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Sanoma Corporation, Half-Year Report January–June 2021: Strong growth in net sales and operational EBIT in both businesses

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Sanoma Corporation, Stock Exchange Release, 28 July 2021 at 8:30 EET

Sanoma Corporation, Half-Year Report January–June 2021: Strong growth in net sales and operational EBIT in both businesses

This release is a summary of Sanoma’s Half-Year Report January–June 2021. The complete report is attached to this release and is also available at sanoma.com/en/investors.


Q2 2021

  • The Group’s net sales grew to EUR 303 million (2020: 246) driven by acquisitions and strong organic growth both in Learning and Media Finland. The Group’s comparable net sales growth of 10% (2020: -14%) was driven primarily by the recovering advertising sales.

  • Operational EBIT excl. PPA grew to EUR 65 million (2020: 54). Earnings improved in Learning supported by the acquisition of Santillana and in Media Finland by net sales growth and synergies of the acquisition of the regional news media business.

  • EBIT was EUR 52 million (2020: 43). Items affecting comparability (IACs) were EUR -3 million (2020: -6). Purchase price allocation adjustments and amortisations (PPAs) increased to EUR 11 million (2020: 6) as a result of the Santillana acquisition.

  • Operational EPS was EUR 0.24 (2020: 0.21) and EUR 0.24 (2020: 0.22) including discontinued operations.

  • EPS was EUR 0.22 (2020: 0.17) and EUR 0.22 (2020: 0.20) including discontinued operations.

  • On 1 June, Sanoma announced it had increased its ownership in event organiser Nelonen Media Live Ltd. from 60% to 100%.

  • On 29 April, Sanoma announced it had received a decision from the Finnish Tax Adjustment Board that they had accepted a claim made by the Finnish Tax Ombudsman related to tax audits at Sanoma Media Finland in 2015-2018. Sanoma considers the claims completely unjustified and has appealed the decisions. On 1 July, Sanoma has paid the required VAT, the related penalty and interests of EUR 25 million and will book the amount paid as a receivable in Q3 2021.


H1 2021

  • Net sales grew in both businesses both organically and through acquisitions, and the Group’s net sales amounted to EUR 513 million (2020: 434). The Group’s comparable net sales growth of 7% (2020: -8%) was driven by advertising sales rebounding from previous year’s coronavirus pandemic impact and 5% organic growth in Learning.

  • Operational EBIT excl. PPA grew to EUR 55 million (2020: 46) driven by solid net sales growth in both Learning and Media Finland.

  • EBIT was EUR 28 million (2020: 26). IACs totalled EUR -7 million (2020: -10). PPAs increased to EUR 20 million (2020: 11) as a result of the Santillana acquisition.

  • Operational EPS decreased to EUR 0.11 (2020: 0.14) due to higher financial costs and taxes. Operational EPS including discontinued operations was EUR 0.12 (2020: 0.23).

  • EPS was EUR 0.08 (2020: 0.10) and EUR 0.08 (2020: 0.18) including discontinued operations.

  • Free cash flow improved to EUR -51 million (2020: -65) while being negative in-line with its typical seasonal pattern.

  • Net debt/Adj. EBITDA was 3.1 (2020: 2.6) at its typical seasonal peak and increased due to the Santillana acquisition.


Outlook for 2021 (unchanged)

In 2021, Sanoma expects that the Group’s reported net sales will be EUR 1.2‒1.3 billion (2020: 1.1). The Group’s operational EBIT margin excluding PPA is expected to be 14%–16% (2020: 14.7%).

Regarding the operating environment and its implications for the business and financials Sanoma expects that:

  • Net sales of the events business will be approximately half of the 2019 level (2019: EUR 35 million) and profitability around break-even.

  • The advertising demand will be weighted towards the second half of the year.

  • The learning business will not be significantly impacted by prolonged school closures in its main operating countries.


President and CEO Susan Duinhoven:

”Our first half of the year was strong in all aspects. Net sales grew and earnings improved as a result of both acquisitions and organic growth both in Learning and Media Finland. In Learning, we had 5% organic growth and this was in particular strong in countries where a curriculum renewal or a transformation to subscription model is ongoing, i.e. the Netherlands and Poland. We are also very satisfied with the performance of Santillana, which has met our expectations and the integration is proceeding steadily according to our plans. The team in Spain is well-prepared not only for the third quarter high season of this year, but even more importantly for the upcoming education renewal in 2022–2023. With the acquisition of Santillana, the annual seasonality has become even stronger in Learning, as the business in Spain is even more focused on the third quarter than in our other operating countries. Across our learning business, we have continued to support remote learning and teaching with our digital tools and do not expect any major impact on the business due to the pandemic.

Media Finland continued its solid performance during the second quarter. Subscription sales continued to grow driven by the daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat (HS) and the VOD service Ruutu+. At HS, the number of subscriptions grew by 3% year-on-year. B2B advertising sales bounced back substantially compared to the second quarter of 2020 which was strongly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The most relevant comparison being against 2019, H1 2021 advertising sales were 6% lower than H1 2019. Visibility into the B2B demand continues to be very short-term only, though we expect the overall demand to be more weighted on the second half of the year, if the coronavirus pandemic continues to subside. The regional news media business has been part of Sanoma for more than a year now. The teams and operations are well integrated and we can see the synergy benefits in earnings. Despite its quite small size, our events business has been a hot topic this year. During this summer season 2021, we will be organising eleven events between midsummer and the end of July, most of them with significant restrictions related to the number of attendees.

During the second quarter, we took several steps to implement our recently launched Sustainability Strategy. In May, we committed to the UN Global Compact as a signatory and in June to the Science Based Target initiative to align and reinforce our climate target of net-zero emissions across the value chain by 2030. We also presented the full strategy to the investors and analysts in our virtual Sustainability Day in June. Presentations and recording of the event are available at www.sanoma.com/en/investors.

Our leverage increased due to the Santillana acquisition and was at its typical seasonal peak slightly above the long-term target of ‘below 3.0’. With the seasonality of our business and financial performance, we will be returning to our target level again during the second half of the year. Overall we have come through the coronavirus pandemic in a good way both in Learning and especially in the Finnish media business, which has proven to be nicely resilient due to its already large share of consumer and subscription-based income. We have not changed our long-term financial targets and have progressed well in our strategic transformation during the past 18 months. I want to thank our teams in all the different businesses for their perseverance throughout the pandemic and their continued customer focus while working under challenging circumstances. 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 especially our K12 learning business also through M&A.”


Key indicators for continuing operations

EUR million

Q2 2021

Q2 2020

Change

H1 2021

H1 2020

Change

FY 2020

Net sales

302.8

246.0

23%

512.9

433.6

18%

1,061.7

Operational EBITDA 1)

103.7

87.2

19%

134.4

117.9

14%

309.9

Margin 1)

34.3%

35.4%

26.2%

27.2%

29.2%

Operational EBIT excl. PPA 2)

65.0

54.0

20%

55.0

46.2

19%

156.5

Margin 2)

21.5%

22.0%

10.7%

10.7%

14.7%

EBIT

51.5

42.8

20%

27.7

25.8

7%

270.1

Result for the period

37.0

29.5

25%

12.6

17.1

-26%

237.8

Operational EPS, EUR 1)

0.24

0.21

15%

0.11

0.14

-20%

0.58

EPS, EUR

0.22

0.17

29%

0.08

0.10

-23%

1.46

Average number of employees (FTE)

4,887

4,150

18%

4,255

Number of employees at the end of the period (FTE)

5,059

4,457

14%

4,806


Key indicators incl. continuing and discontinued operations 3)

EUR million

Q2 2021

Q2 2020

Change

H1 2021

H1 2020

Change

FY 2020

Result for the period

36.9

33.5

10%

12.4

29.7

-58%

247.1

Free cash flow

-3.0

-4.9

38%

-51.4

-65.1

21%

94.8

Equity ratio 4)

32.9%

34.4%

37.4%

Net debt

769.8

543.9

42%

660.7

Net debt / Adj. EBITDA

3.1

2.6

19%

2.6

Operational EPS, EUR 1)

0.24

0.22

9%

0.12

0.23

-50%

0.67

EPS, EUR

0.22

0.20

13%

0.08

0.18

-57%

1.51

Free cash flow per share, EUR

-0.02

-0.03

38%

-0.32

-0.40

21%

0.58

1) Excluding IACs
2) Excluding IACs and purchase price allocation adjustments and amortisations (PPAs)
3) In 2021, discontinued operations include certain Learning operations that are under strategic review. In 2020, discontinued operations also included Sanoma Media Netherlands. More information on discontinued operations’ financial performance is available on p. 34.
4) Advances received included in the formula of equity ratio were EUR 171.8 million in H1 2021 (2020: 164.9)


Analyst and investor conference

An analyst and investor webcast and teleconference will be held in English by the President and CEO Susan Duinhoven and CFO and COO Markus Holm at 11:00. The live webcast can be followed via https://sanoma.videosync.fi/2021-q2-results.

To ask questions by phone during the live webcast, please join in 5–10 minutes prior to the starting time by dialling one of the following numbers:

Finland: +358 9 8171 0310
Sweden: +46 8 5664 2651
United Kingdom: +44 33 3300 0804
United States: +1 631 913 1422

Confirmation code for the call is 10291293#

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, marcus.wiklund@sanoma.com.


Additional information
Kaisa Uurasmaa, Head of Investor Relations and Sustainability, tel. +358 40 560 5601


About Sanoma

Sanoma is an innovative and agile learning and media company impacting the lives of millions every day.

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 across Europe.

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 eleven European countries and employ close to 5,000 professionals. In 2020, our net sales amounted to approx. 1.1bn€ and our operational EBIT margin excl. PPA was 14.7%. Sanoma shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. More information is available at www.sanoma.com.

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