”Our business developed very well during the first nine months of 2021 in both Learning and Media Finland. The Group’s net sales grew by 20% compared to January–September a year ago as the impact of acquisitions was complemented with strong organic net sales growth. The Group’s operational earnings improvement of 28% was even stronger than the sales growth. We have updated our profitability outlook for 2021 and now expect operational EBIT margin excluding PPA to be around 15.5% based on the good performance of the first nine months and decreased uncertainty related to events and B2B advertising.

In Learning, the third quarter is always the most important quarter of the year. This year, its importance to our business was even higher in two ways: Santillana in Spain was onboard for the first time, and there was a curriculum renewal ongoing in Poland. In these two countries, sales of learning materials are even more focused around the start of the new school year, and thus the third quarter, than in our other operating markets. The integration of Santillana has progressed according to our plan. As the corona restrictions have been easing out, we have also been able to visit each other face-to-face, which has been very valuable. The Santillana team is well-prepared for the educational reform in 2022−23, although its pace and phasing is still uncertain as the local authorities in the Spanish provinces have not yet taken the final decisions. Ahead of the new curriculum, the bookstores and distributors typically return the books they do not need any more, but due to the uncertainty related to the reform in 2022−23, the level of these returns and their remaining value is still uncertain. In January–September, Learning’s organic growth of 6% was even above our long-term target of 2−5%. It is good to keep in mind that the more the learning business grows, the more loss-making Q1 and Q4 become due to the typical seasonality."

"In Media Finland, we saw solid organic growth during the third quarter both in events, B2B and B2C businesses. The number of subscriptions in both Helsingin Sanomat and Ruutu+ continued to grow nicely, while we see signs of the strong corona-driven subscription growth slowing down slightly. We believe this is a general trend signalling that people’s use of media, both news and entertainment, is returning to the pre-pandemic levels. In advertising, the underlying long-term trends have accelerated and in January–September, our digital advertising sales in euros are for the first time exceeding the amount of our print advertising sales. On the cost side, we continue our close focus on cost containment, while the majority of pandemic-driven savings have discontinued and we return to normalised cost levels.

Our leverage decreased during the third quarter in-line with the typical seasonality of our business. Overall we have a solid financial position and the ability to create a good cash flow, and our aim is to continue to grow our businesses organically, and in particular our K12 learning business also through M&A.

We have implemented our Sustainability Strategy now for six months and have been very happy to see how strongly it resonates both with our employees, customers, suppliers and investors. We have implemented several improvements in our operations, and increased especially our sustainability reporting, and this is reflected as improvements in several ESG ratings of Sanoma. As a learning and media company having a positive impact on the lives of millions of people every day, the sustainability aspects are at the very core of our day-to-day work.

During the past weeks, we have encouraged our people to return to the office for a couple of days a week, and are adjusting to the new hybrid ways of working. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our teams for the work very well done under the challenging conditions that we have experienced during the past 18 months. Having seen how agile and flexible our teams are, I am confident that we can adapt again and capture the positives of the ‘better normal’ in the times ahead as well.’’