Alma Media’s Financial Statements Bulletin January–December 2019

Alma Media Corporation               Financial Statements Bulletin        14 February 2020 at 8:00 a.m. (EET)

ALMA MEDIA’S FINANCIAL STATEMENTS BULLETIN JANUARY–DECEMBER 2019:
The adjusted operating profit for the full year 2019 was record high, including discontinued operations. Adjusted operating profit for continuing operations decreased in the fourth quarter as domestic advertising revenue declined.

On 11 February 2020, Alma Media announced to sell its regional news media business and printing operations to Sanoma Media Finland. The businesses to be divested are reported as discontinued operations in the Financial Statements Bulletin for 2019. The businesses to be divested were previously reported primarily under the Alma Consumer segment. All of the income statement figures presented in this report — including the figures for the comparison year 2018 — represent mostly only the Group’s continuing operations. The balance sheet and cash flow figures include both continuing and discontinued operations.

The continuing operations consist of Alma Markets, which focuses on digital marketplaces, Alma Talent, a provider of financial media and services aimed at professionals and businesses, and Alma Consumer, which focuses on the national consumer media business. The post-divestment estimated and fixed costs related to support services have been allocated to the continuing operations and the comparison figures for 2018 have been adjusted accordingly.

Financial performance October–December 2019:

  • Revenue from continuing operations MEUR 65.8 (67.4), down 2.4%.
  • Revenue including discontinued operations MEUR 89.2 (91.9), down 3.0%.
  • Adjusted operating profit from continuing operations MEUR 12.5 (13.7), down 8.7%.
  • Adjusted operating profit including discontinued operations MEUR 16.2 (17.1), or 18.2% (18.6%) of revenue, down 5.2%.
  • Operating profit from continuing operations MEUR 12.6 (13.4), down 5.4%.
  • Operating profit including discontinued operations MEUR 16.3 (16.1), or 18.3% (17.6%) of revenue, up 1.3%.
  • Earnings per share including discontinued operations EUR 0.14 (0.12).
  • Alma Markets: Revenue was on a par with the comparison period. Profitable growth continued in the housing and automotive businesses in Finland.
  • Alma Talent and Alma Consumer: The profitability of the segments was reduced by a decrease in advertising revenue. Digital content revenue continued to see strong development with an increase of 24%.

Financial performance January–December 2019:

  • Revenue from continuing operations MEUR 250.2 (254.7), down 1.8%.
  • Revenue including discontinued operations MEUR 342.5 (354.6), down 3.4%.
  • Adjusted operating profit from continuing operations MEUR 49.4 (47.6), up 3.8%.
  • Adjusted operating profit including discontinued operations MEUR 61.6 (57.3), or 18.0% (16.2%) of revenue, up 7.5%.
  • Operating profit from continuing operations MEUR 49.5 (47.5), or 19.8% (18.7%) of revenue.
  • Operating profit including discontinued operations MEUR 61.0 (61.0), or 17.8% (17.2%) of revenue.
  • Earnings per share including discontinued operations EUR 0.51 (0.51).
  • The Board’s dividend proposal is EUR 0.40 (0.35) per share
KEY FIGURES FOR CONTINUING OPERATIONS 2019 2018 Change 2019 2018 Change
MEUR Q4 Q4 % Q1–Q4 Q1–Q4 %
Revenue 65.8 67.4 -2.4 250.2 254.7 -1.8
Content revenue 17.5 17.5 -0.2 64.2 64.8 -1.0
Content revenue, print 13.8 14.5 -5.1 50.9 53.5 -4.9
Content revenue, digital 3.7 3.0 23.9 13.2 11.2 17.8
Advertising revenue 38.3 39.7 -3.4 148.5 149.2 -0.5
Advertising revenue, print 4.7 5.4 -11.5 16.3 19.5 -16.5
Advertising revenue, digital 33.6 34.3 -2.0 132.2 129.6 1.9
Service revenue 10.0 10.2 -2.2 37.6 40.7 -7.7
Adjusted total expenses 53.4 53.8 -0.8 201.1 207.5 -3.1
Adjusted EBITDA 16.5 16.2 1.5 66.1 58.5 12.9
EBITDA  16.6 15.9 4.4 66.2 58.4 13.4
Adjusted operating profit 12.5 13.7 -8.7 49.4 47.6 3.8
% of revenue 19.0 20.3   19.8 18.7  
Operating profit (loss) 12.6 13.4 -5.4 49.5 47.5 4.4
% of revenue 19.2 19.8   19.8 18.6  
Profit for the period 10.2 10.1 1.0 40.5 38.2 5.8
Earnings per share, EUR (diluted) 0.11 0.11 -0.1 0.41 0.39 6.8
Digital business revenue 42.8 42.2 1.3 166.7 161.5 3.2
Digital business, % of revenue 65.1 62.7   66.6 63.4  

Dividend proposal to the Annual General Meeting:

On 31 December 2019, the Group’s parent company had distributable funds totalling EUR 148,403,121 (152,709,980). Alma Media’s Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting that a dividend of EUR 0.40 per share (2018: EUR 0.35 per share) be paid for the financial year 2019. The dividend will be paid to shareholders who are registered in Alma Media Corporation’s shareholder register maintained by Euroclear Finland Ltd on the record date, 27 March 2020. The Board of Directors proposes that the dividend be paid on 3 April 2020. Based on the number of outstanding shares on the closing date 31 December 2019, the dividend payment totals EUR 32,913,355 (28,751,404).

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 2020

Uncertainty regarding the development of international trade is continuing and, in 2020, economic growth in Alma Media’s operating countries is expected to remain on a par with, or slow down from, the previous year. The development of the national economies is reflected in the demand for recruitment advertising.

The structural transformation of the media will continue; online advertising and content sales will grow, while the demand for print media will decline. Data, analytics, machine learning and automation will become increasingly important, which calls for increasing technology investments. The areas of digital advertising that are again expected to see the fastest growth are search engine, social media, mobile and video advertising as well as content marketing.

Outlook for 2020

In 2020, Alma Media expects the full-year revenue and adjusted operating profit of its continuing operations to be at the previous year’s level. In 2019, the full-year revenue of the continuing operations was MEUR 250.2 and the adjusted operating profit was MEUR 49.4.

From the President and CEO

Alma Media had its fifth consecutive year of improved results in 2019. We achieved the best result in Alma Media’s history through our successful digital strategy, improved operational efficiency, the divestment of loss-making or marginally profitable businesses and effective cost management: our adjusted operating profit, taking both continuing and discontinued operations into account, increased by 7.5 per cent to MEUR 61.6. Earnings per share were on a par with the previous year at EUR 0.51. The earnings per share in the comparison year were affected by a capital gain recognised on the divestment of the Group’s business operations in Lapland (MEUR 4.5) in 2018. 

Our revenue compared to the previous year was reduced primarily by divestments but, in the latter part of the year, also by a decline in advertising revenue in Finland. The double-digit growth of digital content revenue continued in October–December, compensating for the decline in print content revenue.

The Alma Markets segment reached MEUR 100 in revenue in 2019 and its profitability was record high. The segment’s revenue in October–December was on a par with the previous year. In the latter part of the year, the revenue of the recruitment business reflected the uncertainty in the world economy. The revenue of the recruitment business decreased by 1.9 per cent in October–December mainly due to the weak development of the Finnish recruitment business. In the Alma Markets segment, the housing and automotive marketplace and systems business continued to develop favourably in October–December, particularly on the strength of housing-related and automotive added-value services and tendering services.

Alma Talent’s revenue and adjusted operating profit was weighed down in October–December by the decline of the cyclically sensitive recruitment advertising business as well as revenue from book sales, training services and direct marketing. Digital content revenue from financial and professional media in Finland continued to see strong growth (+28.4%) in October–December, compensating for the decline in content revenue from print media. The improvement of operational efficiency enabled by the transition from print to digital reduced expenses during the review period.

The revenue and adjusted operating profit of Alma Consumer, including the regional media and printing business, were reduced in October–December by the subdued advertising market in Finland. Print media advertising sales declined in regional media, particularly in recruitment advertising and supplement advertising. The decline in digital advertising was mainly attributable to the lower sales of desktop advertising. Content marketing grew. Alma Consumer continued to see double-digit growth (+24.4%) in digital content revenue in the final quarter of the year. Expenses were reduced by cost savings achieved through the restructuring measures implemented in 2018 as well as a decrease in external content purchasing.

In 2019, we achieved two of our three long-term financial targets, return on investment and dividend payout ratio. The levelling off of economic growth was reflected in slower digital business growth of 3.7 per cent. Alma Media’s objective is to exceed market growth in the digital business, which calls for acquisitions in addition to organic growth.

Our balance sheet, which has grown stronger during the past few years, and our good cash flow enable investments in growth and a good dividend payout capacity. Alma Media’s Board of Directors proposes a dividend for the financial year 2019 of EUR 0.40 (0.35) per share.

On 11 February 2020, we announced that Alma Media will sell its regional news media business and printing operations to Sanoma Media Finland. This transaction sharpens our strategy and enables us to shift our focus even more clearly to the development of digital media and international business. The capital invested in print media will decrease. Our key growth areas will be digital marketplaces, the national multi-channel consumer media and service business in Finland as well as financial and professional media and services targeted at businesses. Taking the transaction into account, the share of digital business of the revenue of continuing operations will increase to approximately 70 per cent and the operating profit margin will increase to 20 per cent in 2019. The completion of the transaction is subject to the approval of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority and the transaction is expected to be finalised during the year 2020.

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 media conference in English will be held on the same day at 11.00–12.00 EET in the Alma House (address: Alvar Aallon katu 3 C, Helsinki). The report will be presented by President & CEO Kai Telanne and CFO Juha Nuutinen.   

To participate in the conference in Alma House, kindly register beforehand by e-mail, kutsut@almamedia.fi.

A live webcast, during which written questions may be presented, can be followed via https://almamedia.videosync.fi/2019-q4-results/register. An on-demand version of the webcast will be available on the company's website later on the same day www.almamedia.fi/en/investors/reports-and-presentations/presentations.

The presentation material will be available on www.almamedia.fi/en/investors/reports-and-presentations/presentations  at approximately 11.00 EET. 

Alma Media’s financial calendar 2020

- Interim Report for January–March 2020 on Tuesday, 21 April 2020 at approximately 8:00 EET

- Interim Report for January–June 2020 on Friday, 17 July 2020 at approximately 8:00 EET

- Interim report for January–September 2020 on Thursday, 22 October 2020 at approximately 8:00 EET 

Financial Statements, Report by the Board of Directors, Auditor's Report and Corporate Governance Statement for the 2019 financial year will be published on Wednesday, 4 March 2020. 

The Annual General Meeting is planned to be held on Wednesday, 25 March 2020. The materials related to the Annual General Meeting will be available on the Alma Media website. 

ALMA MEDIA CORPORATION

Board of Directors

Distribution: NASDAQ Helsinki, main media, www.almamedia.com

Alma Media in brief

Alma Media is a dynamic digital service business and media company with a strong capacity for renewal. The company’s best-known brands are Kauppalehti, Talouselämä, Iltalehti, Aamulehti, Etuovi.com and Monster. Alma Media builds sustainable growth expanding its offering from media to related digital services fulfilling the needs of users’ everyday life as consumers and as professionals in business. Alma Media operates in 11 countries in Europe. Alma Media employs approximately 1,800 professionals. Alma Media’s revenue from continuing operations was EUR 250.2 million in 2019. Alma Media’s share is listed on NASDAQ Helsinki. Read more at www.almamedia.com 

  • Date: 14.2.2020, 08:00
  • News type: Stock exchange release

Share article: