The success of SanomaWSOY's educational publishing business and the development of the Group's online business continued in the third quarter. Movie theatres have also continued their strong growth.
SanomaWSOY's net sales increased by 6% during January-September and totalled EUR 1,999.8 (1,887.3) million. Operating profit excluding major non-recurring capital gains was EUR 214.3 (200.2) million. "We can be satisfied with the result of the first three quarters. There was 7% growth," notes Hannu Syrjänen, President and CEO of SanomaWSOY.
Changes in consumer demand reflected in the market
SanomaWSOY's online business continued to grow. The online advertising revenues of ilse media in the Netherlands increased by over 50% in January-September compared to the same period last year. Similarly, Sanoma's online advertising revenues grew by over 40% during the same period.
In the third quarter, Sanoma Magazines acquired new web services, such as the Dutch Kieskeurig.nl price and product comparison website. In Finland, for example, the Taloussanomat financial newspaper has successfully focused on online news distribution. SWelcom's operations did also well, with Nelonen increasing its share of the advertising market and Welho successfully developing its broadband and digital television services.
"Changes in consumer demand and the blurring of the line between print and digital media will also affect SanomaWSOY's markets. We are a major player also in the field of electronic media," says Syrjänen.
According to Syrjänen, electronic business opportunities are no longer looked at in order to just complement the Group's product and service offering. Instead, synergy benefits are now sought also within the electronic business. For example, in the Netherlands, the online business and new media projects of Sanoma Uitgevers will be combined to form a competence centre which will be headed by Paul Molenaar, CEO of ilse media, as of November 1, 2006. ilse media is currently the biggest Dutch online publisher.
SanomaWSOY Education and Books successful
During the third quarter of the year, SanomaWSOY redefined its structure by making changes to the organisational structure of its educational and book publishing division. "Our business is developing rapidly and becoming more international, and we needed to adapt our organisational structure to meet those demands," comments Syrjänen.
The positive development of educational publishing continued during the third quarter. In the Netherlands, educational publishing offering was expanded to include career and study orientation and consultancy services when Malmberg acquired Aromedia Educatief in August and LDC Publicaties in September.
"Our educational publishing business has seen a large expansion over the past year, and we are going to take advantage of new growth opportunities in the future as well," Syrjänen says.
End of the year according to plan
"The last quarter of 2006 has started out well, and the rest of the year is expected to go according to plan. The last quarter of the year, especially Christmas sales, is traditionally strong for e.g. bookstores," adds Syrjänen in summary.
Syrjänen believes that the growth of digital media will continue. "It appears that economic recovery supports, for instance, in the Netherlands, above all, the strong growth of our online media business."
Additional information: SanomaWSOY Group Communications, telephone +358 105 19 5062 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Matti Salmi, Senior Vice President, Finance and Administration
DISTRIBUTION: Helsinki Stock Exchange, principal media