Alma Media > Releases > Stock exchange release > Alma Media’s Half-Year Report January–June 2023: Adjusted operating profit in Q2 was on par with the comparison period, while revenue decreased slightly

Alma Media’s Half-Year Report January–June 2023: Adjusted operating profit in Q2 was on par with the comparison period, while revenue decreased slightly

Alma Media Corporation   Half-Year Report                19 July 2023 at 8.00 a.m.

ALMA MEDIA’S HALF-YEAR REPORT JANUARY–JUNE 2023: ADJUSTED OPERATING PROFIT IN Q2 WAS ON PAR WITH THE COMPARISON PERIOD, WHILE REVENUE DECREASED SLIGHTLY

Financial performance April–June 2023:

  • Revenue MEUR 78.2 (79.3), down 1.4%.
  • The share of digital business was 82.6% (81.2%) of total revenue.
  • Adjusted operating profit on a par with the comparison period at MEUR 19.4 (19.2)
  • Operating profit MEUR 19.9 (25.9), down 23.2%.
  • Alma Career: Adjusted operating profit improved due to cost savings. Comparable revenue from added-value services related to recruitment increased by 5.8%.
  • Alma Consumer: As in the previous quarter, profitability was weighed down by the decline of advertising revenue in media and marketplaces. Revenue increased in comparison services and digital content sales.
  • Alma Talent: Adjusted operating profit increased, driven by the strong performance of Talent Services. The profitability of the media business declined as a result of a decrease in advertising and print content sales.
  • Earnings per share EUR 0.23 (0.28). Earnings per share were improved by a change of MEUR 4.0 in the fair value of contingent consideration liabilities recognised in financial items.
  • On 29 June 2023, the biggest owner Otava published an offer document for a mandatory public takeover offer for all Alma Media shares. On 5 July 2023, Alma Media’s Board of Directors issued a statement on the Tender Offer as required by the Securities Markets Act in the form of a stock exchange release.

Financial performance January–June 2023:

  • Revenue MEUR 153.5 (155.5), down 1.3%.
  • The share of digital business was 82.2% (80.6%) of total revenue.
  • Adjusted operating profit MEUR 36.4 (38.9), down 6.4%.
  • Operating profit MEUR 36.4 (45.7), down 20.4%.
  • Earnings per share EUR 0.37 (0.48).

Key figures

MEUR 2023Q2 2022Q2 Change% 2023Q1–Q2 2022Q1–Q2 Change% 2022Q1–Q4
Revenue 78.2 79.3 -1.4 153.5 155.5 -1.3 308.7
Marketplaces * 36.7 36.0 1.9 71.6 69.5 3.0 138.3
Media 26.6 28.2 -5.8 52.1 54.5 -4.3 107.8
– of which digital 61.7% 60.7% 60.3% 60.4% 60.6%
Service revenue * 14.9 15.1 -0.9 29.7 31.5 -5.8 62.6
– of which digital 80.2% 77.6% 79.4% 73.8% 74.8%
Digital business revenue 64.6 64.4 0.3 126.2 125.3 0.7 249.7
Digital business, % of revenue 82.6 81.2 82.2 80.6 80.9
Adjusted total expenses 59.0 60.2 -2.0 117.3 116.9 0.3 235.7
Adjusted EBITDA 23.8 23.5 1.3 45.1 47.5 -5.0 90.6
EBITDA 24.3 30.2 -19.4 45.1 54.3 -17.0 97.2
Adjusted operating profit 19.4 19.2 0.7 36.4 38.9 -6.4 73.4
% of revenue 24.8 24.3 23.7 25.0 23.8
Operating profit/loss 19.9 25.9 -23.2 36.4 45.7 -20.4 80.0
% of revenue 25.4 32.7 23.7 29.4 25.9
Profit for the period before tax 22.8 27.5 -17.4 37.4 47.6 -21.5 86.4
Profit for the period 18.7 23.4 -20.2 30.4 39.4 -22.9 71.9

* Alma Media has revised the classification of revenue between marketplaces and service revenue. The corresponding adjustments have been made to the comparison figures.

Operating environment in 2023

The effects of Russia’s war of aggression and dwindling economic growth were reflected in the operating environment in the first half of the year. The European economy continued to be adversely affected by sanctions, supply chain disruptions and problems associated with the availability of raw materials, among other things. High inflation continued while market interest rates increased year-on-year, which challenged consumer confidence and the real purchasing power of households. Nevertheless, according to the European Commission, the European economy has been able to mitigate the negative impacts of Russia’s war of aggression. In its May forecast, the Commission revised the 2023 growth outlook of the EU economy in response to the first months of the year being better than previously anticipated. Growth is now projected to be 1.0% (compared to 0.8% in the interim forecast published in the winter), and the growth projection for 2024 was increased to 1.7% (winter: 1.6%). According to preliminary estimates, GDP growth in the first quarter was 0.3% for all EU countries and 0.1% for the eurozone.

The energy crisis has been mitigated by quickly diversifying deliveries and substantially reducing gas consumption. The significantly lower energy prices are being reflected throughout the economy, which reduces the production costs of businesses. The Commission further notes consumers’ energy invoices will also decrease.

The European Commission projects inflation of 5.8% in the eurozone this year, with inflation declining to 2.8% next year. For the EU as a whole, the Commission projects average inflation of 6.7% this year and 3.1% next year. The inflation rate in Finland is projected to be 4.8% in 2023 and 2.1% in 2024.These figures are lower than in the rest of the eurozone.

Market situation in the main markets

According to Kantar TNS, the media advertising volume declined by 2.7% in January–June 2023. In June, media advertising decreased by 5.3% and job advertising by 23.1% compared to June 2022. The industries with the largest cumulative increases in media advertising in January–June, compared to comparison period 2022, were oil and energy, tourism and transport, finance, and food.

In terms of volume, the total market for afternoon papers declined by 7% in the second quarter of 2023.

According to the Finnish Information Centre of Automobile Sector, a total of 46,875 new passenger cars were registered in the first half of the year, which is 7.7% higher than last year. The transaction volume for used cars among car dealerships increased by 4.3% year-on-year. According to the Finnish Information Centre of Automobile Sector, the year-on-year increase in registrations in April–June was due to the release of the exceptionally high order backlog accumulated over the past couple of years as the component shortages, complicating production operations, that began in 2021 are beginning to ease.

The Central Federation of Finnish Real Estate Agencies (KVKL) estimates that the housing transaction volume bottomed out around the turn of the year 2022–2023, but the rate of recovery is slow and the market is still characterised by uncertainty. Real estate agencies and construction companies reported a total of 11,310 housing transactions to the KVKL price monitoring service maintained by the Central Federation of Finnish Real Estate Agencies in January–March 2023. In April, a total of 3,630 housing transactions were reported to the service (-39.3% year-on-year). In May, a total of 4,208 housing transactions were reported (-33.4% year-on-year). There were 4,203 home transactions in June, which means 33.7% down from last year and 35.7% on five-year average in relation to 67.5% of new homes sold in June last year and 79.2% less than the five-year average.

According to The Central Federation of Finnish Real Estate Agencies, prices per square metre of dwellings in June, major cities fell most in Oulu 12.9% and 11.7% in the Helsinki metropolitan area, and least in Turku: 2.3 % compared to last year. In the first half of the year prices fell by 1.6% in the SME region, but increased in SME in large cities outside, an average of 2.3% and in Oulu up to 2.8%.

Growth in the national economies of Finland and Alma Media’s other operating countries is expected to slow in 2023. Economic growth in Finland is falling substantially behind the rest of the EU. The European Commission predicts growth of 0.2% this year and 1.4% next year. In addition to Finland, Alma Media’s main markets are the Czechia and Slovakia in Eastern Central Europe. According to the European Commission’s latest forecast, GDP growth in the Czech Republic will decline to 0.2%, rising to 2.6% next year. In Slovakia, the Commission projects this year’s growth rate is to be at the previous year’s level (1.7%), followed by growth of 2.1% next year.

The Commission estimates that, in 2023, the unemployment rate in Finland will be 7.1%, in the Czech Republic 2.8% and in Slovakia 5.8%.

Outlook for 2023 (unchanged, updated on 16 February 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: Building growth in spite of headwinds

Alma Media’s business performance in the first half of the year was in line with expectations in spite of the slowing of economic growth and the disruptions caused by Russia’s war of aggression. Revenue decreased by 1.3% to MEUR 153.5 and adjusted operating profit decreased by 6.4% to MEUR 36.4. While our profitability has been slightly reduced by the decline in media advertising sales and rising costs, the effects of the measures we have taken to adapt costs and defend profitability will begin to show in the second half of the year.

In the second quarter, profit performance improved compared to the preceding quarter, and adjusted operating profit rose to the same level as in the comparison period. The ratio of operating profit to revenue rose to 24.8%, which is close to our long-term target level of 25%.

For the Alma Career segment, Q2 was the second-best on record in terms of both operating profit and profitability. Revenue was on a par with the comparison period at MEUR 28.4, while adjusted operating profit increased by 3.8% to MEUR 12.2, representing 43.1% of revenue. Adjusted total expenses decreased by 2.6%.

Sales of recruitment services remained at a good level 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, for which revenue increased by 5.8%.

The Career United project, which seeks to deepen internal cooperation, continues to progress, which helps keep costs under control. System architecture, brand, finance and ICT harmonisation has progressed according to plan. The next step is to harmonise HR systems.

Customer invoicing decreased year-on-year, but we expect revenue in Q3 to be at least on a par with the comparison period. Market conditions are expected to remain challenging in the Baltic countries and particularly in Finland. The situation in the Czech Republic and Slovakia is better. In Croatia, tourism is driving high growth.

The Alma Consumer segment’s revenue decreased by 3.1% to MEUR 26.3 in Q2. Adjusted operating profit declined by 15.9% to MEUR 5.6, representing 21.2% of revenue. The share of digital business was 82.2% of total revenue. Revenue from comparison services and sharing economy services showed strong development, but revenue from media and media-related services decreased by 8.0%. The drop in advertising revenue can be considered significant (-10.1%), but advertising sales in June showed a substantial improvement compared to April–May. Among the business areas, revenue in the housing segment was particularly affected by the difficult market situation (a decline of 2.3%), but the automotive and mobility segment exceeded the comparison period’s level. Geopolitical tensions and war-related news kept the demand for news high, with the number of subscribers to the paid Iltalehti Plus service exceeding 47,300.

Baana, a digital used car auction service between consumers and car dealers launched earlier this year, is still in the launch stage, but it gained a more established position in the market during the period under review.

In spite of the market situation, we continued our purposeful investments particularly in sales system development in the automotive and housing segments, the OviPro system for digital real estate agency, system projects in the automotive and mobility segment, and development projects related to payment transactions and other key aspects of transactional commerce.

In the Alma Talent segment, the market situation in the second quarter remained challenging for financial media, with revenue declining by 2.9% to MEUR 23.4. The segment implemented cost saving measures across its business operations and costs turned to a decrease. Adjusted operating profit grew by 9.2% to MEUR 4.7. The segment’s strong digital transformation continued, with the share of digital business rising to 64.3% of revenue.

The operating profit of Talent Services increased by 55.1% to MEUR 2.2. At the same time, Talent Media’s operating profit declined by 17.3% to MEUR 2.1.

The increase of 17.7% in Alma Talent Services’ recurring revenues in areas such as business information and law-related services, and the positive development of business premises marketplaces in Finland and Sweden, demonstrates that the segment has successfully established a second cornerstone of growth in scalable digital services aimed at businesses. The April acquisition of a majority stake in the digital DOKS service (Suomen Tunnistetieto), which helps companies manage anti-money laundering obligations, monitor sanctions and, in general, identify and know their customers, is a logical direction of development.

Alma Media is in a good position

Our financial position is strong thanks to our strong profit performance and cash flow. Our gearing at the end of June stood at 82.4% (93.7%) and our equity ratio was 43.0% (38.8%).

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine slows economic growth in our operating countries. Nevertheless, our financial performance has been strong. The investments we have made in previous years – in marketplaces, for example – are now producing positive results.

We will continue to accelerate growth by continuously developing our operations and pursuing new initiatives. In the marketplace and service business, we are moving towards more advanced digital trading platforms and seamless purchasing paths. We want to help our customers easily and smoothly interact on digital platforms, and to offer them additional services at different stages of the transaction process.

Kai Telanne

President and CEO

More information:
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

An analyst and investor 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: kutsut@almamedia.fi

The live webcast can be followed via https://almamedia.videosync.fi/q2-2023-results/register.  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

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, Jobly, 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/.

  • Published: 19.7.2023, 08:00
  • Category: Stock exchange release

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