue to be responsible for the sales of tabloid printing capacity and for purchases of paper and other materials. Alprint will specialise in magazines and other heat set products In the past year, Alprint has developed its organisation to meet market demand. Alprint will from now on concentrate all its magazine printing operations in a production unit completed in May 2000 at Rahola, Tampere. Alprint’s Vantaa and Pori units that specialise in magazine printing will be closed down before autumn. Alprint’s profitability will significantly improve from the beginning of 2001 as a result of these measures. As the printing of daily papers will be transferred from Alprint to Alpress, Alprint will focus especially on printing of magazines and other heat set products. The production unit at Rahola, Tampere, will have the most sophisticated machinery and finishing capacity in Scandinavia. Rahola unit builds networks with other service producers within this industry both in pre-press operations and printing. Digital pre-press asset management is a key development priority for Alprint. Due to the changed domestic market situation and the adjusted internal strategic line of Alma Media Group, Alprint has decided to discontinue the Altti 2001 project intended to replace the printing machine of the Kaivoksela unit in Vantaa during 2001. The estimated value of the cancelled investment was about FIM 140 million. Alprint will initiate negotiations with personnel and analyse the impacts of the cancellation on the operations of the Kaivoksela production unit. Publisher, Executive Editor-in-Chief Lauri Helve: "The circulation, advertisement sales and performance of Kauppalehti have developed extremely positively. Kauppalehti’s business-to- business operation will expand especially in the electronic services. The sustainable development of the company will require increased investments in management resources. Managing the business of this company is no longer a part-time job." According to Mr. Helve, the decision to cancel the printing machine investment will not affect Kauppalehti’s future plans. "Two years ago, Kauppalehti launched a project to change the format of the paper into a totally four-colour economic tabloid paper. The cancellation decision will accelerate the change, and our objective is to have the capabilities in place to introduce the new format by the year-end", Mr. Helve says. President and CEO Matti Packalén: Mr. Matti Packalén mentions that the organisational change and the cancellation of the printing machine investment will release resources that can be directed to future growth areas. Forming business-to-business publishing into a separate business area will strengthen its development. According to Mr. Packalén, by cancelling the investment, the Group can release a significant cash flow during this and next year. These funds will now be redirected to new development projects, mainly in new media. For additional information: Mr. Matti Packalén, President and CEO, Alma Media Corporation; tel. +358 9 507 8715 Mr. Risto Takala, President, Alprint Oy; tel. +358 9 507 8500 Mr. Heikki Saraste, President, Alpress Oy; tel. +358 9 507 8768 ALMA MEDIA CORPORATION Ahti Martikainen Vice President Distribution: Helsinki Exchanges, principal media
  • Date: 15.6.2000, 08:00
  • News type: Stock exchange release

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