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CEO’s Review

CEO’s review 16 February 2024: Profitability improved further in an erratic economic cycle 

Alma Media’s business developed well in the fourth quarter in spite of the economic uncertainty. Revenue was on a par with the comparison period at MEUR 78.0, but adjusted operating profit increased by 9.7% to MEUR 16.7. 

Profitability improved in spite of lower sales, which was due to the measures taken by Alma Media to adjust costs, among other factors. At the same time, the Group invested in future business growth, accelerated investments in product development and focused on leveraging artificial intelligence in its business operations. Revenue for the full year amounted to MEUR 304.9 (308.7), representing a change of -1.2%, and adjusted operating profit was on a par with the comparison period. The ratio of operating profit to revenue was 24.1%, which is close to the long-term target (over 25%). 

The profitability of the Alma Career segment improved in the Q4. Revenue was on a par with the comparison period at MEUR 27.0, but adjusted operating profit went up by 18.2% to MEUR 10.0, representing 37.0% of revenue. Total expenses fell by 9%, particularly due to lower sales and marketing spending. Revenue for the FY 2023 came to MEUR 110.5 (+0.7%), and adjusted operating profit went up by 6.4% to MEUR 45.3, 41% of revenue.  

In Slovakia and Croatia, which are significant operating countries for Alma Career, the lively recruitment market is driven by the high level of activity among workers, competition for skilled labour and low unemployment. In Q4, brisk growth was seen in Slovakia (34.2%) and Croatia (14.5%), with the full-year growth figure being approximately 15% for both countries. In the Czech Republic, revenue for the full year was on a par with the comparison period. The labour market cycle remained challenging in the Baltic countries and particularly in Finland.  

The Career United project, which seeks to deepen internal cooperation, continued to move forward. Projects related to the renewal of a common system architecture, brand and back-end systems progressed according to plan. The common Alma Career B2B brand that was launched for corporate customers enables the buying and selling of the same products and services in all Alma Career countries and more broadly in Europe. 

The Alma Consumer segment’s revenue fell by 5.9% to MEUR 25.2 in the fourth quarter. Adjusted operating profit decreased by 28.6% to MEUR 4.2, representing 16.5% of revenue. The year was challenging, with the full-year revenue declining by 3.6% and adjusted operating profit falling by 19.7% in 2023. In Q4, the share of digital business was 83.5% of revenue. Revenue from comparison services and sharing economy services developed favourably, but revenue from media and media-related services decreased by 9%. Advertising revenue declined by 8.7% and the recovery of the advertising market was postponed to 2024.  

Among the business areas, revenue in the housing segment was particularly affected by the low market cycle (a decrease of 7.1%), but the automotive and mobility segment remained at the level seen in the comparison period.  

There was a high general interest in the news. Driven by the development of targeted and personalised content, the number of subscribers to the paid Iltalehti Plus service reached c. 50,000. In spite of the difficult market situation faced by the segment, we made determined progress with our development projects, particularly with regard to sales system development in the automotive and housing segments, system projects in the automotive and mobility segment, and other key projects related to transactional commerce. In the OviPro system for digital real estate agency, which will gradually replace the current KIVI real estate agency system, the development effort progressed to the creation of a comprehensive transaction platform and we carried out the first customer deployments under the long-term project. 

In the Alma Talent segment, revenue went up by 3.8% to MEUR 26.0 and adjusted operating profit by 15.3% to MEUR 5.9 in Q4. Expenses remained on a par with the comparison period. Thanks to cost-saving measures and the active development of the product portfolio, adjusted operating profit for 2023 increased by 4.4% and amounted to MEUR 20.6, representing 21.7% (20.4%) of revenue. The strong digital transformation continued, with the share of digital business rising to 63% of revenue for FY 2023.  

The revenue of Talent Services increased by 13.1% and operating profit by as much as 52.2%, to MEUR 2.7. The growth of continuously invoiced services continued in law-related services, among other areas. Strong development continued in business premises marketplaces in Finland and particularly in Sweden.  

The economic cycle remained challenging for financial media in 2023. The decline of media advertising in the segment slowed to 2.1% in Q4. The decrease in the segment’s media advertising for the full year was 7%. The Talent Media unit’s revenue in Q4 was MEUR 14.1 and on par with the comparison perido to, while operating profit was MEUR 2.9 (3.0). 

Alma Media is in a good position to pursue new initiatives 

Our financial position continued to strengthen thanks to our strong profit performance and cash flow. The reported figures for the comparison period included the gain from the divestment of Bolt and the positive change in the fair value of interest rate hedging, which increased earnings per share in the comparison year. Our gearing at the end of the year stood at 65.4% (69.3%) and our equity ratio was 46.1% (45.8%).  

We will accelerate growth by investing in product development, developing our operational activities and making acquisitions as necessary. In the marketplace and service business, we are moving towards advanced digital trading platforms and seamless purchasing paths, facilitating smooth transactions between businesses and consumers, and providing convenient and secure solutions for buying and selling products and services. In the media business, we will continue the digital transformation by increasing the share of digital media. 

We performed well in spite of the economic cycle. Most of our revenue streams derive from digital businesses with strong market positions and robust competitiveness. We are in an excellent position to achieve strong value creation over the long term.  

Kai Telanne
President and CEO


We performed well in spite of the economic cycle. Most of our revenue streams derive from digital businesses with strong market positions and robust competitiveness. We are in an excellent position to achieve strong value creation over the long term.