Sanoma Corporation, Stock Exchange Release, 24 October 2018 at 08:30 EET

Sanoma’s Interim Report 1 January–30 September 2018: Operational EBIT improved


This release is a summary of Sanoma’s Interim Report 1 January–30 September 2018. The complete report is attached to this release and is also available at

Q3 2018

  • Net sales grew to EUR 393 million (2017: 381) driven by the acquired festival and events business in Finland. Net sales development adjusted for all structural changes was -3% (2017: 5%).
  • Operational EBIT improved by 12% to EUR 91 million (2017: 81) as a result of discontinuation of ice-hockey TV rights in Finland and good profitability development in Media Netherlands. Corresponding margin was 23.2% (2017: 21.4%).
  • EBIT improved to EUR 89 million (2017: 79).
  • Operational EPS improved by 19% to EUR 0.42 (2017: 0.35).
  • EPS improved to EUR 0.41 (2017: 0.34).
  • Cash flow from operations improved to EUR 90 million (2017: 86), and capital expenditure declined to EUR 7 million (2017: 10).
  • On 11 October, Sanoma improved its outlook for 2018 on operational EBIT margin from around 14% to above 14%.
  • On 23 October, the Board of Directors decided on the record date and payment date of the second dividend instalment of EUR 0.15 per share. 

Q1–Q3 2018

  • Net sales were stable at EUR 1,017 million (2017: 1,129; adjusted 1,022). Net sales development adjusted for all structural changes was -3% (2017: 0%).
  • Operational EBIT improved by 3% to EUR 179 million (2017: 172, adjusted: 175) driven by good profitability development in Media Netherlands and Learning. Corresponding margin was 17.6% (2017: 15.3%, adjusted 17.1%).
  • EBIT was EUR 168 million (2017: -262, adjusted 165).
  • Operational EPS improved by 10% to EUR 0.77 (2017: 0.69; adjusted 0.70).
  • EPS was EUR 0.71 (2017: -1.12; adjusted 0.66).
  • Cash flow from operations improved to EUR 61 million (2017: 48), and capital expenditure declined to EUR 22 million (2017: 25).
  • On 7 March, Sanoma announced the acquisition of the festival and event business of N.C.D. Production in Finland. Net sales of the acquired business in 2017 were approx. EUR 20 million. The transaction was closed on 18 April.
  • Divestment of Belgian women’s magazine portfolio, reported as discontinued operations, was completed on 29 June.

Outlook (as revised on 11 October)

In 2018, Sanoma expects that the Group’s consolidated net sales adjusted for structural changes will be slightly below 2017, and operational EBIT margin will be above 14%.

The outlook is based on an assumption of the consumer confidence and advertising markets in the Netherlands and Finland being in line with that of 2017.

Key indicators *

EUR millionQ3 2018Q3 2017 Change Q1-Q3 2018
Q1-Q3 2017
ChangeFY 2017
Net sales393.0380.83%1,017.41,022.30%1,328.0
Operational EBITDA117.7116.41%274.6280.1-2%328.5
  margin29.9%30.6% 27.0%27.4% 24.7%
Operational EBIT91.081.412%179.0174.63%179.0
  margin23.2%21.4% 17.6%17.1% 13.5%
Result for the period **67.656.719%130.5111.917%126.8
Cash flow from operations **89.785.65%61.147.928%140.9
Capital expenditure ** ’ ***7.310.2-28%21.525.2-14%34.7
Cash flow from operations less capital expenditure **82.475.49%39.622.774%106.2
Equity ratio **   40.9%33.9% 38.2%
Net debt **   391.9518.7 391.8
Net debt / Adj. EBITDA **   1.62.4 1.7
Average number of employees (FTE)   4,4534,599-3%4,562
Operational EPS, EUR, continuing operations0.420.3519%0.770.7010%0.71
Operational EPS, EUR **0.420.3617%0.780.728%0.74
EPS, EUR, continuing operations0.410.3420%0.710.668%0.76
EPS, EUR **0.410.3519%0.790.6816%0.77
Cash flow from operations per share, EUR **0.550.534%0.370.2927%0.87
Cash flow from operations less capital expenditure per share, EUR **0.500.469%0.240.1474%0.65

* 2017 figures have been restated due to a change in IFRS 15 and were originally published on 27 March 2018. More information on the restatement is available in Accounting policies on p. 25 of the report.
** Including continuing and discontinued operations. Equity ratio, net debt and net debt / Adj. EBITDA not adjusted for the SBS divestment.
*** Earlier, capital expenditure was presented on an accrual basis.
Key indicators with non-adjusted figures for the comparison periods in 2017, which include the divested Dutch TV operations of SBS, are available on p. 19 of the report.

President and CEO Susan Duinhoven

”During the first nine months of 2018, our teams across the businesses have made good progress, and our overall profitability has improved. This is also reflected in our FY 2018 outlook for operational EBIT margin, which we raised from around 14% to above 14% on 11 October. The improvement has been due to good performance and profitability development in Media Netherlands and Learning, while development of Media Finland has been stable.

In Media Netherlands, we have been able to fully leverage the benefits of our streamlined organisation after the divestment of SBS in July last year. As a result, our profitability has improved significantly; a good achievement with slightly declining net sales. We did benefit from the success of the data-driven marketing and cashback service Scoupy, which has now been combined with our media sales unit focussing on FMCG customers. In early September, we announced the appointment of Rob Kolkman as the CEO of Sanoma Media Netherlands as of 1 January 2019. Rob is currently employed by RELX Group and has wide international experience both from the business-to-business data and publishing businesses.

In Learning, our net sales and profitability have developed well. The decline in sales that we expected in Poland – given the fact that 2017 was an exceptional year benefitting from two overlapping curriculum reforms – was much lower due to market share gains. We experienced very encouraging net sales growth along with curriculum renewal also in Finland. In profitability terms, Learning has already started to see the first benefits of the “High Five” business development programme launched to integrate the back-offices of our five Learning companies.

In Media Finland, the high season of the festival and events business, which we strengthened by an acquisition in March, was successful in terms of sales, number of visitors and customer satisfaction. The profitability was slightly lower than we expected due to some one-off integration costs and certain low-performing festivals. During the third quarter, we saw a continued increase in digital subscriptions of Ruutu and Helsingin Sanomat, while magazine subscriptions declined. Print advertising market continued to be under pressure.

The transformation of the media industry continues: there are several growing areas, but the revenues from more traditional media are declining. Both in our Dutch and Finnish media businesses, we are constantly adapting our organisation to the changes in the market. In Media Finland, this has led to the announcement of co-operation negotiations in certain parts of operations with an aim to keep our competitiveness and efficiency also in the future.

Our free cash flow improved significantly compared to last year. Somewhat lower financial expenses and capital expenditure, as well as good working capital management in many businesses, contributed positively to the cash flow. During the quarter, we had non-recurring costs related to the divestment of the women’s magazine portfolio in Belgium. These will be excluded from the operating cash flow when the Board will define its dividend proposal for the AGM 2019.

Going forward, we continue to focus on our customers and on managing our profitability and cash flow in order to increase the dividend. At the same time, we will review opportunities for synergetic, bolt-on acquisitions with a good strategic fit, which our strengthening balance sheet allows.”

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 today at 11:00 Finnish time (9:00 UK time) at Sanomatalo, Töölönlahdenkatu 2, Helsinki. To join the event, please register via email to

Live audio webcast of the conference can be followed via To ask questions by phone during the live audio webcast, please register by email Dial-in details will be sent for registered participants. An on-demand replay of the audio webcast will be available shortly after the end of the conference at

Interview opportunities for media are available after the conference. Media representatives are asked to book interviews via Communications Director Marcus Wiklund,

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


Sanoma is a front running media and learning company impacting the lives of millions every day. We provide consumers with engaging content, offer unique marketing solutions to business partners and enable teachers to excel at developing the talents of every child.

With operations in Finland, the Netherlands, Poland, Belgium and Sweden, our net sales totalled EUR 1.4 billion and we employed more than 4,400 professionals in 2017. Sanoma shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. More information is available at