Published: 2018-10-31 07:00:00 CET
Ekspress Grupp
Quarterly report

AS Ekspress Grupp: Consolidated unaudited interim report for the third quarter and 9 months of 2018


MANAGEMENT'S COMMENTS

AS Ekspress Grupp's sales volume grew both in the 3rd quarter as well as over the 9-month period. The Group's revenue in the 3rd quarter increased by 4% and totalled EUR 15.6 million and the 9-month revenue by 8% and totalled EUR 49.6 million. The Group's digital revenue increased by 25% as compared to the same period last year and made up 37% of total sales.

In the 3rd quarter, the Group's EBITDA totalled EUR 0.6 million and EUR 3.0 million over the 9-month period. Compared to the previous period, EBITDA decreased by EUR 1.1 million in the 3rd quarter and by EUR 2.2 million in 9-month comparison. The profitability was positively influenced by the fast growth of digital revenues, but reduced by lower-than-expected result in printing services segment, the growth of several input prices as well as one-off costs related to the reorganisation of the business of Ajakirjade Kirjastus.

The Group continues to focus on digital revenue growth. In a situation where the circulation of print media is stalling or declining, the growth of digital revenue is unable to fully compensate this decline. Media consumption habits of consumers are changing and more consumers opt for digital content while many of them are still not used to paying for digital content. The Group is constantly making efforts in this area to increase the number of digital subscribers as this represents a significant growth opportunity for us. We have made available for our readers a number of new formats that add new outputs to our digital products, including content listening using speech synthesis and different podcast formats, the most famous of which is the sport broadcast "Men don’t cry".

In the 3rd quarter, the marketing and sales activities of the Group's real estate portal Kinnisvara24.ee were fully launched. The portal's first active months of operation may be considered successful for the portal - as of the end of September, we have caught up with the second-largest portal in the market City24.ee both in terms of the number of advertisements as well users. At the end of September, the number of advertisements in Kinnisvara24.ee was approximately 21 thousand which is about 82% of the volume of the second largest portal in the market.

In the 3rd quarter, several important events took place in experience marketing area, the largest one was an entertainment event with more than 25 000 participants in Kaunas, Lithuania. The arrangement of events and activities is an area that we want to develop further, as it will differ from our traditional approach and has profitable synergies with other areas of the Group.

In Lithuania, we have launched a fight against fake news in cooperation with the state and other partners. (demaskuok.lt). This initiative has received positive feedback and support both on the local as well as the EU level. In Latvia, we launched the topic "Women in Prison" Kletka/Krātiņš which today has more than 200 000 readers. In Latvia, the largest news portal Delfi has reached a position where country's most important television debates were conducted in Delfi environment by the best Latvian investigative journalists Janis Domburs.

The Group's printing house is under a strong price pressure due to falling circulations which has led to a greater than expected decline in the segment's profitability. Higher input prices, including primarily labour, electricity and paper costs have had an additional effect on the results.

Despite higher sales volumes, the Group’s profitability is under pressure primarily due to the intensifying competitive situation in the media and printing services segments. In the following periods, management will pay attention and keep looking for additional opportunities to improve profitability and increase efficiency.


SUMMARY OF THE RESULTS FOR THE THIRD QUARTER AND NINE MONTHS

In the Group's reporting, the management monitors the performance on the basis of proportional consolidation of joint ventures. The syndicated loan contract also determines the calculation of some loan covenants while taking into account proportional consolidation.

REVENUE

The consolidated revenue for the 3rd quarter of 2018 totalled EUR 15.6 million (Q3 2017: EUR 15.0 million) and the revenue for the 9 months of 2018 totalled EUR 49.6 million (9 months 2017: EUR 46.1 million). Revenue increased by 8% as compared to last year. Revenue growth is primarily attributable to the acquisition of the majority holding of the provider of an advertising network and programmatic sales solutions Adnet Media last November which together with Delfi entities has significantly increased the Group's online revenue and its share in total revenue. By the end of the 3rd quarter, the share of the Group's digital revenue increased to 37% of total revenue which is by far the highest percentage. The Group's digital revenue for the 9 months of 2018 increased by 25% as compared to the same period last year.

PROFITABILITY

In the 3rd quarter of 2018, the consolidated EBITDA totalled EUR 0.65 million (Q3 2017: EUR 1.78 million) and over the 9 months of 2018, EBITDA was EUR 2.99 million (9 months 2017: EUR 5.20 million). EBITDA decreased by 42% as compared to last year. The EBITDA margin declined to 6.0% (9 months 2017: 11.3%). The consolidated net profit for the 9 months of 2018 was EUR 0.27 million (9 months 2017: EUR 2.44 million) and the net margin totalled 0.5% (9 months 2017: 5.3%). The decline in profitability was primarily related to the intensifying competition of the printing services segment and the increase in input prices. In addition, it was related to the decline in the revenue of print media and higher home delivery and labour costs (growth +8% vs 9 months 2017) as well as one-off costs related to reorganisation (9 months 2018: EUR 0.26 million).

CASH POSITION

At the end of the reporting period, the Group had available cash by proportional consolidation in the amount of EUR 1.1 million and equity in the amount of EUR 50.7 million (65% of total assets). The comparative information as of 30 September 2017 were EUR 3.0 million and EUR 51.7 million (67% of total assets), respectively. As of 30 September 2018, the Group's net debt totalled EUR 15.4 million (30 September 2017: EUR 13.2 million).


BUSINESS OPERATIONS

In the consolidated financial reports 50% joint ventures are recognised under the equity method, in compliance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). In its monthly reports, the management monitors the Group’s performance on the basis of proportional consolidation of joint ventures and the syndicated loan contract also determines the calculation of some loan covenants by proportional consolidation.
For the purpose of clarity, the management report shows two sets of indicators: one where joint ventures are consolidated line-by-line and the other where joint ventures are recognised under the equity method and their net result is presented as financial income in one line.


FINANCIAL INDICATORS AND RATIOS – joint ventures consolidated 50% line-by-line


Performance indicators – joint ventures consolidated 50%
(EUR thousand)
Q3 2018Q3 2017Change %9 months 20189 months 2017Change %12 months 2017
For the period       
Sales15 59615 0144%49 60646 0938%63 699
EBITDA6471 775-64%2 9915 202-42%6 713
EBITDA margin (%)4.1%11.8% 6.0%11.3% 10.5%
Operating profit*(195)1 005-119%6952 896-76%3 526
Operating margin* (%)-1.2%6.7% 1.4%6.3% 5.5%
Interest expenses(111)(102)-10%(317)(324)2%(427)
Net profit/(loss)* for the period(387)813-148%2662 444-89%2 952
Net margin* (%)-2.5%5.4% 0.5%5.3% 4.6%
Net profit (-loss) for the period in the financial statements
(incl. write-downs and gain from change in ownership interest)
(387)813-148%2662 444-89%3 146
Net margin (%)-2.5%5.4% 0.5%5.3% 4.9%
Return on assets ROA (%)-0.5%1.1% 0.3%3.2% 4.1%
Return on equity (%)-0.8%1.6% 0.5%4.8% 6.1%
Earnings per share (EPS)(0.01)0.03 0.010.08 0.11

* The results reflect the outcome of regular business activities and do not include impairment losses on goodwill, gains from the changes in ownership interests in joint ventures, etc.


SEGMENT OVERVIEW

The Group’s activities are divided into two large segments - media segment and printing services segment

The media segment includes the Group's activities in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. It comprises the operations of online portal Delfi, several other news portal providing online advertising network and programmatic sales, outdoor digital screen advertising in Estonia and Latvia, publishing of the Estonian weekly newspapers Maaleht, Eesti Ekspress and LP, the daily newspaper Päevaleht, tabloid Õhtuleht, freesheet Linnaleht, publishing of books and magazines in Estonia, publishing of magazines in Lithuania until December 2017 and providing home delivery services.

The printing services segment includes AS Printall which one of the largest is printing companies in Estonia. We are able to print high-quality magazines, newspapers, advertising materials, product and service catalogues, yearbooks, paperback books and other publications in our printing plant.

Segment EBITDA does not include one-off write-downs for goodwill and trademarks. Volume-based and other fees payable to advertising agencies are deducted from the advertising sales of segments.


Key financial indicators for segments


 (EUR thousand)Revenue
 Q3 2018Q3 2017Change %9 months 20189 months 2017Change %12 months 2017
Media segment (under equity method)8 5937 63912%26 00222 89014%33 498
  incl. revenue from all digital and online channels5 5554 59421%17 46813 91126%19 963
Printing services segment5 6145 4184%18 19017 3835%23 879
Corporate functions615633-3%2 0041 79911%2 486
Inter-segment eliminations(1 052)(967) (3 105)(3 018) (5 793)
TOTAL GROUP under equity method13 77012 7238%43 09139 05410%54 070
Media segment (by proportional consolidation)10 57310 2223%33 20830 8228%44 429
  incl. revenue from all digital and online channels5 8754 87620%18 47114 75125%21 024
Printing services segment5 6145 4184%18 19017 3835%23 879
Corporate functions615633-3%2 0041 79911%2 486
Inter-segment eliminations(1 206)(1 259) (3 796)(3 911) (7 095)
TOTAL GROUP by proportional consolidation15 59615 0144%49 60646 0938%63 699


(EUR thousand)EBITDA
 Q3 2018Q3 2017Change %9 months 20189 months 2017Change %12 months 2017
Media segment (under equity method)6251 019-39%2 0222 561-21%3 729
Media segment (by proportional consolidation)6161 141-46%2 1083 092-32%4 181
Printing services segment440860-49%1 9242 782-31%3 734
Corporate functions(409)(226)-81%(1 042)(672)-55%(1 202)
Inter-segment eliminations00 10 0
TOTAL GROUP under equity method6561 653-60%2 9054 671-38%6 261
TOTAL GROUP by proportional consolidation6471 775-64%2 9915 202-42%6 713


EBITDA marginQ3 2018Q3 20179 months 20189 months 201712 months 2017
Media segment (under equity method)7%13%8%11%11%
Media segment (by proportional consolidation)6%11%6%10%9%
Printing services segment8%16%11%16%16%
TOTAL GROUP under equity method5%13%7%12%12%
TOTAL GROUP by proportional consolidation4%12%6%11%11%


MEDIA SEGMENT


ONLINE MEDIA

Related to Gemius changes to online readership survey methodology in the Baltic states, we are currently revising our coverage of online media (readership statistics are not comparable to earlier data).

Important progress and significant accomplishments per country are listed below.

Estonia

Significant developments and accomplishments during the quarter:

  • Delfi launched new podcasts centre „Delfi Tasku“,
  • Delfi launched new versions of its mobile applications,
  • Ekspress Meedia posted all-time highest results in single-article sales,
  • Õhtuleht increased digital subscriptions ca 12% compared to previous quarter,
  • Õhtuleht launched new layout in multiple sub-sections of the portal,
  • Õhtuleht launched its new web shop pood.ohtulehtkirjastus.ee.

Latvia

Significant developments and accomplishments during the quarter:

  • Delfi launched a present for Latvia's century – special project "100 years in 100 days" which runs for 100 days preceding Independence day.
  • Delfi coverage of the Latvian Song and Dance festival with liveblogs and video streams,
  • Delfi served as main media partner for a number of high profile events such as Positivus festival, International Early Music Festival, World RX of Latvia and others,
  • Delfi started with pre-election content, including video debates and interviews with candidates,
  • Delfi started to broadcast Estonian-Latvian basketball league and Estonian-Latvian volleyball league games,
  • Delfi launched responsive design layout for part of the traffic.

Lithuania

Significant developments and accomplishments during the quarter:

  • Delfi completed the overhaul of its TV studio,
  • Delfi launched TV show “DELFI in the spotlight”– live talk show 4 times a week, covering the most important topics of the day with Edmundas Jakilaitis.
  • Delfi launched live daily TV show called “DELFI day” with Arnas Mazeti,
  • Delfi launched updated layout for its mobile site and a new product “DELFI Today” – morning summary of the important topics of the day,
  • Delfi launched a partnership with Bloomberg, a major global provider of 24-hour financial news and information https://www.delfi.lt/verslas/bloomberg/,
  • Delfi participated in the launch of unique Lithuania-born initiative https://debunk.eu/, uniting media outlets, journalists and volunteers to make society more resilient to disinformation campaigns.


PRINT MEDIA

Based on Estonian Newspaper Association data, the daily newspaper with the largest circulation in Estonia continues to be Õhtuleht, leading over Postimees at the end of the quarter by 2400 copies. During the last 12 months, 5 largest newspapers have declined in circulation in total by ca 6900 copies.

In the 3rd quarter of 2018, the revenue in the media segment totalled EUR 10.6 million (Q3 2017: EUR 10.2 million) and in the 9 months of 2018, the revenue totalled EUR 33.2 million (9 months 2017: EUR 30.8 million). Revenue increased by 8% as compared to last year. Revenue growth is primarily attributable to the acquisition of the majority holding of the provider of an advertising network and programmatic sales solutions Adnet Media last November which together with Delfi entities has significantly increased the Group's online revenue and its share in total revenue. By the end of the 3rd quarter, the share of the Group's digital revenue increased to 37% of total revenue. The Group's digital revenue for the 9 months of 2018 increased by 25% as compared to the same period last year.

In the 3rd quarter of 2018, the media segment's EBITDA was EUR 0.6 million (Q3 2017: EUR 1.1 million) and in the 9 months of 2018, the EBITDA was EUR 2.1 million (9 months 2017: EUR 3.1 million), decreasing by 32% as compared to last year. Lower profitability is related to the decline in print media and higher printing, home delivery and labour costs as well as one-off costs related to reorganisation (AS Ajakirjade Kirjastus).

On 1 June 2018, the reorganisation of the joint venture Ajakirjade Kirjastus took place. The publishing of monthly magazines was primarily moved to Ekspress Meedia and that of weekly magazines to Õhtuleht Kirjastus (former name SL Õhtuleht). From the same date, Ajakirjade Kirjastus and SL Õhtuleht are considered as merged and it now bears the name of Õhtuleht Kirjastus. The figures of Ajakirjade Kirjastus for June include the revenue and EBITDA earned until the end of May 2018.

The revenue and expenses of the magazines moved to Ekspress Meedia are for June 100% included in the figures of AS Ekspress Meedia. The figures of magazines moved to Õhtuleht Kirjastus for June are included in the income statement of Õhtuleht Kirjastus.


REAL ESTATE PORTAL

In the 3rd quarter, the marketing and sales activities of Kinnisvara24.ee were launched in full and the new real estate portal caught up with its key competitors in terms of the number of advertisements and visitors. In September, the number of unique browsers (visitors) made up 89% on average of the volume of the key competitor city24.ee and by the end of September the number of advertisements on the page Kinnisvara24.ee totalled 20761, which makes up 82% of the respective volume of our competitor. The growth in the number of advertisements is approximately 1000 advertisements per month. About 70 new real estate agencies join kinnisvara24.ee in any given month. As of the end of September, 202 real estate companies and 655 regular users had published their advertisements in the portal. The number of brokers that had joined the portal totalled 904.


PRINTING SERVICES SEGMENT

In the 3rd quarter of 2018, the revenue of AS Printall totalled EUR 5.6 million (Q3 2017: EUR 5.4 million) and in the 9 months of 2018, the revenue totalled EUR 18.2 million (9 months 2017: EUR 17.4 million). Revenue increased by 5% as compared to last year. In the 3rd quarter of 2018, EBITDA was EUR 0.4 million (Q3 2017: EUR 0.9 million) and in the 9 months of 2018, it was EUR 1.9 million (9 months 2017: EUR 2.8 million). EBITDA declined by 31% as compared to last year.

For several consecutive years, the printing services segment has been under pressure due to continued digitalisation of regular journalism and increasing popularity of Internet as compared to printed products. Competition concerning sales prices continues to be intense. The sales volumes of print circulations have declined which in turn leads to higher printing costs. In addition, appreciation of input prices of labour, paper and electricity is another major challenge.

The revenue of AS Printall over the 9 months of 2018 outside Estonia is 60% (9 months 2017: 57%).


FINANCIAL INDICATORS AND RATIOS


Performance indicators  - joint ventures under equity method
(EUR thousand)
Q3 2018Q3 2017Change %9 months 20189 months 2017Change %12 months 2017
For the period       
Sales13 77012 7238%43 09139 05410%54 070
EBITDA6561 653-60%2 9054 671-38%6 261
EBITDA margin (%)4.8%13.0% 6.7%12.0% 11.6%
Operating profit*(90)974-109%7002 635-73%3 475
Operating margin *(%)-0.7%7.7% 1.6%6.7% 6.4%
Interest expenses(109)(95)-15%(305)(303)-1%(400)
Net profit/(loss) under the equity method(103)22-566%(12)232-105%(2)
Net profit/(loss)) for the period*(387)813-148%2662 444-89%2 952
Net margin* (%)-2.8%6.4% 0.6%6.3% 5.5%
Net profit /(-loss) in the financial statements
(incl. write-downs and gain from a change in ownership interest)
(387)813-148%2662 444-89%3 146
Net margin (%)-2.8%6.4% 0.6%6.3% 5.8%
Return on assets ROA (%)-0.5%1.1% 0.3%3.3% 4.2%
Return on equity (%)-0.8%1.6% 0.5%4.8% 6.1%
Earnings per share (EPS)(0.01)0.03 0.010.08 0.11

* The results reflect the outcome of regular business activities and do not include impairment losses on goodwill, gains from the changes in ownership interests in joint ventures, etc.
  

Balance sheet

(EUR thousand)
joint ventures consolidated 50%joint ventures under equity method
30.09.201831.12.2017Change %30.09.201831.12.2017Change %
As of the end of the period      
Current assets15 62916 725-7%14 20913 8273%
Non-current assets62 74462 5970%62 50562 1301%
Total assets78 37379 322-1%76 71475 9571%
  incl. cash and bank1 0842 818-62%6581 073-39%
  incl. goodwill39 79939 9200%37 96937 9690%
Current liabilities12 80411 08116%11 3038 37235%
Non-current liabilities14 89415 747-5%14 73615 091-2%
Total liabilities27 69826 8283%26 03923 46311%
  incl. borrowings16 49515 7914%16 41015 2578%
Equity50 67552 494-3%50 67552 494-3%


Financial ratios (%)joint ventures consolidated 50%joint ventures under equity method
30.09.201831.12.201730.09.201831.12.2017
Equity ratio (%)65%66%66%69%
Debt to equity ratio (%) 33%30%32%29%
Debt to capital ratio (%) 23%20%24%21%
Total debt/EBITDA ratio3.662.353.652.44
Liquidity ratio1.221.511.261.65


 Formulas used to calculate the financial ratios
EBITDAEarnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation. EBITDA does not include any impairment losses recognised during the period or result from restructuring.
EBITDA margin (%)EBITDA/sales x 100
Operating margin* (%)Operating profit*/sales x100
Net margin (%) Net margin in financial statements/sales x100
Net margin* (%) Net margin*/sales x100
Earnings per shareNet profit / average number of shares
Equity ratio (%)Equity/ (liabilities + equity) x100
Dividend rate (%)Total amount of dividends paid / Net profit
Debt to equity ratio (%)Interest bearing liabilities /equity x 100
Debt to capital ratio (%)Interest bearing liabilities – cash and cash equivalents (net debt) /(net debt +equity) x 100
Total debt/EBITDA ratioInterest bearing borrowings /EBITDA
Debt service coverage ratio EBITDA/loan and interest payments for the period
Liquidity ratioCurrent assets / current liabilities
Return on assets ROA (%)Net profit /average assets x 100
Return on equity ROE (%)Net profit /average equity x 100

* The results reflect the outcome of regular business activities and do not include impairment losses on goodwill, gains from the changes in ownership interests in our joint ventures, etc.


Consolidated balance sheet (unaudited)


(EUR thousand)30.09.201831.12.2017
ASSETS  
Current assets  
Cash and cash equivalents6581 073
Trade and other receivables9 6689 918
Corporate income tax prepayment2114
Inventories3 6722 832
Total current assets14 20913 827
Non-current assets  
Trade and other receivables1 1431 749
Deferred tax asset4747
Investments in joint ventures2 8912 372
Investments in associates378354
Property, plant and equipment11 90912 189
Intangible assets46 13745 419
Total non-current assets62 50562 130
TOTAL ASSETS76 71475 957
LIABILITIES  
Current liabilities  
Borrowings1 674166
Trade and other payables9 4348 095
Corporate income tax payable195111
Total current liabilities 11 3038 372
Non-current liabilities   
Long-term borrowings14 73615 091
Total non-current liabilities 14 73615 091
TOTAL LIABILITIES26 03923 463
EQUITY  
Minority shareholding6668
Capital and reserves attributable to equity holders of parent company:  
Share capital17 87817 878
Share premium14 27714 277
Treasury shares(22)(22)
Reserves1 6881 531
Retained earnings16 78818 762
Total capital and reserves attributable to equity holders of parent company50 60952 426
TOTAL EQUITY 50 67552 494
TOTAL LIABILITIES AND EQUITY76 71475 957


Consolidated statement of comprehensive income (unaudited)


(EUR thousand)Q3 2018Q3 20179 months 20189 months 2017
Sales13 77012 72343 09139 054
Cost of sales(11 399)(10 169)(34 989)(30 968)
Gross profit2 3712 5548 1028 086
Other income61269222717
Marketing expenses(693)(563)(2 177)(2 077)
Administrative expenses (1 815)(1 274)(5 398)(4 037)
Other expenses(14)(12)(49)(54)
Operating profit(90)9747002 635
Interest income3023118137
Interest expenses(109)(95)(305)(303)
Other finance income/ (costs)(17)(19)(51)(52)
Net finance cost(96)(91)(238)(218)
Profit (loss) on shares of joint ventures(103)22(12)232
Profit (loss) on shares of associates9(28)10(51)
Profit before income tax(280)8774602 598
Income tax expense(107)(64)(194)(154)
Net profit  for the reporting period(387)8132662 444
Net profit for the reporting period attributable to    
Equity holders of the parent company (386)8132682 444
Minority shareholders(1)0(2)0
Total comprehensive income (387)8132662 444
Comprehensive income for the reporting period attributable to     
Equity holders of the parent company (386)8132682 444
Minority shareholders(1)0(2)0
Basic and diluted earnings per share(0.01)0.030.010.08


Consolidated cash flow statement (unaudited)


(EUR thousand)9 months 20189 months 2017
Cash flows from operating activities  
Operating profit for the reporting year7002 635
Adjustments for:  
Depreciation, amortisation and impairment2 2042 036
(Gain)/loss on sale and write-down of property, plant and equipment(8)(4)
Cash flows from operating activities:  
Trade and other receivables(157)20
Inventories(840)(92)
Trade and other payables 1 287(936)
Cash generated from operations3 1863 659
Income tax paid(317)(309)
Interest paid(305)(303)
Net cash generated from operating activities 2 5643 047
Cash flows from investing activities   
Interest received70144
Purchase of subsidiaries0(390)
Purchase of associates0(74)
Purchase of other investments(1 000)(35)
Purchase of  property, plant and equipment( 1 663)(1 185)
Proceeds from sale of property, plant and equipment2714
Loans granted(551)(2 079)
Loan repayments received1 0691 053
Net cash used in investing activities (2 047)(2 552)
Cash flows from financing activities  
Dividends paid(2 085)(1 787)
Dividends received056
Finance lease payments made(55)(52)
Change in overdraft1 008376
Loans received1 0000
Repayments of bank loans(800)(553)
Net cash used in financing activities (932)(1 960)
NET (DECREASE)/INCREASE IN CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS(415)(1 465)
Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the year1 0732 856
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year6581 391

   

Additional information:

         Signe Kukin
         Group CFO
         AS Ekspress Grupp 
         +372 669 8381
         signe.kukin@egrupp.ee


AS Ekspress Grupp is the leading media group in the Baltic States whose key activities include web media content production, publishing of newspapers and magazines and provision of printing services in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Ekspress Grupp that launched its operations in 1989 owns leading web media portals in the Baltic States and publishes the most popular weekly and daily newspapers as well as the majority of the most popular magazines in Estonia.

Attachment


EG_III_kvartal_2018_ENG.pdf