Sanoma Corporation, Stock Exchange Release, 26 July 2023 at 8:30 EET
Sanoma Corporation, Half-Year Report January-June 2023: Net sales grew, operational EBIT supported by solid Learning performance
This release is a summary of Sanoma’s Half-Year Report January-June 2023. 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 341 million (2022: 313). In Learning, the net sales growth was driven particularly by the acquired Italian and German business as well as the ongoing curriculum renewal in Spain. Net sales declined in Media Finland due to lower advertising sales. The Group’s organic net sales development was 0% (2022: 3%).
- The Group’s operational EBIT excl. PPA was stable and amounted to EUR 54 million (2022: 54). In Learning, earnings improvement was driven by net sales growth particularly in Spain and the positive contribution of the acquired Italian business, while lower advertising sales had an adverse impact on earnings in Media Finland. Inflation increased the operating costs in both SBUs.
- EBIT decreased to EUR -1 million (2022: 39) mainly as a result of the EUR 36 million VAT claims for years 2015−2021 booked as IACs in Media Finland (more information on p. 13). As a result, the Group’s items affecting comparability (IACs) increased to EUR -43 million (2022: -5) . Purchase price allocation adjustments and amortisations (PPAs) amounted to EUR 11 million (2022: 10).
- Operational EPS decreased to EUR 0.14 (2022: 0.21) as a result of higher financial expenses.
- EPS was EUR -0.08 (2022: 0.19).
- On 8 June, Sanoma announced that the Administrative Court has rejected its appeal that concerned the VAT payment decision regarding the tax audits at Sanoma Media Finland for years 2015–2018. Based on the Administrative Court’s decision, the VAT claims for years 2015−2018 and 2019−2021, amounting to EUR 36 million, were booked as IACs in Media Finland’s Q2 2023 result. This was partially offset by a positive EUR 5 million adjustment to the income taxes. The court decision had no impact on Sanoma’s free cash flow as the VAT claims were pre-paid in 2021 and 2022. Sanoma will apply for a permission to appeal the decision to the Supreme Administrative Court. The VAT regulations have changed as of 1 July 2021 and thus further tax audits related to the matter are not expected.
- On 19 April, the Annual General Meeting decided that a dividend of EUR 0.37 per share (2021: 0.54) shall be paid for 2022 in three instalments. The first instalment of EUR 0.13 was paid on 28 April, the second instalment of EUR 0.13 will be paid in September and the third instalment of EUR 0.11 in November.
- The Group’s net sales grew to EUR 559 million (2022: 524). In Learning, growth was mainly attributable to the Italian and German business acquired in August 2022 as well organic net sales growth especially in Spain. Net sales declined in Media Finland mainly due to lower advertising sales. The Group’s organic net sales development was 0% (2022: 2%), being 4% in Learning and -3% in Media Finland.
- The Group’s operational EBIT excl. PPA decreased to EUR 23 million (2022: 43). In Learning, earnings decreased due to the typical annual seasonality of the business, which has increased as a result of the recent acquisitions, but were supported by the solid performance in the second quarter. Earnings decreased significantly in Media Finland driven by lower advertising sales. In both SBUs, earnings were affected by the inflation impact on paper, personnel and fixed costs.
- EBIT decreased to EUR -44 million (2022: 17). IACs increased to EUR -46 million (2022: -8) mainly due to the booking of the VAT claim in Media Finland during Q2 2023. PPAs grew to EUR 21 million (2022: 18) as a result of the acquisition in Italy and Germany.
- Operational EPS decreased to EUR -0.09 (2022: 0.11) and was adversely impacted by clearly higher financial expenses.
- EPS was EUR -0.33 (2022: 0.07).
- Free cash flow improved to EUR -84 million (2022: -99), while being negative in line with the seasonal pattern of the business. Actions to improve the operating model to mitigate the seasonality in Learning led to positive working capital development, which was partially offset by the impact of the seasonally negative operating cash flow of the acquired Italian and German business and lower earnings in both SBUs.
- Net debt/Adj. EBITDA was 3.3 (2022: 3.2), being slightly above the long-term target level of ‘below 3.0’.
- On 9 March, Sanoma announced that it will issue a EUR 150 million hybrid bond to strengthen its balance sheet to increase the financial flexibility and support the execution of the strategic plan. The hybrid bond was issued on 16 March.
Outlook for 2023 (unchanged)
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:
”Sanoma’s financial performance in the second quarter was solid. In Learning, it was positively impacted by the strong development related to the LOMLOE curriculum renewal in Spain, which we expect to continue also in the third quarter. Learning content sales grew also in the Netherlands, Finland and Belgium driven by the higher-than-usual price increases we have successfully implemented across our operating countries. The increases have been understood well by our customers, and so far we have seen them having an expected, only moderate impact on sales volumes. A good example of this is Finland, where the organic growth of the already important second quarter sales season amounted to 5%. For the full year, we expect the organic growth in Learning to be at the higher end of the long-term target of 2−5%, including the impact of optimising the Dutch distribution business by discontinuing the loss-making contracts and the positive effects of the ongoing curriculum renewal in Spain. In Italy, the integration has continued successfully according to our plans, and the first half net sales were in-line with the previous year, meeting our expectations. As the curriculum renewal cycles in Spain and Poland are coming to an end this year, we are planning to optimise our capacity and operations in those countries to better adapt to the current operating environment and the normalising demand.
In Media Finland, declining advertising sales and cost inflation continued to have an adverse impact on earnings. A slight decrease in subscription sales continued, as price increases did not fully offset the impact of the slightly lower subscription base and the divestment of Supla audiobooks in March. Our teams have continued their business development activities and brought new ideas to the market also during the first half of this year. One example of this is the launch in June of the free ad-supported streaming service Pluto TV as part of Finland’s leading local AVOD streaming service Ruutu. Pluto TV offers the audience exclusively 35 new streaming channels and has been received well with more than 800,000 starts by a large number of users already during the first weeks. We are now also seeing some costs being past their peak. For example, paper prices started to decline in the market, and even though their absolute level is still high, going forward we expect to see a positive impact on our financial performance with some delay.
Our free cash flow improved significantly during the second quarter although being seasonally negative due to the nature of the learning business. We took actions to mitigate the impact of the increased seasonality resulting from our recent acquisitions, and for example introduced pre-payments more widely in the Dutch distribution business as well as focused on earlier invoicing and collections across our Learning businesses. For the full year, we still expect the underlying free cash flow, excluding the previous year’s positive impact of the acquired Italian business, to remain stable. At the end of June, our leverage (net debt/Adj. EBITDA) of 3.3 was at its typical seasonal peak slightly above the long-term target level of below 3.0.
After the first half of the year, our Outlook for 2023 remains unchanged. In Learning, our teams are fully prepared for the third quarter high season, and we expect the solid development in Learning driven by Spain and the Netherlands to offset the uncertainty related to the second half advertising sales in Media Finland.
I would like to greatly thank all our employees for the agility and perseverance they have shown during the first half of the year working with our customers in adapting to higher inflation and interest rate environment. Together, we are starting the high season in Learning and the important second half of the year in Media Finland with solid confidence. We are committed to our strategy to serve our customers to the best of our abilities and we are keen to grow our K12 learning business further through organic growth and targeted acquisitions.”
|EUR million||Q2 |
|Q2 2022||Change||H1 2023||H1 2022||Change||FY 2022|
|Operational EBITDA 1)||97.9||92.9||5%||109.6||121.7||-10%||355.4|
|Operational EBIT excl. PPA 2)||53.7||53.6||0%||23.0||43.2||-47%||189.3|
|Result for the period||-11.2||30.8||-136%||-51.0||12.6||-506%||77.0|
|Free cash flow||-16.0||-60.0||73%||-83.9||-99.3||16%||111.7|
|Equity ratio 3)||35.4%||33.7%||35.8%|
|Net debt / Adj. EBITDA||3.3||3.2||5%||3.2|
|Operational EPS, EUR 1)||0.14||0.21||-34%||-0.09||0.11||-175%||0.65|
|Free cash flow per share, EUR||-0.10||-0.37||73%||-0.51||-0.61||16%||0.68|
|Average number of employees (FTE)||5,116||4,906||4%||5,018|
|Number of employees at the end of the period (FTE)||5,295||5,117||3%||5,079|
1) Excluding IACs
2) Excluding IACs and purchase price allocation adjustments and amortisations (PPAs)
3) Advances received included in the formula of equity ratio were EUR 175.1 million in H1 2023 (2022: 157.7).
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/q2-2023-results.
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=10010426. 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 Manager Sanna Sandvall email@example.com.
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.