ALMA MEDIA CORP. STOCK EXCHANGE RELEASE 11 AUGUST 2006, 9.00
Q2 INTERIM REPORT: OPERATING PROFIT CONTINUED TO RISE
Net sales from Alma Media Corporation's continuing operations totalled MEUR 74.8 (MEUR 73.5) in April-June and the operating profit was MEUR 11.6 (MEUR 9.5), or 15.6 % (12.9 %) of net sales. Net sales for the full year are expected to be higher than last year and the operating profit to exceed last year's level.
- Circulation income from the Newspapers segment has remained at a strong level, even though the overall tabloid market has declined. The Group's media sales fell short of the comparative period due to a decline in the total newspaper media market. Nationwide media sales in particular decreased. The Newspaper unit's operating profit was 17.7 % (17.9 %) of its net sales.
- The Kauppalehti group subsidiaries, and ePortti in particular, were very successful, but media sales for the core Kauppalehti newspaper remained at the previous year's weak level. Kauppalehti Presso cut its losses by half. Kauppalehti group's operating profit was 10.7 % (7.1 %) of its net sales.
- Marketplaces' foreign operations grew by 65 % and domestic continuing operations by 23 %. Monster, the recruiting service, raised its net sales by 58 % and its operating profit remained at an excellent level. The operating profit of Marketplaces' was 10.8 % (1.7 %) of its net sales.
- The operating profit for the comparative period included one-time costs of MEUR 1.4 and one-time income of MEUR 1.2.
- The company revises its full-year forecast. Growth in newspaper media advertising appears to be slowing down. The company forecasts that its comparative operating profit for the remaining six months will reach last year's good level. Full-year net sales are forecast to grow and the operating profit to exceed last year's level.
President and CEO Kai Telanne: PROFITABILITY STRONG, GROWTH THROUGH ACQUISITIONS
"The profitability of Kauppalehti group and Marketplaces continued to improve and the profitability of Newspapers remained at a good level, even though media sales failed to match expectations during the review period. Nationwide media sales in particular were a disappointment. Subscription sales continued to grow encouragingly.
"As well as its current profitable operations, Alma Media is currently absorbing several companies that support the Group's strategy of reducing its dependence on media advertising. ePortti, an online service that provides information and documents produced by public offices and companies, was acquired in 2005 and integrated into Kauppalehti Online. The success of ePortti has matched expectations.
"During the second quarter we announced the acquisition of the entire share capitals of 121, a one-to-one marketing company, and Finnish Business Communications Ltd (SBV), which specializes in corporate publications. At the beginning of July, 121 joined the Kauppalehti group with the name Kauppalehti 121 Oy and SBV expanded the customer magazine operations of Lehdentekijät in the same group. Together these acquisitions contribute annual net sales of more than MEUR 10. Integrating the new companies into the Alma Media team is fully underway.
"Net sales of Marketplaces' international operations grew 65 % between April and June. In July Marketplaces also expanded in Sweden with the acquisition of housing and business premises portals. During the review period we also purchased a new home-buying portal in Poland for the City24 chain. A new free newspaper, Kokkolan Sanomat, will be added to the Finnish newspaper chain on 1 September."
ALMA MEDIA CORPORATION
Terhi Lambert-Karjalainen Communications Manager
DISTRIBUTION: Helsinki Exchanges, principal media
Kai Telanne, President and CEO, +358 10 665 3500 Teemu Kangas-Kärki, CFO, tel. +358 10 655 2244
The presentation material in English will be available on the company's website, http://www.almamedia.fi/home, from 11.00 am.
A webcast will start in English at 3.00 pm EET (1.00 pm UK time) and last for approximately 20 minutes. It will be followed at 3.30 pm by a Conference Call. The webcast can be followed at http://www.almamedia.fi/home. If you wish to participate in the Conference Call, please call at +44 207 162 0025.
Alma Media is a Finnish media group that publishes newspapers, produces and distributes economic information, and maintains online marketplaces. The Group's portfolio contains business, afternoon, regional, local and town papers. Alma Media also owns leading online marketplaces, a business that it is also expanding into markets outside Finland.
Alma Media's best known products are the Aamulehti, Iltalehti and Kauppalehti papers and the Etuovi.com home-buying internet service. The Group derives about half of its net sales from media advertising and roughly 40 % from newspaper circulation revenues. Net sales of continuing operations in 2005 amounted to MEUR 286, generating an operating profit of MEUR 42 or an operating margin of 14.8 %. The company's share is quoted on the Main List of the Helsinki Exchanges. The trading code is ALN1V. More information at http://www.almamedia.fi/home.
The full report can be downloaded from the following link: