Alma Media’s Financial Statements Bulletin January–December 2022: FY2022 at record-high level. In Q4, revenue was on par with, and the adj. operating profit was slightly below the comparison period.
Alma Media Corporation Financial Statements Bulletin 16 February 2023 at 8.00 a.m.
ALMA MEDIA’S FINANCIAL STATEMENTS BULLETIN JANUARY–DECEMBER 2022:
The whole year at the record-high level. In Q4, revenue was on par with the comparison period, and the adjusted operating profit was slightly below the comparison period.
Financial performance October–December 2022:
- Revenue MEUR 78.7 (78.0), up 1.0%.
- The share of digital business was 80.1% of the revenue (76.9%).
- Adjusted operating profit MEUR 15.2 (15.5), down 2.0%.
- Operating profit was MEUR 15.0 (15.5), down 3.7%.
- Alma Career: The demand for labour remained strong in Eastern Central Europe, and revenue continued to grow. Investments in employees and ICT increased costs.
- Alma Consumer: Profitability was weighed down by a decline in advertising sales and increased marketing, product development and printing costs.
- Alma Talent: Comparable revenue decreased by 4.0% as a result of decreased advertising and book sales. Adjusted operating profit decreased by 1.5%.
- Earnings per share EUR 0.20 (0.14). Earnings per share were improved by the change of EUR 4.0 million in the fair value of contingent consideration liabilities recorded in financial items.
Financial performance in 2022:
- Revenue was MEUR 308.8 (275.4), up 12.1%.
- The share of digital business was 80.9% of the revenue (77.0%).
- Adjusted operating profit MEUR 73.4 (61.1), up 20.2%.
- Operating profit was MEUR 80.0 (56.8), up 40.9%.
- Equity ratio 45.8% and gearing 69.3%.
- Earnings per share EUR 0.88 (0.53).
- The Board’s dividend proposal is EUR 0.44 (0.35) per share.
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Dividend proposal to the Annual General Meeting
On 31 December 2022, the Group’s parent company had distributable funds totalling EUR 156,856,329 (144,833,995). Alma Media’s Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting that a dividend of EUR 0.44 per share be paid for the financial year 2022 (2021: EUR 0.35 per share). The dividend was paid to shareholders who were registered in Alma Media Corporation’s shareholder register maintained by Euroclear Finland Ltd on the record date, 6 April 2023. The Board of Directors proposes that the dividend be paid on 17 April 2023. Based on the number of outstanding shares on the closing date, 31 December 2022, the dividend payment totals EUR 36,161,308 (28,774,470).
No essential changes have taken place after the end of the financial year with respect to the company’s financial standing. The proposed distribution of profit does not, in the view of the Board of Directors, compromise the company’s liquidity.
Operating environment in 2023
The effects of Russia’s war of aggression and dwindling economic growth were reflected more clearly in the operating environment in the second half of 2022. The European economy was adversely affected by sanctions, supply chain disruptions and problems associated with the availability of raw materials, among other things. The prices of energy, raw materials and food continued to rise quickly, while market interest rates rose sharply. Combined, these developments have lowered consumer confidence, household purchasing power, consumption and economic growth. However, pandemic-related restrictions were eased and eventually lifted in Europe, which, on the other hand, stimulated activity in the service sector.
The national economies of Finland and Alma Media’s other operating countries are expected to see a marked decline in the growth rate in 2023, and some countries are even expecting a recession. In December, The European Central Bank (ECB) estimated that economic growth in the eurozone was 3.4% on average in 2022, but expected it to slow down to only 0.5% in 2023. It estimated that GDP will shrink slightly both in the Q4 of 2022 and the Q1 of 2023, as disruptions in energy imports due to the war have continued throughout the economy.
According to the ECB, economic activity will start to recover in the second half of 2023 if the situation in the energy market stabilises, supply disruptions subside, real incomes improve and export demand strengthens. According to the forecast of the ECB, the average annual inflation rate for last year was 8.4%. This year, it is expected to slow down to 6.3% and further to 3.4% in 2024.
Market situation in the main markets
According to Kantar TNS, advertising volume in December declined by 6.8% and in January-December it increased by 0.4% compared to last year. In 2022, advertising sales declined by 7.2% in printed newspapers, 11.3% in magazines, but increased by 4.5% in online media.
The biggest increase in media advertising was in the tourism and transportation, telecommunication, financial and retail industries. In December, brand advertising decreased by 8.3%, retail advertising by 3.7%, classified advertising by 7.9% and job advertising by 26.6% year-on-year. In terms of volume, the market for afternoon papers declined by 7.7% in the fourth quarter of 2022.
According to the Finnish Information Centre of Automobile Sector, 2022 was an exceptional year in the automotive market. The prolonged shortage of components, which has extended to many product parts, reduced the number of passenger vehicle registrations in particular to a historic low. The gloomy outlook for the economy, rising interest rates and inflation as well as weakened purchasing power reduced the number orders for new cars. A total of 81,698 new passenger cars were registered in 2022, which was 17 per cent less than in 2021.
According to the Finnish Information Centre of Automobile Sector, approximately 570,000 passenger cars were sold in the used car market, which is about 11 per cent less than in the previous year.
Central Federation of Finnish Real Estate Agencies, in 2022, 21.3% fewer homes were sold than in the previous successful year 2021. The trade in second-hand dwellings decreased by 17.5% and in new dwellings by 46.7%. On average, prices of dwellings in the early part of the year were higher than in recent years, but they began to clearly decline towards the end of the year.
In addition to Finland, Alma Media’s main markets are the Czech Republic and Slovakia in Eastern Central Europe. The European Commission published its latest GDP forecasts on 13 February 2023. According to the forecast, Finnish GDP growth in 2022 was 2.0% and will slow down to 0.2% this year; the Czech Republic’s growth of 2.5% will drop down to 0.1% and Slovakia’s growth rate of 1.7% will fall to 1.5%.
The Commission estimates that in 2023, the unemployment rate in Finland will be 7.2%, in the Czech Republic 3.3% and in Slovakia 6.4%.
Outlook for 2023
Alma Media expects its full-year revenue and adjusted operating profit of 2023 to remain at the 2022 level, or to decrease from the 2022 level. The full-year revenue for 2022 was MEUR 308.8 and the adjusted operating profit was MEUR 73.4. The outlook is driven by an estimate that Alma Media’s revenue and operating profit will decline in the first half of the year as a result of declining advertising sales and increased costs in the recruitment business. The outlook for the national economy is expected to improve in the second half of the year. We estimate demand for recruitment services to remain strong and advertising sales to rebound during the year. Operational efficiency measures initiated by the company will improve profitability in the latter half.
CEO’s review: Revenue was on a par with the previous year in the fourth quarter
Alma Media’s business performance in the fourth quarter was moderate in spite of the disruptions caused by Russia’s war of aggression. Revenue increased by 1.0% to MEUR 78.7 and adjusted operating profit decreased by 2.0% to MEUR 15.2. Organic growth, excluding divestments, was 3.2% in the fourth quarter and 12.8% for the full year 2022. Revenue (+12.1%) and adjusted operating profit (+20.2%) for the full year 2022 increased clearly when compared to the previous year.
The Alma Career segment had another strong quarter. The continued brisk demand for recruitment services helped increase revenue by 13.7% to MEUR 27.4. Adjusted operating profit grew by 3.0% to MEUR 8.4, representing 30.8% of revenue. The demand for recruitment services remained strong in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Croatia. The continued high level of activity in the recruitment market is driven by intense competition for skilled labour. The low unemployment rate in our key operating countries also boosts demand for our added-value services. At the end of October, we opened a new job search service in Finland, Jobly.
The Career United project, which seeks to deepen internal cooperation, progressed as planned, which will also help curb the increase in costs going forward. The increase in costs in the fourth quarter (18.4%) was attributable to the increases in ICT and sales employees implemented in 2022. Customer invoicing has remained strong, and we expect to see continued revenue growth during the next quarter, although there have been signs of slowdown in demand, especially in Finland and the Baltic countries.
In the Alma Consumer segment, revenue remained on a par with the comparison period (-0.3%) at EUR 26.8 million. Adjusted operating profit declined by 12.3% to MEUR 5.8, representing 21.8% of revenue. Digital business accounted for 82.6% of revenue. Revenue from media and media-related services decreased by 1.8%. We continued our planned investments, particularly focusing on service development in marketplaces and comparison services.
Tense geopolitics and war news have ensured that citizens’ demand for news and use of media have remained at a high level. The demand for the paid Iltalehti Plus service continued to develop favourably. The service now has 40,000 subscribers.
In the housing business area, revenue increased by 4.8% in the fourth quarter in spite of the difficult market conditions. The growth was influenced by the growth of classified advertising in the Etuovi.com service.
In the automotive segment, the industry’s global supply chain problems and challenges caused by the component shortage slowed down the growth of the business. In addition, the increase in consumer uncertainty caused by rising energy prices, inflation and market interest rates was reflected in housing and automotive marketplaces and related advertising more than in previous quarters. We announced the launch of a digital used car auction between consumers and car dealerships in the first quarter of 2023.
In the Alma Talent segment, comparable revenue – excluding the Baltic telemarketing business divested in the spring – decreased by 4.0%. New IPOs were scarce and the market situation was difficult for the financial media, even though share prices slightly increased from their lowest point reached in September. The segment’s strong digital transformation continued, with the share of digital business accounting for nearly 60% of revenue. The adjusted operating profit was 20.5% of revenue. It declined by 1.5% year-on-year to MEUR 5.1. Profitability was increased due to reduced costs (-10.9%).
One strategically significant success was the increase of 15.2% in Alma Talent Services’ continuously invoiced services, which was driven by growth in revenue from business information, law-related services and business premises marketplaces, among others.
Alma Media in a good position for 2023
Our financial position has been strengthened as planned thanks to our strong profit performance and cash flow. Our gearing at the end of the last quarter of the year stood at 69.3% and our equity ratio was 45.8%.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has slowed down economic growth in Alma Media’s operating countries: inflation has accelerated, market interest rates have risen, consumers’ confidence in their finances has declined substantially, and geopolitical tensions have increased. Alma Media’s financial performance has been strong and performance excellent despite these factors.
We will continue to build future growth through the continuous development of our operations and the creation of new innovations. With regard to the marketplace and service business, our development is heading towards more advanced digital trading platforms. As the purchase processes are digitalised, we want to help our customers to easily and smoothly interact through digital platforms, and we also want to offer them additional services at different stages of the transaction process.
President and CEO
Kai Telanne, President and CEO, telephone +358 (0)10 665 3500
Juha Nuutinen, CFO, telephone +358 (0)10 665 3873
News conference and live webcast
A combined analyst, investor and media conference and webcast will be held in English by President & CEO Kai Telanne and CFO Juha Nuutinen at 11.00–12.00.
The conference will be held in the Alma House (address: Alvar Aallon katu 3 C, Helsinki). To participate in the conference in Alma House, we kindly ask you to register beforehand by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The live webcast can be followed via https://almamedia.videosync.fi/q4-2022-result. Questions can be asked through the webcast chat function.
An on-demand version of the webcast and the presentation material will be available on the company’s website on the same day www.almamedia.fi/en/investors/reports-and-presentations/presentations.
Alma Media’s financial calendar 2023
The Financial Statements, Report by the Board of Directors, Auditor’s Report, Sustainability Report and Corporate Governance Statement for the financial year 2022 will be published on Tuesday, 14 March 2023.
- The Annual General Meeting is planned to be held on Tuesday, 4 April 2023. The materials related to the Annual General Meeting will be available on the Alma Media website.
- Interim Report for January–March 2023 on Friday, 21 April 2023, at approximately 8:00 EET
- Interim Report for January–June 2023 on Wednesday, 19 July 2023 at approximately 8:00 EET
- Interim Report for January–September 2023 on Thursday, 19 October 2023 at approximately 8:00 EET
ALMA MEDIA CORPORATION
Board of Directors
Distribution: NASDAQ Helsinki, main media, www.almamedia.fi/en
Alma Media in brief
Alma Media is an international company of digital media, marketplaces and services with a strong capacity for renewal. We inspire human curiosity and choice by creating services that combine technology and content with a local heart. In Finland, our best-known brands include Kauppalehti, Talouselämä, Iltalehti, Etuovi.com, Nettiauto and Nettimoto. Our recruitment services include prace.cz and jobs.cz in the Czech Republic, Profesia.sk in Slovakia and mojposao.net in Croatia.
In Finland, our business operations include leading housing and automotive marketplaces, financial and professional media, national consumer media and content and data services for businesses and professionals. Alma Media’s international business in Eastern Central Europe, Sweden and the Baltic countries consists of recruitment services and an online marketplace for commercial properties.
Alma Media operates in 11 countries in Europe and employs approximately 1,700 professionals. Alma Media’s revenue from continuing operations was EUR 309 million in 2022 of which the share of digital business was 81%. Alma Media’s share is listed on NASDAQ Helsinki. Read more at www.almamedia.fi/en/.