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Sanoma Corporation, Stock Exchange Release, 29 April 2022 at 8:30 EET
Sanoma Corporation, Interim Report January-March 2022: Solid start to the year
This release is a summary of Sanoma’s Interim Report January-March 2022. The complete report is attached to this release and is also available at www.sanoma.com/en/investors.
The Group’s net sales were stable at EUR 211 million (2021: 210). The Group’s comparable net sales growth was 1% (2021: 3%).
Operational EBIT excl. PPA was negative due to the typical seasonal pattern in the learning business and amounted to EUR -10 million (2021: -10).
EBIT was EUR -22 million (2021: -24). Items affecting comparability (IACs) were EUR -3 million (2021: -5). Purchase price allocation adjustments and amortisations (PPAs) were EUR 9 million (2021: 9).
Operational EPS was EUR -0.10 (2021: -0.12).
EPS was EUR -0.11 (2021: -0.15).
As is typical for the small first quarter, free cash flow was negative and amounted to EUR -39 million (2021: -48).
Net debt/Adj. EBITDA was 2.6 (2021: 2.8), in line with the long-term target level of ‘below 3.0’.
Alex Green started as the Chief Financial Officer of Sanoma as of 1 March 2022.
On 7 April, the Annual General Meeting decided that a dividend of EUR 0.54 per share (2020: 0.52) shall be paid for 2021 in two equal instalments. The first instalment was paid on 20 April, and the second instalment will be paid in November (estimated timing).
Outlook for 2022 (unchanged)
In 2022, Sanoma expects that the Group’s reported net sales will be EUR 1.25‒1.30 billion (2021: 1.25). The Group’s operational EBIT margin excl. PPA is expected to be between 15−16% (2021: 15.8%).
Regarding the operating environment Sanoma expects that:
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 world around us changed dramatically on 24 February with the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine. We are shocked and appalled by the war and the atrocities committed, and we stand with the Ukrainian people. Sanoma has, together with its employees, made a donation to the Red Cross to support humanitarian aid to Ukraine. We are also supporting in different ways through our businesses: our Polish learning business, for example, is very concretely supporting local schools to enable the continuation of the education of refugee children, and our journalists and photographers work relentlessly to share fact-based news of the war, also on site in Ukraine. As Sanoma has no business in Ukraine or Russia, the war has had a very limited direct impact on our business.
All in all, we had a solid start to the year in both our learning and media businesses. In Learning, the first quarter is always seasonally small in net sales, and as a consequence loss-making. The high share of digital learning materials increased net sales in the Netherlands and Finland even during a small quarter, as digital sales are recognised evenly throughout the year. On the other hand, our large businesses in Spain and Poland amplify the seasonality within the year, as the digitalisation level in those markets is still low, and the delivery of printed learning materials largely focuses on the start of the new school year during the third quarter. We are well-prepared for the forthcoming high season and our focus is especially on Spain, where we currently expect 12 out of 17 regions to implement the new curriculum in 2022. This represents slightly more than half of the total market revenues, while the remainder will follow a year later. At the same time, we expect demand in Poland to decline in 2022 ahead of a smaller curriculum renewal, which is expected to start in 2023. Overall, the Spanish growth and Polish decline are expected to more or less offset each other in 2022.
In Media Finland, advertising demand had a temporary slowdown and was indirectly slightly affected by the war in Ukraine in March and early April, while we now again see it returning to the levels expected earlier. Subscription sales continued to normalise after the strong growth during the pandemic. In the largest daily newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, and the regional newspapers, the number of digital subscriptions continued to grow, albeit more modestly. Supply of newsprint was very tight in January−April due to a long strike in the only newsprint paper mill in Finland and the discontinuation of procurement of paper from Russia. As expected already at the beginning of the year, the price of newsprint paper increased significantly during the quarter and is expected to remain high for the rest of the year, while we have been optimising our paper usage to mitigate part of the additional costs. I am very happy about the current outlook for the upcoming festival and events season, as for the first time in two years it seems that festivals can be organised in a normal manner. Overall, there will be a record number of events organised in Finland this year, and the enthusiasm among people is already seen in high ticket demand, although we expect actual buying of tickets to be closer to the event dates than before the pandemic.
For our shareholders, Sanoma offers a good balance of an increasing dividend and growth through M&A. Our leverage improved compared to the previous year, while increasing slightly compared to the end of 2021, in line with the seasonal pattern of our cash flow. We have a solid EUR 300−400 million headroom for further acquisitions, and with the integration of our latest large acquisition, Santillana, progressing as planned, we are operationally ready for the next acquisition.
I would like to thank our employees for their commitment and agility under the continuously changing circumstances. We have luckily seen societies and workplaces incrementally returning to a ‘new normal’ after the pandemic and have welcomed that with joy, while still paying special attention to each other’s health and safety. Even with the uncertainties in our operating environment, our outlook for 2022 is unchanged, and we look positively and confidently to the future.’’
Key indicators for continuing operations
Operational EBITDA 1)
Operational EBIT excl. PPA 2)
Result for the period
Operational EPS, EUR 1)
Average number of employees (FTE)
Number of employees at the end of the period (FTE)
Key indicators incl. continuing and discontinued operations 3)
Result for the period
Free cash flow
Equity ratio 4)
Net debt / Adj. EBITDA
Operational EPS, EUR 1)
Free cash flow per share, EUR
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. 29–30 of the Interim Report.
4) Advances received included in the formula of equity ratio were EUR 138.6 million in Q1 2022 (2021: 139.7).
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 today at 11:00 EET.
The conference can be followed as a live webcast at https://sanoma.videosync.fi/2022-q1-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 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 88931908#.
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 eleven 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.