Göteborg, Sweden (PRWEB) February 17, 2009
Stampen Group, a fast growing media group and Sweden's biggest newspaper owner, releases the financial statements for 2008 and reports continuing investments. "By continuing to pursue the agreed strategy in a determined and confident way and by tackling the economic downturn through new joint projects, a corporate group is being created to meet the future," comments CEO and President Tomas Brunegård.
- Major investments for a new common Group-wide platform (including joint digital development, website, Web-TV)
- Acquisition of Appelberg Publishing Group, Svenska Fans and GISAB
- Construction started on a new printing facility in Landvetter
- Redemption of shares in VLT AB and delisting of VLT AB from First North
- Sale of the majority of the Group's properties will provide capital gains totalling MSEK 38
- Transfer of radio operations to SBS Radio at the end of 2008
- Earnings excluding write-downs and items affecting comparability, MSEK 323 (389)
- Earnings for the Group's newspaper operations prior to interest, tax and amortisation as well as restructuring costs, MSEK 230 (256)
COMMENT FROM TOMAS BRUNEGÅRD, President and CEO, Stampen Group
The Stampen Group is today one of Sweden's biggest owners of daily newspapers and printing works. By continuing to pursue the agreed strategy in a determined and confident way and by tackling the economic downturn through new joint projects, a corporate group is being created to meet the future. The growth strategy covers the period to 2012 and its aim is to double turnover and value and to create balance between mature operations and growth operations. At least half the Group's new income is to come from growth markets.
2008 saw the implementation of a comprehensive restructuring programme within the newspaper operations in Promedia and Mediabolaget Västkusten. A decision was taken on investment in a common Group-wide platform that encompasses features such as shared digital development, coordination of administration across borders, coordination of editorial and advertising systems and investment in production systems for the printing works. The biggest single investment is a Group-wide digital media/newspaper platform, corresponding to just over MSEK 42.
In autumn 2008 work started on the construction of a printing works in Landvetter outside Göteborg. With this new facility, V-TAB will benefit from extended capacity and production round the clock, every day of the week.
During the first half of 2008 Stampen AB made two major acquisitions through Stampen Media Partner. Appelberg Publishing Group AB, one of Sweden's largest players in editorial communication in the printed and digital media, was acquired in March. June saw the acquisition of Svenska Fans, Sweden's largest sports site with more than 250,000 site-specific visitors a week. Svenska Fans represents unique renewal of sports coverage and has enjoyed an amazing development.
In August, another important purchase was recorded. Liberala Tidningar i Mellansverige AB increased its share holdings in VLT AB from 62.5 to 92.7 percent of the capital and from 54.1 to 96.9 percent of the votes. In autumn 2008, holdings in VLT AB were gradually increased and by the end of 2008 amounted to 98.12 percent. During this same period, VLT AB's B-share was delisted from First North and the process of redemption of the remaining shares began. Liberala Tidningar, which via VLT AB also owns Tidningsbolaget Promedia i Mellansverige AB, is jointly owned by MittMedia, Eskilstuna-Kuriren and Stampen's subsidiary Mediaintressenter. Stampen owns Mediaintressenter together with members of the Pers family and Nya Lidköpings-Tidningen's owners, the Hörling family.
On September 25 acquisition of Gratistidningar i Sverige AB (GISAB) was finalised. VLT AB, a subsidiary of Liberala Tidningar i Mellansverige AB, acquired GISAB in December from Danish corporation Söndagsavisen AS. The newspapers under the GISAB umbrella have a total circulation of 1.2 million copies, the group has about 240 employees and recorded a turnover of MSEK 408 in 2008
Last year, the majority of the Stampen Group's real estate holdings were sold and in the autumn an agreement was reached with SBS Radio on transfer at the end of 2008 of the four commercial radio stations that were part of the Stampen Group's radio operations.
We can discern a pronounced downturn in the economic climate but we are better equipped than ever to meet the difficult times ahead. The approach represented by the formation of the Stampen Group is meeting with ever-increasing acceptance and its implementation is being undertaken with ever-increasing dedication and steadily improving results.
2009-02-16 Tomas Brunegård, President and CEO, Stampen Group
THE GROUP'S TURNOVER AND FINANCIAL RESULT
Turnover increased by MSEK 50 to MSEK 5107. The previous year's structural changes have given the Stampen Group new operations and increased turnover.
Earnings Before Interest, Taxes and Amortisation (EBITA) total MSEK 303 (652).
The operating profit includes restructuring costs of MSEK 58 (29) in connection with the cost improvement programme at Mediabolaget Västkusten and Promedia.
Last year's financial result includes one-time items from real estate sales and the implemented structure changes, totalling MSEK 292. The capital gains from real estate sales total MSEK 38. The worsening economic climate during the second half of the year contributed to a poorer profit trend at the end of the year.
Provision for depreciation impacted corporate profits to the tune of MSEK 123 (89).
Devaluation of securities and losses from the divestment of security papers impacted profits to the tune of MSEK 25.
Earnings Before Tax (EBT) is MSEK 107 (511)
THE GROUP IN SUMMARY
Profit and loss account 2008 2007
Income 5 107 5 057
Costs -4 804 -4 405
Earnings Before Interest, Taxes and Amortisation (EBITA) 303 652
Provision for depreciation -123 -89
Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT) 180 563
Net interest income -73 -51
Earnings Before Tax (EBT) 107 511
Intangible assets 2 725 2 110
Tangible assets 1 143 1 557
Financial assets 62 73
Total assets 3 930 3 741
Stocks 55 37
Accounts receivable 687 655
Short-term investments 14 82
Cash on hand and bank assets 423 353
Total current assets 1 179 1 128
Total Assets 5 109 4 869
Tied-up equity 141 141
Non-restricted equity 524 346
Return 46 216
Total equity 711 703
Minority interests 990 1 275
Depositions 224 282
Long-term debts 1 429 1 108
Short-term debts 1 755 1 500
Total debt-to-equity 5 109 4 869
Earnings Before Interest, Taxes and Amortisation (EBITA)
per business area
GP 90 116
LT/ Promedia 72 87
Mediabolaget Västkusten 67 53
V-TAB 150 180
Stampen Media Partner 12 -4
Samedio Affärsservice -6 -7
Stampen Fastigheter 10 -3
Other operations -34 259
Restructuring costs -58 -29
Stampen Group total 303 652
INFORMATION ABOUT THE OPERATION
The Stampen Group is today one of Sweden's largest owners of daily newspapers. Stampen also owns interactive communities, printers, distribution companies and radio stations.
Göteborgs-Posten, Promedia och LT, Mediabolaget Västkusten and V-TAB are the biggest operational areas in the Stampen Group. The Group also includes the GISAB (Gratistidningar i Stockholm AB), Stampen Media Partner, Samedio Affärsservice and Stampen Fastigheter business areas.
Business area Göteborgs-Posten
Göteborgs-Posten is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Stampen and is Sweden's second-largest daily paper, with just over 600,000 readers via various channels. Göteborgs-Posten delivers round-the-clock news in printed form, on the Web and via Web-TV and mobile phones.
Göteborgs-Posten's turnover in 2008 totalled MSEK 1323, compared with MSEK 1363 in 2007. Earnings Before Interest, Taxes and Amortisation (EBITA) were MSEK 90 and the operating margin was 7 percent, comparable with the 2007 levels of MSEK 116 and
8.5 percent respectively. The somewhat poorer profit stems entirely from reduced advertising revenues as the economy entered recession. Profit is nonetheless at a relatively healthy level owing to good cost control. For the year as a whole, costs were reduced by MSEK 14 compared with 2007. This was achieved even though Göteborgs-Posten had implemented a number of investments in digital channels during the year and replaced both its editorial and advertising systems.
It is primarily in the digital channels that the number of readers and income are increasing. Göteborgs-Posten continues to maintain its dominant position in the region, both as regards media range and advertising revenues.
Business area Liberala Tidningar/Promedia
This business area encompasses newspaper production, operations within distribution, the Internet, Registration and quality control of TV advertising and newspaper advertisements and, until the end of December 2008, radio operations.
Newspaper production is by far this business area's main operation and it is run at 15 locations. The total circulation is in the region of 201,600 copies. Among the larger papers are Nerikes Allehanda in Örebro and VLT in Västerås. In early 2008, a decision was taken regarding measures designed to boost profitability by MSEK 100. About jobs are expected to be cut, distributed between the various operating areas.
The action plan is expected to impact fully on the financial result from third quarter 2009 and it includes, among other things, standardised solutions for organisation, operational systems and working methods for the entire business area.
Turnover for the whole of 2008 totalled MSEK 1381 with Earnings Before Interest, Taxes and Amortisation and restructuring costs (EBITA) of MSEK 72. The profit level has been positively impacted by capital gains from completed real estate sales totalling MSEK 27. For implementation of the action programme, one-time costs totalling MSEK 23 have been recorded as restructuring costs. The newspapers' advertising revenues dropped considerably as a result of the financial crisis in autumn 2008. In December a decision was taken regarding a programme to save MSEK 50.
In autumn 2008, holdings in VLT AB were gradually stepped up and at the end of December 2008 the ownership stake totalled 98.12 percent. During the same period, VLT AB's B-share was delisted from First North and a process for the redemption of the outstanding shares was initiated. On December 1, 66.7 percent of the shares in Gratistidningar i Sverige AB (GISAB) were acquired from Danish company Söndagsavisen AS.
As of January 1, 2009 the Group has a simplified corporate structure where, among other things, all newspapers have been gathered together in one company. Johan Färnstrand took on the post of President in August 2008.
Business area Mediabolaget Västkusten
Mediabolaget Västkusten includes the Strömstads Tidning, Bohusläningen, TTELA, Hallands Nyheter and Hallandsposten newspapers, with a total circulation of about 130,000 copies. The first half year was characterised by healthy advertising, but this trend dived during the autumn. At the end of the year, advertising revenues were on the same level as for 2007.
Echoing the trend in the rest of the Swedish newspaper industry, circulation continued to shrink and circulation income also dropped somewhat compared with the previous year.
All told, the business area's sales total MSEK 625 and Earnings Before Interest, Taxes and Amortisation and restructuring costs (EBITA) total MSEK 67. For comparable units, this is a reduction in sales by just over 1 percent while operating profit drops by 18 percent. The operating margin of more than 10 percent is satisfactory, bearing in mind the current state of the economy.
A comprehensive coordination project between the newspapers in this business area is currently in its final stages. The project is proceeding according to plan and is expected to be fully implemented during the first quarter of 2009. Implementation costs for the year total MSEK 35 and are expected to yield a positive effect on profits exceeding MSEK 40 per year.
The sale of all real estate in this business area to a value of MSEK 95 generated capital gains of MSEK 3.
Business area V-TAB
V-TAB is the Nordic region's largest printing company with nine wholly-owned facilities at eight locations in Sweden. What is more, V-TAB has a 35 percent ownership stake in Markbladet Tryckeri.
Earnings Before Interest, Taxes and Amortisation (EBITA) totalled MSEK 150 which is MSEK 30 poorer than for the previous year. Turnover was MSEK 73 lower than for last year, resulting primarily from the economic downturn and the notable slowdown in the general economy, particularly during the second half of 2008. Business in the various units shrank considerably and measures were taken early in the year to reduce the consequences.
However, a broader product range for customers during the year produced a clear result in the area of signs and advertising, where sales increased considerably.
Construction of our new printing works in Landvetter has begun in earnest and work is now under way on erecting the building which is scheduled to be completed in summer 2009. Production is planned for the following year.
Business area Stampen Media Partner
Stampen Media Partner is responsible for the Group's presence in the digital media and for offering companies support in the development of their own media channels.
Every week, this business area reaches about 700,000 Swedes on the Internet on the basis of subjects that appeal to their interests - such as sport (http://www.svenskafans.com), family (http://www.familjeliv.se), weddings (http://www.brollopstorget.se), gardening (http://www.odla.nu) and communities (http://www.myblock.se). This business area also includes Sweden's biggest custom publisher, Appelberg Publishing Group (http://www.appelberg.com / http://www.internetredaktorerna.se) and Sweden's leading Web-TV production company, Dobb Production (http://www.dobb.se).
In 2008, all the subsidiaries showed strong growth with good margins, with the business area recording a turnover of MSEK 140 (11) and Earnings Before Interest, Taxes and Amortisation (EBITA) of MSEK 12 (-4). Two major acquisitions were implemented during the year, Appelberg (March 1) and Svenska Fans (June 1), with both companies achieving their best annual results ever.
Business area Samedio Affärsservice
Samedio Affärsservice is a wholly-owned subsidiary that develops and standardises effective business service facilities in the areas of IT operation, financing, human resources, service and purchasing. By integrating forthcoming operations/companies into the Group, Samedio helps secure economies of scale and cost synergies for the Stampen Group.
In 2008 a project was implemented for taking over business service operations primarily for companies within Mediabolaget Västkusten, Appelberg Publishing Group, Adeprimo and mktmedia. Samedio increased its turnover during the year by 18 percent to MSEK 116 compared with the previous year (MSEK 98) and shows Earnings Before Interest, Taxes and Amortisation (EBITA) of MSEK -6 (-7).
Business area Stampen Fastigheter
Subsidiaries within the Stampen Group have sold real estate totalling MSEK 459. The total surface area is 72,000 square metres, distributed between 20 properties. On a declining market, these properties were sold at far above market value.
Capital gains total MSEK 38. The properties sold during the year helped focus the Group on its core operations. The remaining real estate within the Group's ownership are the GP building at Polhemsplatsen in downtown Göteborg and the printing works building that V-TAB is now constructing in Landvetter outside Göteborg.
Within the joint mktmedia operation, just over 42 MSEK was invested in the construction of a joint Web platform that will serve as the standardised basis for joint business development in the Stampen, Mittmedia, Eskilstuna-Kuriren and NLT operations. About 20 sites have already been launched and during the first six months of 2009 another 12 sites will be launched on the joint platform. The aim of the project is to permit business development that promotes new digital revenues for mktmedia's owners.
VTD is responsible for delivery of morning papers in large parts of western Sweden. All told, about 50 different titles are distributed. In October, delivery of Hallands Nyheter in Varberg and Falkenberg was taken over from Tidningstjänst AB.
A comprehensive change and development process is under way and has led to highly positive effects for 2008, not least through lower distribution costs and higher quality.
In 2008, VTD had a turnover of MSEK 642 with Earnings Before Interest, Taxes and Amortisation (EBITA) of MSEK 24. A major change and development process as per Business Strategy 2010 has been launched and implemented according to plan, including far-ranging optimisation and rationalisation of 800 districts in the sphere of distribution.
The parent company brings together executive management resources for the Group as a whole in the areas of economy/finance, HR, communication, IT and legal issues. The parent company has 13 employees.
INVESTMENTS, LIQUIDITY AND FINANCIAL STATUS
The Group's investments in intangible and tangible assets totalled MSEK 210 (154). Investments in shares and stocks via the parent company and subsidiaries totalled MSEK 1110 (331).
The Group's investments during the period totalled MSEK 1320 (485).
The Group's liquid funds at the end of the period totalled MSEK 437 (435) while unutilised credit totalled MSEK 172 (124). Interest-bearing debts on the closing day amounted to MSEK 1595 (1 311).
The Group's solvency rating is 33 (41) percent. The reduction in solvency is a consequence of the investments in shares and stocks during the year, increasing the balance sheet total and interest-bearing debts.
As the industry develops, so too is there an increased demand for new skills and expertise. In 2008, a decision was taken regarding a comprehensive competence-enhancement programme and the hiring of trainees. The requirement that all available jobs be advertised internally has given good results.
The pronounced slowdown in the economy that is expected in 2009 will primarily affect advertising and printed-media sales. The strong confidence in the company's growth strategy, which among other things means that at least half the Group's new income sources will stem from growth markets, provides a clear indication. The Group's operations exhibit good cost control and are well-equipped to survive the current economic climate.
Appelberg Publishing Group AB
In March, Stampen Media Partner acquired Appelberg Publishing Group AB from Citat Group AB, a subsidiary of Bure Equity AB. Appelberg is one of Sweden's largest players in editorial communication in the printed and digital media. The company has about 60 employees and offices in both Stockholm and Lund.
In May Svenska Fans was integrated as a subsidiary in the Stampen Group.
Svenska Fans is Sweden's largest sports site with about 250,000 unique visitors a week and thus also one of the largest lifestyle sites, all categories. The company also runs FanTV, the leader in sports Web-TV, as well as the Dobb Production Web-TV production company.
Gratistidningar i Sverige AB (GISAB)
On September 28, VLT AB, a subsidiary of Liberala Tidningar i Mellansverige AB, acquired Gratistidningar i Sverige AB (GISAB) from its Danish owners Söndagsavisen AS.
GISAB consists of three business areas:
Local newspaper concept Mitt i Stockholm AB, with 31 local editions in the Stockholm area
Newspapers outside Stockholm with local papers Örebroar'n, SméJournalen, SträngnäsJournalen and Södertäljeposten
S-Post, distribution company for direct advertising that covers a market corresponding to 1.4 million households in Stockholm, Eskilstuna, Strängnäs, Uppsala and Örebro.
GISAB's newspapers have a circulation of 1.2 million copies. The group has about 240 employees.
The acquisition is taking place in two stages: 66.7 percent of the shares purchased in stage one at a cost of MSEK 400. The remaining 33.3 percent of the shares will be purchased at a minimum price of MSEK 160. The second part of the acquisition will be implemented immediately after the end of the 2010 financial year.
As of 2009, GISAB is a separate business area within the Stampen Group.
EVENTS AFTER THE END OF THE REPORT PERIOD
In 2008, the Stampen Group contributed to restructuring of the Swedish commercial radio market. As part of this process, the entire Stampen Group radio operation, which among other things includes four radio stations and the Svensk Radioutveckling network company, will from January 2009 be coordinated with SBS Radio. The Stampen Group will thus own 20 percent of the shares in SBS Radio.
OWNERSHIP STRUCTURE, STAMPEN AB
Shares Votes (%) Capital (%)
Peter Hjörne with family and companies 74 65
Family Marika Cobbold 13 14
Sven Nordgrén with family 11 14
Others 2 7
This report was structured in accordance with the same accounting principles as in previous years.
The periodic report for Stampen AB, 1 January - 31 August 2009 will be published in the middle of October 2009.
Göteborg February 16, 2009
405 02 Göteborg
Geographic address: Polhemsplatsen 5
Phone: +46 (0)31 62 43 00
Org. no.: 556308-4630
For more information:
Tomas Brunegård, President and CEO Ann Flyning, Communications Director
Phone: +46 (0)31 62 43 00 Phone: +46 (0)31 62 4300
"The Stampen Group is a fast growing media group and Sweden's biggest newspaper owner. Online communities, printing operations, distribution companies, radio stations and news agencies are also part of the group. Stampen has a turnover of approximately 540 million euros."