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CEO’s Review

CEO’s review: Business growth in a changing operating environment

(20 July 2022)

Alma Media’s business performance in the second quarter was strong in spite of the economic impacts of Russia’s war of aggression. Revenue increased by 10.7% to MEUR 79.3 and adjusted operating profit grew by 15.7% to MEUR 19.2. At the beginning of July, we updated our guidance to state that we expect our full-year revenue and adjusted operating profit from continuing operations to increase significantly from the 2021 level.

The Alma Career segment had another record-breaking quarter. The continued strong demand for recruitment services increased revenue by 42.2% to MEUR 28.4. Adjusted operating profit grew by 52.8% to MEUR 11.8, representing 41.5% of revenue. The Career United project, which seeks to deepen internal cooperation, progressed as planned. We adopted a new organisational structure based on geographic regions and established a joint product organisation. The demand for recruitment services remained strong in all of our operating countries, and the positive development of added-value services related to recruitment – including system solutions, employer image advertising and the Seduo training platform – continued. The continued high level of activity in the recruitment market is driven by intense competition for labour. The low unemployment rate in our key operating countries also boosts demand for our added-value services. Customer invoicing has remained strong, and we expect to see continued growth during the rest of the year. However, we expect business growth to slow down towards the end of the year due to the strong revenue levels in the comparison periods.

In the Alma Consumer segment, costs increased by 6.6%, which reflects our investments in business development. The higher costs were attributable to investments in product development, especially in marketplaces and comparison services. Revenue increased by 2.1% to MEUR 27.1, with the rate of organic growth being 4.0%. Adjusted operating profit was MEUR 6.6, representing 24.4% of revenue. The share of revenue represented by digital business rose to 82.5%, and digital media advertising continued to develop favourably. Revenue from media and media-related services increased by 8.6%. Russia’s attack on Ukraine increased the demand for news and media consumption among the public, which had a positive impact on Iltalehti. The demand for the paid Iltalehti Plus service also developed favourably throughout the quarter. The synergies between the Nettix business and other Finnish marketplaces and media are becoming increasingly visible. In the housing business area, revenue increased by 13.1% in the second quarter. At the same time, global challenges in the automotive industry – including supply chain disruptions and component shortages – hampered the segment’s business growth.

We expect that consumer uncertainty may be reflected particularly in housing and automotive marketplaces and related advertising in the second half of the year.

The Alma Talent segment’s comparable revenue was on a par with the previous year. Revenue declined by 4.4% to MEUR 24.1 due to the divestment of the Baltic telemarketing business. The segment’s strong digital transformation continued, with the share of digital business rising to 60.3% of revenue. Adjusted operating profit declined by 15.2% to MEUR 4.3, representing 17.9% of revenue. Profitability was weakened by investments in future growth in areas such as the data business and digital housing transactions. In Alma Talent Media and Alma Talent Services, revenue was on a par with the previous year. Talent Media’s content revenue grew by 4.2%, as the 13.6% increase in digital content revenue exceeded the 9% decline in print media revenue. Other positive developments included the growth of Talent Services’ continuous services related to digital company information and law-related services, for example. The war in Ukraine and its economic impacts tempered the growth of the transaction volume for housing and other properties as well as new IPOs.

Our financial position has been strengthened as planned thanks to our excellent profit performance and strong cash flow. Our gearing at the end of Q2 stood at 93.7%, compared to 160.0% one year earlier, following our largest-ever investments. Our equity ratio increased from 29.4% to 38.8% over the same period. Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has had a significant negative effect on economic growth, including in Alma Media’s operating countries. It reduces economic growth and keeps inflation high. Alma Media has no business activities or assets in Ukraine or Russia, hence only the indirect impact of the war affect us. We have supported refugees through aid organisations and offered free advertising space to the organisations. We have also supported Ukrainians in finding work by developing Workania.eu, a shared application for the Alma Career countries that helps Ukrainian refugees find work faster. The service now has thousands of jobs available to Ukrainians. It is also a demonstration of our ability to take quick cooperative action between our operating countries.

The volatile business environment in the recent years underscores the importance of agility, strategic flexibility and resilience for a company. Future growth requires not only continuous development of operations but also the courage to pursue new initiatives and investments. Alma Medians have shown the ability to quickly adapt to difficult circumstances and maintain excellent business performance even in weak economic conditions.


Kai Telanne  

President and CEO  

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Future growth requires not only continuous development of operations but also the courage to pursue new initiatives and investments. Alma Medians have shown the ability to quickly adapt to difficult circumstances and maintain excellent business performance even in weak economic conditions.