Sanoma Corporation, Stock Exchange Release, 7 February 2024 at 8:30 EET

Sanoma Corporation, Full-Year 2023 Result: Net sales growth and operational EBIT in 2023 driven by strong performance in Learning

This release is a summary of Sanoma’s Full-Year 2023 Result. The complete report is attached to this release and is also available at

Q4 2023

  • The Group’s net sales decreased to EUR 253 million (2022: 260). In Learning, net sales were stable. In Media Finland, net sales declined mainly due to lower advertising and external printing sales. The Group’s organic net sales growth was -2% (2022: -3%).
  • The Group’s operational EBIT excl. PPA decreased to EUR -27 million (2022: -2). In Learning, earnings were seasonally negative and declined due to normalised phasing between the third and fourth quarters compared to delayed deliveries in 2022. Lower advertising sales had an adverse impact on earnings in Media Finland.
  • EBIT decreased to EUR -51 million (2022: -21) as a result of lower operational earnings and higher items affecting comparability (IACs). The IACs were EUR -14 million (2022: -8) and mainly consisted of restructuring related expenses and impairments. Purchase price allocation adjustments and amortisations (PPAs) amounted to EUR 10 million (2022: 11).
  • Operational EPS decreased to EUR -0.22 (2022: -0.07).
  • EPS was EUR -0.29 (2022: -0.13).
  • On 20 November, the Board of Directors appointed Rob Kolkman President and CEO of Sanoma Corporation as of 1 January 2024. The appointment was following the announcement on 6 November that President and CEO Susan Duinhoven had informed that she will step down from the role.
  • On 26 October, Sanoma announced that Sanoma Learning’s operational EBIT margin excl. PPA is estimated to reach its long-term target level of 23% in 2026 (2023: 18.7%) supported by the new process and efficiency improvement program, Solar. Annual operational efficiencies from Solar are estimated to amount to approx. EUR 55 million from 2026 onwards.
  • On 25 October, the Board of Directors decided the record date and the payment date of the third dividend instalment of EUR 0.11 per share. The dividend record date was 27 October and the payment date 3 November.
  • On 18 October, Sanoma announced it has signed a new EUR 100 million term loan, which together with other existing funding facilities will be used to repay the EUR 200 million bond maturing in March 2024.

FY 2023

  • The Group’s net sales grew to EUR 1,393 million (2022: 1,298). In Learning, significant net sales growth was attributable to the acquired Italian and German businesses as well as strong growth of learning content sales particularly in Spain and Poland. Net sales declined slightly in Media Finland due to lower advertising sales. The Group’s organic net sales growth was 2% (2022: 1%), being 6% in Learning and -3% in Media Finland.
  • The Group’s operational EBIT excl. PPA decreased to EUR 175 million (2022: 189), corresponding to a margin of 12.6% (2022: 14.6%). In Learning, earnings improvement resulted from strong organic growth and contribution of the acquired Italian and German businesses. Lower advertising sales and cost inflation had a significant adverse impact on earnings in Media Finland.
  • EBIT decreased to EUR 52 million (2022: 112). The Group’s IACs increased to EUR -82 million (2022: -38) mainly due to the booking of the EUR 36 million VAT claim costs in Media Finland in Q2 2023 and higher restructuring expenses resulting from Program Solar in Learning. PPAs grew to EUR 41 million (2022: 39) as a result of the acquisition in Italy and Germany.
  • Operational EPS decreased to EUR 0.39 (2022: 0.65) and was adversely impacted by higher financial expenses and the interest booked for the hybrid bond.
  • EPS was EUR -0.03 (2022: 0.47) due to the interest booked for the hybrid bond.
  • Free cash flow was EUR 105 million (2022: 112). In Learning, active working capital management throughout the year led to significant improvement in operating cash flow. In 2023, the acquired Italian and German businesses had a negative impact on the year-on-year change of the reported free cash flow due to the timing of the acquisition in 2022. Lower earnings in Media Finland and higher interest paid on external debt had an adverse impact on free cash flow, while it was supported by lower taxes paid and lower capital expenditure.
  • Net debt/Adj. EBITDA was 2.8 (2022: 3.2), being at the long-term target level of below 3.0.
  • 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 the years 2015–2018. Based on the Administrative Court’s decision, the VAT claims for the 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 has applied for permission to appeal the 2015–2018 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 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.
  • The Board proposes a dividend of 0.37 € per share (2022: 0.37) for the year 2023, corresponding to 58% of the underlying free cash flow. The dividend will be paid in three instalments, EUR 0.13 in April, EUR 0.13 in September and EUR 0.11 in November.

Outlook for 2024

In 2024, Sanoma expects that the Group’s reported net sales will be EUR 1.29‒1.34 billion (2023: 1.4). The Group’s operational EBIT excl. PPA is expected to be EUR 160−180 million (2023: 175).

Regarding the operating environment, Sanoma expects that:

  • The advertising market in Finland will decline slightly.
  • The development in the economies of the Group’s operating countries is expected to be relatively stable.

President and CEO Rob Kolkman:

”In 2023, our net sales growth and operational EBIT were driven by strong performance in Learning, while Media Finland managed to partially mitigate the impact of lower advertising demand and cost inflation on its financials. In my new role as the President and CEO of Sanoma, I am very much looking forward to working together with our great team to further strengthen our position in European K12 learning services, to deliver on our key initiatives, including Program Solar, and to continue the successful digital transformation in our media business.

In Learning, the year was characterised with strong 6% organic growth, driven by the successful second year of the LOMLOE curriculum renewal in Spain, a minor curriculum renewal in Poland and inflation mitigating price increases across our operating countries. Together, these also resulted in strong improvement of Learning’s operational EBIT. The integration, sales and financial performance of our latest acquisition, the K12 learning content business in Italy, proceeded successfully and in accordance with our plans.

In October, we initiated a Learning-wide process and efficiency improvement programme, named Solar, to ensure that we use the benefits from our increased scale and the best practices from our recent acquisitions in an optimal way. Supported by Program Solar, Learning’s operational EBIT margin excl. PPA is expected to reach its long-term target level of 23% in 2026. First implementation phase of Solar has already been underway, focusing on post-curriculum optimisation especially in Spain and Poland, and the program is on track.

In-line with our expectations, net sales and operational EBIT of Media Finland decreased mainly due to lower advertising sales. The highlights of the year include clear growth in the number of digital subscriptions, mainly attributable to our SVOD service Ruutu+. Initiatives to extend and improve our customer offering led to a minor increase in the total subscription base compared to the end of 2022. Careful price increases across the portfolio during the year supported subscription sales. With continuing active cost containment, the team succeeded to partially mitigate impact of the cost and salary inflation.

During the year, we paid special attention to active working capital management in Learning, with the aim of mitigating the impact of increased seasonality of the business and improve cash conversion. The Group’s free cash flow improved significantly compared to the underlying free cash flow in 2022, which excluded the one-time positive impact due to the timing of the acquisition in Italy and Germany. Our leverage improved to 2.8, being within the long-term target of below 3.0, and providing a solid basis going forward.

While we continue building the long-term strengths of both Learning and Media Finland, our three strategic focus areas in the mid-term are 1) increasing the profitability of Learning and Media Finland, 2) growing organically and through smaller in-market acquisitions in Learning, and 3) deleveraging the balance sheet.

The Board proposes a stable dividend of EUR 0.37 (2022: 0.37), corresponding to 58% of the annual free cash flow. This proposal reflects our ability to deliver solid free cash flow, and balances the capital use between the dividend, which continues to be an important part of our equity story, and the deleveraging of the balance sheet.

We have a unique sustainability profile as learning and media have a positive impact on the lives of millions of people every day. To support the purpose of our businesses, we have set ambitious targets for sustainability aspects in which we have the biggest impact, including climate and employee engagement. Our 2030 climate targets, covering both our operations and the value chain, were approved by the Science Based Targets initiative in November 2023. We were also very happy to see that the annually measured Employee Experience Index (EEI) improved to the long-term target level of 7.5 (2022: 7.3), being clearly above the European benchmark of 7.1. Both of these sustainability aspects are linked, among other targets, to the executive management’s short-term incentives in 2024.

Our Outlook for 2024 indicates lower net sales compared to 2023. This is mainly due to discontinuation of low value contracts in the Dutch learning distribution business and small divestments of non-core businesses both in Learning and Media Finland announced in January 2024, while lower learning content sales after the curriculum renewal in Spain are offset by continued growth in other learning content markets. In Finland, we expect the advertising market to decline slightly. Our expectation of the Group’s operational EBIT excl. PPA is a sum of a relatively stable margin in Learning and modest earnings and margin improvement in Media Finland.

I would like to extend my warmest thanks to all Sanoma employees throughout the business for their excellent work, strong commitment, and passion in supporting our customers, combined with constant internal improvement under the current operating environment. We have a great basis to continue on our strategic path, and to grow and further strengthen our positions, improve our performance, and create value for all our stakeholders. I am looking forward to a successful year 2024.”

Key indicators

EUR million Q4 2023 Q4 2022 Change FY 2023 FY 2022 Change
Net sales 253.4 259.5 -2% 1,392.9 1,298.3 7%
Operational EBITDA 1) 27.8 45.3 -39% 358.3 355.4 1%
Margin 1) 11.0% 17.4%   25.7% 27.4%  
Operational EBIT excl. PPA 2) -27.0 -2.3 -1,070% 175.4 189.3 -7%
Margin 2) -10.7% -0.9%   12.6% 14.6%  
EBIT -51.4 -20.8 -148% 51.7 112.0 -54%
Result for the period -44.6 -21.1 -111% 4.1 77.0 -95%
Free cash flow 70.5 64.2 10% 105.1 111.7 -6%
Equity ratio 3)       42.5% 35.8%  
Net debt       639.7 823.4 -22%
Net debt / Adj. EBITDA       2.8 3.2 -14%
Operational EPS, EUR 1) -0.22 -0.07 -199% 0.39 0.65 -39%
EPS, EUR -0.29 -0.13 -120% -0.03 0.47 -106%
Free cash flow per share, EUR 0.43 0.39 10% 0.64 0.68 -6%
Dividend per share 4)       0.37 0.37 0%
Average number of employees (FTE)       5,119 5,018 2%
Number of employees at the end of the period (FTE)       5,017 5,079 -1%

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 153.8 million in FY 2023 (2022: 142.0).
4) 2023 is a proposal of the Board of Directors to the AGM.

Dividend proposal

On 31 December 2023, Sanoma Corporation’s distributable funds were EUR 399 million, of which profit for the year made up EUR 1 million. Including the fund for non-restricted equity of EUR 210 million, the distributable funds amounted to EUR 608 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 2023. 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 19 April 2024. The payment date for this instalment is 26 April 2024. The 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 2024. The 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 2024.
  • The amount left in equity shall be EUR 548 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 the 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 Rob Kolkman 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

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 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

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

Additional information
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 2023, our net sales amounted to approx. 1.4bn€ and our operational EBIT margin excl. PPA was 12.6%. Sanoma shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. More information is available at