Sanoma Corporation, Stock Exchange Release, 10 February 2023 at 8:30 EET
Sanoma Corporation, Full-Year 2022 Result: Net sales continued to grow and operational EBIT was affected by inflation
This release is a summary of Sanoma’s Full-Year 2022 Result. The complete report is attached to this release and is also available at www.sanoma.com/en/investors.
- The Group’s net sales grew to EUR 260 million (2021: 252). The positive impact of the acquisition of Pearson Italy and Germany was partially offset by lower advertising sales. The Group’s comparable growth was ‑3% (2021: 6%).
- Operational EBIT excl. PPA was seasonally negative and amounted to EUR -2 million (2021: -5).
- EBIT was EUR -21 million (2021: -19). Items affecting comparability (IACs) increased to EUR -8 million (2021: -5) and were mainly related to recent acquisitions in Learning. Purchase price allocation adjustments and amortisations (PPAs) grew to EUR 11 million (2021: 8) as a result of the acquisition of the Italian and German business.
- Operational EPS was EUR -0.07 (2021: -0.06).
- EPS was EUR -0.13 (2021: -0.09).
- On 16 December 2022, Sanoma received a payment decision regarding tax audits for 2019−2021 concerning the VAT treatment of magazine distribution in Media Finland, from which it will appeal. Based on the decision received, Sanoma paid EUR 11 million of VAT, penalties and interests at year end 2022 in order to avoid further interest accumulation. For dividend calculation purposes, the Group’s free cash flow will be adjusted for the prepayment.
- On 7 November 2022, Sanoma signed a EUR 300 million syndicated revolving credit facility replacing its earlier facility of the same size, and syndicated its EUR 250 million 4-year term loan used for the acquisition of Pearson Italy and Germany with a group of ten relationship banks.
- On 26 October, the Board of Directors decided the record date and payment date of the second dividend instalment of EUR 0.27 per share. The dividend record date was 28 October and the payment date 4 November.
- On 4 October, Sanoma divested Eduarte, a Dutch student administration system provider for vocational education, in line with the strategy to harmonise its digital offering across the learning business.
- The Group’s net sales grew to EUR 1,298 million (2021: 1,252) mainly driven by the acquisition of the Italian and German learning business from Pearson. The Group’s comparable net sales growth was 1% (2021: 7%).
- Operational EBIT excl. PPA declined to EUR 189 million (2021: 197), corresponding to a margin of 14.6% (2021: 15.8%). Earnings were stable in Learning and declined in Media Finland mainly due to lower advertising sales and higher paper costs.
- EBIT was EUR 112 million (2021: 142). IACs increased to EUR -38 million (2021: -16) mainly due to transaction and integration costs of recent acquisitions as well as impairments in Learning. PPAs were EUR 39 million (2021: 39).
- Operational EPS was EUR 0.65 (2021: 0.69).
- EPS was EUR 0.47 (2021: 0.62).
- Free cash flow declined to EUR 112 million (2021: 140) mainly due to lower earnings, as well as higher working capital, investments and taxes. It includes a significant positive contribution from the working capital of the acquired Italian and German businesses due to the timing of the acquisition.
- Net debt/Adj. EBITDA increased to 3.2 (2021: 2.4) mainly as a result of the acquisition in Italy and Germany.
- On 31 August, Sanoma completed the acquisition of Pearson’s local K12 learning content business in Italy and its small exam preparation business in Germany.
- On 7 June, Sanoma announced its strategic growth ambition to increase the Group’s net sales to over EUR 2 billion by 2030, with at least 75% coming from the learning business.
- The Board proposes a dividend of 0.37 € per share (2021: 0.54), corresponding to 93% of the underlying free cash flow. The dividend will be paid in three instalments, EUR 0.13 on 28 April, EUR 0.13 in September and EUR 0.11 in November.
Outlook for 2023
In 2023, Sanoma expects that the Group’s reported net sales will be EUR 1.35‒1.4 billion (2022: 1.3). The Group’s operational EBIT excl. PPA is expected to be EUR 150−180 million (2022: 189).
Regarding the operating environment, Sanoma expects that:
- The economies in the Group’s operating countries, particularly in Finland, will experience a mild recession.
- The advertising market in Finland will decline slightly, with most of the decline during the first half of the year.
President and CEO Susan Duinhoven:
”In light of the significant changes in the world around us, 2022 was another solid year of transformation for Sanoma –although being very different from what we expected twelve months ago, just coming out of the coronavirus pandemic. In Learning, one of the highlights in 2022 was the acquisition of two established learning businesses in Italy and Germany from Pearson. We were happy to welcome these strong teams to Sanoma at the end of August. The acquired businesses fit well in our learning portfolio and strategy, and the acquisition had already a modest positive contribution to our net sales growth and operational EBIT, and due to the timing of the acquisition also a significant one to the free cash flow. The integration has started according to our plans and playbook and we expect the separation from Pearson and integration into Sanoma to be a sizable project over the next 18−24 months.
Net sales of Learning grew by 7% driven by the acquired Italian and German businesses. Organic growth was good across our operating countries except – in line with our expectations – in Poland, where the latest curriculum renewal ended in 2021. In Spain, the implementation of the major educational reform and curriculum renewal, LOMLOE, started a bit more fragmented than we had anticipated. However, it created solid growth in the demand for learning content in 2022, which is expected to continue also in 2023 extending most likely even into 2024. The inflationary cost increases impacted the earnings in Learning, as we typically can set our prices only once a year. Now for 2023, we have been able to adapt the prices for our products and services and we expect that it will take 1−2 years to fully mitigate the cost increases in most of our markets. Especially the higher personnel costs that in most of our businesses will impact us only from 2023 onwards, will take some time to mitigate. Despite the inflationary cost increases, the operational earnings remained stable in most of our businesses. The main exception was the Dutch distribution business that suffered during the summer period from labour shortage and related sharp increase in hiring costs, delays due to supply chain issues with our main supplier and the general inflationary cost pressures.
In Media Finland, net sales were stable, while operational earnings declined driven by lower advertising sales and significantly higher paper costs. The active cost containment by the teams across fixed cost categories was not able to fully offset the adverse inflationary impact on Media Finland’s operational earnings. One of the highlights of the year was the clear growth in the number of visits to all our digital news platforms, especially Ilta-Sanomat, as well as solid growth in the digitally active subscription base of both Helsingin Sanomat and the regional news media titles. Subscription sales were stable, while the total number of subscribers declined slightly towards the end of the year reflecting the weakening consumer confidence in Finland. During the second half of the year, advertising sales declined year-on-year compared to the strong demand in 2021 that was driven by the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Sustainability is at the core of both our learning and media business. During the year, we continued our actions towards our targets by focusing on improving diversity, equality and inclusion across Sanoma and sending our climate targets for validation to the Science-Based Targets initiative. Our progressive and holistic approach to sustainability was reflected in continued improvement in key ESG ratings and inclusion into the Nasdaq OMX Sustainability Finland Index. We were delighted to also see that our Employee Experience Index remained stable at the good level of 7.3, even in a year that put quite some challenges and hardship for our teams, and we continued to exceed the European benchmark that was 7.1.
Compared to last year, our free cash flow declined significantly. The main reasons for this were higher investments in digital development in Learning, adaptation of our offices to the hybrid way of working as well as lower EBITDA and costs related to the recent acquisition in Learning. This was mostly compensated by the working capital that came with the acquired businesses due to the timing of the acquisition. Without a similar benefit from the Italian and German acquisition as seen in 2022, we expect the Group’s 2023 free cash flow to temporarily decline, being impacted by the lower earnings expected in our Finnish media business, continued investments in our digital platforms and integration of the recently acquired businesses together with significantly higher financial expenses.
The Board proposes a dividend of EUR 0.37 (2021: 0.54), corresponding to a yield of 3.8% on the end of 2022 share price and 93% of the underlying free cash flow. This proposal balances the capital use between the dividend and our continuing investments in growing the business further.
We expect the challenging operating environment to continue, leading to a mild recession in most of our operating countries. This will be impacting our performance in 2023, and thus our Outlook for 2023 shows growth in net sales with slightly lower operational EBIT. In 2023, we will focus on further building the long-term strengths of our businesses around learning content, harmonisation of digital learning platforms and leading offering in digital news and entertainment, and thus coming out of the recession even stronger than we went in. At the same time, we will intensify our thoughtful cost management and highly selective approach to growth investments. We remain fully committed to our growth strategy as well as our long-term financial targets. We are aiming for the Group net sales to be above EUR 2 billion, with at least 75% coming from the learning business, which we aim to achieve through organic growth and further acquisitions within K12 learning services. Also in the shorter term, we continue to be interested in value creating acquisitions in K12 learning content, especially in-market acquisitions, even though our main focus this year will be on integrations and gaining the scale benefits that our European portfolio can offer.
I would like to extend my great thanks to all Sanoma employees for their excellent work, tenacity and strong commitment to supporting our customers in these more challenging times. Thanks to our teams, we were able to continue our growth, operational development and solid financial performance throughout the year 2022. I also want to thank our customers and shareholders for their continued support and interest in selecting Sanoma as their partner and investment respectively. Together we will continue on our strategic path with an aim to grow and further strengthen our positions and improve our performance in the years ahead.’’
Key indicators for continuing operations
|EUR million||Q4 2022||Q4 2021||Change||FY 2022||FY 2021||Change|
|Operational EBITDA 1)||45.3||42.1||7%||355.4||361.0||-2%|
|Operational EBIT excl. PPA 2)||-2.3||-5.2||56%||189.3||197.2||-4%|
|Result for the period||-21.1||-13.9||-52%||77.0||101.4||-24%|
|Operational EPS, EUR 1)||-0.07||-0.06||-12%||0.65||0.69||-6%|
|Average number of employees (FTE)||5,018||4,885||3%|
|Number of employees at the end of |
the period (FTE)
Key indicators incl. continuing and discontinued operations 3)
|EUR million||Q4 2022||Q4 2021||Change||FY 2022||FY 2021||Change|
|Result for the period||-21.1||-14.0||-50%||77.0||101.2||-24%|
|Free cash flow||64.2||55.2||16%||111.7||139.7||-20%|
|Equity ratio 4)||35.8%||40.6%|
|Net debt / Adj. EBITDA||3.2||2.4||35%|
|Operational EPS, EUR 1)||-0.07||-0.07||-10%||0.65||0.69||-6%|
|Free cash flow per share, EUR||0.39||0.34||16%||0.68||0.86||-20%|
|Dividend per share, EUR||0.375)||0.54|
1) Excluding IACs
2) Excluding IACs and purchase price allocation adjustments and amortisations (PPAs)
3) In 2021, discontinued operations included certain Learning operations that were under strategic review. More information on discontinued operations’ financial performance is available on p. 38.
4) Advances received included in the formula of equity ratio were EUR 142.0 million in FY 2022 (2021: 155.2).
5) 2022 is a proposal of the Board of Directors to the AGM.
On 31 December 2022, Sanoma Corporation’s distributable funds were EUR 456 million, of which profit for the year made up EUR 123 million. Including the fund for non-restricted equity of EUR 210 million, the distributable funds amounted to EUR 665 million. The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting that:
- A dividend of EUR 0.37 per share shall be paid for the year 2022. The dividend shall be paid in three instalments. The first instalment of EUR 0.13 per share shall be paid to a shareholder who is registered in the shareholders’ register of the company maintained by Euroclear Finland Ltd on the dividend record date 21 April 2023. The payment date for this instalment is 28 April 2023. Record date for the second instalment of EUR 0.13 per share will be decided by the Board of Directors in September, and the estimated payment date will be in September 2023. Record date for the third instalment of EUR 0.11 per share will be decided by the Board of Directors in October, and the estimated payment date will be in November 2023.
- The amount left in equity shall be EUR 605 million.
According to its dividend policy, Sanoma aims to pay an increasing dividend, equal to 40–60% of the annual free cash flow. When proposing a dividend to the AGM, the Board of Directors looks at the general macro-economic environment, Sanoma’s current and target capital structure, Sanoma’s future business plans and investment needs, as well as both previous year’s cash flows and expected future cash flows affecting capital structure.
Analyst and investor conference
An analyst and investor conference will be held in English by the President and CEO Susan Duinhoven and CFO Alex Green at 11:00 EET at Sanomatalo, Flik Studio Eliel, 1st floor, Töölönlahdenkatu 2, Helsinki.
The conference can be followed as a live webcast at https://sanoma.videosync.fi/q4-2022-result.
Management presentation is followed by a Q&A session. Questions can be placed through the webcast chat function or by phone. To ask questions by phone, the participant is required to register at https://palvelu.flik.fi/teleconference/?id=10010424. After the registration you will receive the phone number and conference ID to access the conference. If you wish to ask a question, please press *5 on your telephone keypad to enter the queue.
An on-demand replay of the webcast will be available shortly after the conference at www.sanoma.com/en/investors.
Interview opportunities for media by Teams or by phone are available after the conference. Media representatives are asked to book interviews via Communications Director Marcus Wiklund, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kaisa Uurasmaa, Head of Investor Relations and Sustainability, tel. +358 40 560 5601
Sanoma is an innovative and agile learning and media company impacting the lives of millions every day. Our Sustainability Strategy is designed to maximise our positive ‘brainprint’ on society and to minimise our environmental footprint. We are committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and signatory to the UN Global Compact.
Our learning products and services enable teachers to develop the talents of every child to reach their full potential. We offer printed and digital learning content as well as digital learning and teaching platforms for primary, secondary and vocational education, and want to grow our business.
Our Finnish media provide independent journalism and engaging entertainment also for generations to come. Our unique cross-media position offers the widest reach and tailored marketing solutions for our business partners.
Today, we operate in twelve European countries and employ more than 5,000 professionals. In 2022, our net sales amounted to approx. 1.3bn€ and our operational EBIT margin excl. PPA was 14.6%. Sanoma shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. More information is available at sanoma.com.