SanomaWSOY's investor relations (IR) has a clear goal - to ensure that shareholders and all other parties active in the market have access to correct and updated information on the company in order to enable them to assess its present status and future prospects as an investment target. "We take a dedicated, long-term approach to investor relations," says Ms Raija Kariola, Vice President, Investor Relations and Group Communications.
Raija Kariola points out that the company's communications strategy is based on a medium-term goal: SanomaWSOY wants to rank among the top Finnish listed companies in terms of the quality of investor relations and corporate communications.
"Investor reporting is developing at a tremendous speed. Openness is increasing, the parties involved are improving their skills, the standard is rising and expectations are becoming higher each year," notes Kariola who has fifteen years' experience in the field. "The Internet, in particular, and the speed of communication have revolutionised the field. Today investor relations is more global than ever and requirements are tough: information must be simultaneously available in Helsinki, Tokyo, and San Diego."IR has an impact on market capitalisation
The aim of SanomaWSOY's communications is to apply the best policy for increasing the company's market capitalisation to correspond with the highest possible market value based on actual performance.
"High-quality investor reporting does not permit the company's market capitalisation to overgrow its fair value," says Raija Kariola, and reminds us of the era of IT hype when mere expectations pushed stock prices up.
Whether investor relations has an impact on the company's capitalisation has only recently been actually measured. It has been said that up to one third of a company's market capitalisation derives from the quality of investor relations. "There are many factors beyond the company's control affecting market capitalisation. For that reason it's important to make the most of the opportunities communications provide," Kariola points out.
SanomaWSOY - a listed company
SanomaWSOY targets to be in the European Media Index. "We already meet many of the criteria it sets. One impediment is our low share turnover, which stems from our maturity as a listed company and our ownership structure. SanomaWSOY's owners and management have therefore taken steps to increase the turnover of shares, for instance by converting A shares into B shares. Also the convertible bond issued in summer 2001 will probably increase the number of shares on the market in the future, and the Rautakirja merger is bound to have a similar effect. This will take time, but will show results over time," says Kariola.
"In planning the merger between Sanoma and WSOY, it was decided to create a genuine listed company. That allows us to operate actively on the international media market and makes us a noteworthy partner e.g. in restructuring."
Raija Kariola has experience of investor relations in several companies. She points out, however, that the methods and procedures do not differ between sectors.
"It is more a question of the company's life cycle on the stock market and of the strength of the company's market profile. The ownership structure and how potential investors rate us compared to similar companies also have an effect," says Kariola.
The importance of personal contact
The best service mode for fast investor reporting is the company's website. Investors still regard personal contact as the most important method, though, although unpublished additional information may not be released at these meetings. In 2002 SanomaWSOY's management met with institutional investors, portfolio managers and analysts at numerous one-on-one meetings, press conferences, briefings and seminars. The Capital Markets Day in May 2002 attracted over 30 sell-side and buy-side analysts. The company also held meetings with some 500 private investors during 2002.
"Goldman Sachs published the company analysis of SanomaWSOY in February 2002 and, as earlier, we are being analysed by Deutsche Bank and Nordic banking groups. In early 2003 three new analyses of SanomaWSOY, conducted by a large international brokerage house, will also be published," says Kariola.
An important event in 2003 for sell-side and buy-side analysts will be the Capital Markets Day, which concentrates on strategic questions and will be held in Helsinki on 14 May. A joint event will be arranged for the Finnish press and analysts relating to release of the annual financial report on 20 February.
"We have plans to arrange an international meeting tour in the spring, after the annual financial report is released, and possibly another in the autumn," says Kariola. The expectant mood of the market has made it difficult to plan the IR calendar for 2003. "If there's an economic upturn, investors' strategies will change. We are sensitive to the amount of information and the number of meetings the market demands."