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Sanoma Corporation, Interim Report January–September 2022: Net sales grew driven by Spain and the recent acquisition in Learning

Sanoma Corp
Sanoma Corp

Sanoma Corporation, Stock Exchange Release, 27 October 2022 at 8:30 EET

Sanoma Corporation, Interim Report JanuarySeptember 2022: Net sales grew driven by Spain and the recent acquisition in Learning

This release is a summary of Sanoma’s Interim Report January-September 2022. The complete report is attached to this release and is also available at www.sanoma.com/en/investors.

Q3 2022

  • The Group’s net sales grew to EUR 515 million (2021: 486) as a result of solid growth in Spain, delayed from Q2, and the acquisition of Pearson Italy and Germany. The Group’s comparable growth was 1% (2021: 8%).

  • Operational EBIT excl. PPA was stable at EUR 148 million (2021: 147). In Learning, the positive earnings contribution of net sales growth in Spain and the acquired Pearson Italy and Germany was partially offset by lower profitability of the Dutch distribution business. Earnings declined somewhat in Media Finland mainly due to higher paper costs.

  • EBIT was EUR 116 million (2021: 133). Items affecting comparability (IACs) increased to EUR -22 million (2021: -4) mainly as a result of the acquisition of Pearson Italy and Germany as well as impairments related to harmonisation of digital learning platforms and rental book inventory. Purchase price allocation adjustments and amortisations (PPAs) were EUR 10 million (2021: 11).

  • Operational EPS was EUR 0.61 (2021: 0.64).

  • EPS was EUR 0.52 (2021: 0.63).

  • 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 is 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.

  • 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 and consequently updated its Outlook for 2022 to reflect the impact of the acquisition.

Q1–Q3 2022

  • The Group’s net sales grew to EUR 1,039 million (2021: 999), comparable net sales growth being 2% (2021: 8%). In addition to the organic growth, the acquisition of Pearson Italy and Germany contributed to the net sales growth.

  • Operational EBIT excl. PPA amounted to EUR 192 million (2021: 203) mainly due to lower profitability of the Dutch learning distribution business and higher paper costs.

  • EBIT was EUR 133 million (2021: 161). IACs were EUR -30 million (2021: -11). PPAs were EUR 29 million (2021: 31).

  • Operational EPS was EUR 0.72 (2021: 0.76).

  • EPS was EUR 0.60 (2021: 0.70).

  • Free cash flow declined to EUR 48 million (2021: 85) mainly due to lower earnings and higher investments in digital learning platforms and office adaptation.

  • Net debt/Adj. EBITDA increased to 3.3 (2021: 2.5) as a result of the acquisition of Pearson Italy and Germany, which was completed during the third quarter.

  • 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.

Outlook for 2022
(updated on 31 August for the acquisition of Pearson Italy and Germany)

In 2022, Sanoma expects that the Group’s reported net sales will be EUR 1.30‒1.35 billion (2021: 1.25). The Group’s operational EBIT margin excl. PPA is expected to be around 15% (2021: 15.8%).

Regarding the operating environment, Sanoma expects that (unchanged):

  • The continuing coronavirus pandemic will not have a significant impact on its businesses.

  • The advertising market in Finland will be stable.

President and CEO Susan Duinhoven:

”The third quarter was, as always, the high season for our learning business due to the start of the new school year, creating a peak in book deliveries and activation of digital licenses. We were very pleased to see the delayed Spanish sales from the earlier months coming in during the quarter. As this is the first implementation year of the major educational reform and curriculum renewal LOMLOE, demand in Spain is expected to continue to grow also in 2023, extending even into 2024. The related earnings improvement is typically not yet seen in full during the first year when the majority of the content and marketing investments related to the new materials takes place.

Across our Learning operating countries, the third quarter high season was successful for our content publishing businesses. We were successful in largely mitigating the impact of the higher-than-expected paper costs – one should note that learning content is typically sold only once a year, thus giving us only one opportunity to adjust our prices to the changing operating environment. However, the financial performance of the Dutch learning content distribution business was adversely impacted by increasing labour costs and supply chain issues, leading to slightly lower January−September earnings for the whole segment. Although we expect these issues to be temporary in nature, they may have an impact next year as well.

At the end of August, we completed the acquisition of Pearson Italy and Germany, and I am very happy to welcome these strong teams and businesses to Sanoma. We also saw these businesses contributing positively to our third quarter financial performance during September. The integration has started according to our plans and playbook – all-in-all the separation from Pearson and integration into Sanoma will be a sizable project taking some 18−24 months.

In Media Finland, overall third quarter net sales were stable, while softening B2C demand over the past quarters led to a slight decline in subscription sales. This is something we had expected given the strong growth during the coronavirus pandemic and the currently weaker consumer confidence. Advertising sales were also slightly lower compared to the previous year, but have been surprisingly resilient during the current economic turmoil. The lower B2C and B2B sales were offset by growing sales in the lower margin events and external printing services businesses. Throughout the year, we have experienced a significant increase in paper costs, with prices per tonne currently up even 75% compared to the previous year. Despite active cost containment across spend categories, Media Finland’s operational earnings declined during the quarter. While we expect low visibility, high volatility and inflationary pressure to continue, the team in Media Finland has proven to be able to mitigate a major part of the impact through strict cost containment and regular price increases across the portfolio.

Our free cash flow for the first nine months is behind last year. Main reasons for this are higher investments in digital development in Learning and adaptation of our offices to the hybrid way of working as well as higher taxes paid based on higher earnings in earlier reporting periods, now compounded by lower EBITDA. It is important to realise that with the most recent acquisitions of Pearson Italy and Germany and Santillana in Spain, our business has become more focused on Southern Europe, where the schools start later in September, and where longer payment terms are market practice. This will cause a partial delay in the accumulation of the operational cash flow in Learning towards the end of the year.

At the end of August, we updated our Outlook for 2022 for the acquisition of Pearson Italy and Germany. The Outlook is since unchanged, as are our long-term financial targets. Given the ongoing challenging operating environment, we expect the final outcome of the year to be towards the lower end of the net sales and operational EBIT ranges. For 2023, the challenging operating environment is expected to continue to have some impact on our performance.

Sustainability is at the core of our businesses, and the latest acknowledgement of our progressive and holistic approach is the improvement of our ISS ESG rating to the industry-benchmark level of Prime C+. Our scoring in different ESG ratings has improved significantly over the last years (for latest status, please visit our website).

To conclude, I would like to extend my warmest thanks to all Sanoma employees for their great work and strong commitment in supporting our customers and thus enabling our continued growth, operational development and solid financial performance.’’

Key indicators for continuing operations

EUR million

Q3
2022

Q3
2021

Change

Q1–Q3
2022

Q1–Q3
2021

Change

FY
2021

Net sales

514.9

486.3

6%

1,038.8

999.2

4%

1,251.6

Operational EBITDA 1)

188.4

184.5

2%

310.1

318.9

-3%

361.0

Margin 1)

36.6%

37.9%

 

29.9%

31.9%

 

28.8%

Operational EBIT excl. PPA 2)

148.4

147.4

1%

191.6

202.5

-5%

197.2

Margin 2)

28.8%

30.3%

 

18.4%

20.3%

 

15.8%

EBIT

116.3

133.1

-13%

132.8

160.8

-17%

142.4

Result for the period

85.6

102.7

-17%

98.1

115.3

-15%

101.4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operational EPS, EUR 1)

0.61

0.64

-5%

0.72

0.76

-4%

0.69

EPS, EUR

0.52

0.63

-16%

0.60

0.70

-15%

0.62

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Average number of employees (FTE)

 

 

 

4,996

4,904

2%

4,885

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

 

 

 

5,135

4,828

6%

4,822

Key indicators incl. continuing and discontinued operations 3)

EUR million

Q3
2022

Q3
2021

Change

Q1–Q3
2022

Q1–Q3
2021

Change

FY
2021

Result for the period

85.6

102.8

-17%

98.1

115.2

-15%

101.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free cash flow

146.9

136.0

8%

47.5

84.5

-44%

139.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equity ratio 4)

 

 

 

33.0%

38.2%

 

40.6%

Net debt

 

 

 

837.6

630.3

33%

616.4

Net debt / Adj. EBITDA

 

 

 

3.3

2.5

30%

2.4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operational EPS, EUR 1)

0.61

0.64

5%

0.72

0.76

-5%

0.69

EPS, EUR

0.52

0.63

-17%

0.60

0.70

-15%

0.61

Free cash flow per share, EUR

0.90

0.83

8%

0.29

0.52

-44%

0.86

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. 34.
4) Advances received included in the formula of equity ratio were EUR 164.2 million in Q1-Q3 2022 (2021: 173.9).

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 today at 11:00 EET.

The conference can be followed as a live webcast at https://sanoma.videosync.fi/2022-q3-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, please join in 5–10 minutes prior to the starting time by dialling one of the following numbers:

Finland: +358 9 2319 5437
Sweden: +46 8 5052 0424
United Kingdom: +44 330 551 0200
United States: +1 212 999 6659

Quote Sanoma when prompted by the operator.

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

Sanoma 
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 2021, our net sales amounted to approx. 1.25bn€ and our operational EBIT margin excl. PPA was 15.8%. Sanoma shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. More information is available at sanoma.com.

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