Sanoma Corporation, Stock Exchange Release, 11 February 2022 at 8:30 EET
Sanoma Corporation, Full-Year 2021 Result: Strong growth in net sales and operational EBIT in both businesses
This release is a summary of Sanoma’s Full-Year 2021 Result. 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 252 million (2020: 227) driven by the acquisition of Santillana as well as strong organic growth especially in Learning. The Group’s comparable net sales growth was 6% (2020: 1%).
- Operational EBIT excl. PPA was negative driven by the typical quarterly pattern in the growing Learning business and amounted to EUR 5 million (2020: -2).
- EBIT was EUR -19 million (2020: -23). Items affecting comparability (IACs) were EUR -5 million (2020: -16). Purchase price allocation adjustments and amortisations (PPAs) increased to EUR 8 million (2020: 6) as a result of the Santillana acquisition.
- Operational EPS was EUR -0.06 (2020: -0.06) and EUR -0.07 (2020: -0.07) including discontinued operations.
- EPS was EUR -0.09 (2020: -0.14) and EUR -0.09 (2020: -0.16) including discontinued operations.
- On 21 December, Sanoma announced that Alex Green has been appointed CFO of Sanoma as of 1 March 2022.
- The Group’s net sales grew by 18% to EUR 1,252 million (2020: 1,062). Net sales grew in both businesses both organically and through acquisitions. The Group’s comparable net sales growth was 7% (2020: -4%).
- Operational EBIT excl. PPA grew by 26% to EUR 197 million (2020: 157), corresponding to a margin of 15.8% (2020: 14.7%). The improvement was driven by solid net sales growth in both Learning and Media Finland.
- EBIT was EUR 142 million (2020: 270). IACs totalled EUR -16 million (2020: 136). In 2020, the EBIT and IACs included a capital gain of EUR 165 million related to the divestment of Oikotie online classified business. PPAs increased to EUR 39 million (2020: 22) as a result of the Santillana and regional news media business acquisitions.
- Operational EPS increased to EUR 0.69 (2020: 0.58). Operational EPS including discontinued operations was EUR 0.69 (2020: 0.67).
- EPS was EUR 0.62 (2020: 1.46) and EUR 0.61 (2020: 1.51) including discontinued operations.
- Free cash flow improved significantly to EUR 140 million (2020: 95), mainly driven by strong net sales and related EBITDA growth as well as solid contribution from Santillana.
- Net debt/Adj. EBITDA decreased to 2.4 (2020: 2.6), well below the long-term leverage target of <3.0.
- On 1 June, Sanoma announced it 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 paid the required VAT, the related penalty and interests of EUR 25 million and booked the amount paid as a receivable.
- The Board proposes a dividend of EUR 0.54 per share to be paid for the year 2021 in two instalments, EUR 0.27 on 20 April and EUR 0.27 in November (estimated).
Outlook for 2022
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:
”2021 was another successful year for Sanoma. The Group’s net sales grew by 18%, operational EBIT excluding PPA even more strongly by 26% and free cash flow by 47%, or EUR 45 million. I am particularly encouraged by the strong organic growth of 7% in both Learning and Media Finland, which proves that our focus on the customers, the digitalisation of our offering and our increased scale are successful contributors to our organic growth and improved profitability. I would like to thank all our teams for the work well done under the challenging conditions that we have experienced during 2021. Having seen how agile and flexible our teams are, I am confident that we can again adapt and capture the positives of the ‘better normal’ in the times ahead.
In Learning, 2021 was a year of strong net sales and profitability growth, resulting both from the organic growth across the businesses and the acquisition of Santillana in Spain. The integration of Santillana has progressed according to our plan and its first year as a Sanoma company was successful. The Santillana team is well prepared for the educational reform in 2022−23, although its pace and phasing continue to be partially uncertain, as the local authorities in the Spanish provinces have not yet concluded their decision taking. In 2021, majority of the organic growth in Learning resulted from Poland, where it was the last implementation year of the latest curriculum renewal, and the Netherlands, where demand was amplified by higher public spending on education, increasing share of subscriptions as well as an increase in market share.
In Media Finland, organic growth was strong. It was driven by advertising rebound from the 2020 decline caused by the coronavirus pandemic as well as the reopened opportunity to organise some events during the summer. The number of subscriptions to both Helsingin Sanomat and Ruutu+ continued to grow, even though we saw signs of the strong corona-driven subscription growth normalising towards the end of the year. Digital advertising growth accelerated during the year, and we expect this to continue also in the coming year. We are quite pleased that our large, fast-growing digital advertising base was already offsetting the decline in print advertising, which all-in-all amounted to only approx. EUR 60 million of net sales. Strong net sales growth also supported earnings growth, and profitability improved slightly.
In 2022, we expect another strong year with the Group’s reported net sales at EUR 1.25−1.30 billion (2021: 1.25) and operational EBIT margin excl. PPA 15−16% (2021: 15.8%). In Learning, we expect strong curriculum driven sales growth in Spain during 2022−2023. In Poland, we foresee after years of strong growth a significant market decline in 2022 ahead of the next curriculum renewal in 2023. In Media Finland the advertising sales are expected to show continued strength driven by digital, which is already exceeding the share of the declining print advertising. During the year, we will continue to develop our digital platforms and adapt our offices to the new ways of working both in Learning and Media Finland. We expect to see a temporary margin impact due to increasing paper and printing costs. We have a strong pipeline of acquisition opportunities that we continue to work on and develop further. Our long-term targets are unchanged: 2−5% organic growth in Learning and +/-2% in Media Finland, and above 23% operational EBIT margin excl. PPA in Learning and 12−14% in Media Finland.
In 2021 we clarified and communicated our Sustainability Strategy and have been very encouraged to see how strongly it resonates with our employees, customers, suppliers and investors. The more structured approach and improved transparency in our sustainability reporting increased our ESG ratings significantly and can attract new impact and ESG investors on both equity and debt sides. We are very pleased that the positive impact our learning and media businesses have on society is now more clearly reflected in our ESG ratings.
After a successful year 2021, the Board proposes an increased dividend of EUR 0.54 (2020: 0.52), corresponding to a yield of 4% and in line with our policy of paying a growing dividend. We are also in good positions and eager to continue to grow Sanoma further. Our focus will be in growing our K12 learning business both organically and through M&A, for which we have a solid balance sheet. In our Finnish media business, we will continue the successful digitalisation in our three strategic strongholds − news & feature, entertainment and B2B marketing solutions.’’
Key indicators for continuing operations
|EUR million||Q4 2021||Q4 2020||Change||FY 2021||FY 2020||Change|
|Operational EBITDA 1)||42.1||43.4||-3%||361.0||309.9||16%|
|Operational EBIT excl. PPA 2)||-5.2||-1.5||-255%||197.2||156.5||26%|
|Result for the period||-13.9||-23.5||41%||101.4||237.8||-57%|
|Operational EPS, EUR 1)||-0.06||-0.06||-2%||0.69||0.58||19%|
|Average number of employees (FTE)||4,885||4,255||15%|
|Number of employees at the end of the period (FTE)||4,822||4,806||0%|
Key indicators incl. continuing and discontinued operations 3)
|EUR million||Q4 2021||Q4 2020||Change||FY 2021||FY 2020||Change|
|Result for the period||-14.0||-26.9||48%||101.2||247.1||-59%|
|Free cash flow||55.2||30.4||82%||139.7||94.8||47%|
|Equity ratio 4)||40.6%||37.4%|
|Net debt / Adj. EBITDA||2.4||2.6||-8%|
|Operational EPS, EUR 1)||-0.07||-0.07||2%||0.69||0.67||4%|
|Free cash flow per share, EUR||0.34||0.19||82%||0.86||0.58||47%|
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. 36–37 of the report.
4) Advances received included in the formula of equity ratio were EUR 155.2 million in 2021 (2020: 152.3).
5) 2021 is a proposal of the Board of Directors.
On 31 December 2021, Sanoma Corporation’s distributable funds were EUR 417 million, of which profit for the year made up EUR 191 million. Including the fund for non-restricted equity of EUR 210 million, the distributable funds amounted to EUR 627 million. The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting that:
- A dividend of EUR 0.54 per share shall be paid for the year 2021. The dividend shall be paid in two instalments. The first instalment of EUR 0.27 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 11 April 2022. The payment date for this instalment is 20 April 2022. Record date for the second instalment of EUR 0.27 per share will be decided by the Board of Directors in October, and the estimated payment date will be in November 2022.
- The amount left in equity shall be EUR 539 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 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 Susan Duinhoven and CFO and COO Markus Holm the same day at 11:00 EET. The conference can be followed as a live webcast at https://sanoma.videosync.fi/2021-q4-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 17112235#.
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, 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 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.