Published: 2020-02-28 07:00:00 CET
Ekspress Grupp
Company Announcement

AS Ekspress Grupp: Consolidated unaudited interim report for the fourth quarter and 12 months of 2019


The year 2019 was the most successful one for AS Ekspress Grupp in recent years. The company increased its revenue on account of digital revenue growth, earned a strong profit in the last quarter of the year and was also profitable for the entire financial year.

The revenue of Ekspress Grupp totalled EUR 21.7 million in the fourth quarter of last year and EUR 75.3 million in 2019. In the fourth quarter, the Group’s revenue increased by 11% as compared to the same period last year. Digital revenue increased the most, growing by 22% as compared to last year and making up already 60% of the Group’s media segment revenue by the end of December.

The Group’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) totalled EUR 3.28 million in the 4th quarter and EUR 7.16 million for the 12 months period. The 4th quarter EBITDA sets a highest level of profits of the Group over the last 5 years.

Due to higher revenue, the Group became profitable, earning net profit of EUR 1.65 in the fourth quarter and EUR 1.41 million in the financial year.

Management proposes not to distribute dividends from the retained profits, in order to continue the investments into the growth of digital business. The Group consistently continues to implement its long-term growth and investment strategy in digital revenues in order to transform from print to digital. As a consequence of the activities implemented over the last five years, the company is less dependent on printing services.

The Baltic's advertising market supported a strong result in the last quarter of all media businesses. The revenue of the Group's media companies increased by 16% in the last quarter and by 13% during the full year. This has also been strongly supported by Group's acquisitions made in 2019.

Ekspress Grupp continues focusing on organic growth to increase our digital footprint and at the same time exploring constantly various options for potential acquisitions in order to increase the share of Group’s digital revenues and develop its diversified digital business. The Group's continuing investment strategy is supported by a stronger cash position that has improved from EUR 2.2 million last year to EUR 4.5 million as at 31 December 2019 and also issuing the long-term bonds as private placement with the cooperation of LHV Varahaldus.

In 2019, the number of digital subscriptions of the periodicals of Ekspress Grupp increased strongly. A greater number of readers of periodicals are willing to pay for the digital web content. The digital subscriptions in Estonia and Latvia increased the most. In Lithuania, Ekspress Grupp started to provide paid content in the third quarter, and its results are also encouraging. The company will continue making efforts in the upcoming years to increase digital subscriptions in all Baltic States.

Ekspress Grupp in collaboration with other media organisations and the Association of Media Companies worked hard in 2019 to increase the awareness of the wider public, regulators and legislators regarding the topic of fairer taxation of media companies. The explosive growth of global digital services (e.g. social media networks, sharing platforms, various mobile applications, online advertising, etc.) over the last 15 years has significantly impacted the structure of traditional economy, offering completely new ways to make virtual transactions. This has led to major changes in the economy: reducing the tax base, allowing large information technology groups to transfer their profits to countries with a low tax rate and encouraging unfair competition by reducing the earnings of local periodicals. The Estonian Association of Media Companies has come up with three proposals for more equal treatment of local and international media companies: a digital tax for global platforms operating in the local market, lower value added tax for digital subscriptions (similarly to paper periodicals) and clearer regulations for national broadcasting organisations.

In the 4th quarter we also celebrated Delfi’s 20th anniversary in Estonia and Latvia. Our portals in every country are the most preferred news portals with the highest visitors’ numbers and also with the biggest time share - already for 20 years.


SUMMARY OF THE RESULTS OF THE FOURTH QUARTER AND 12 MONTHS

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

REVENUE

The consolidated revenue for the 4th quarter of 2019 totalled EUR 21.7 million (4th quarter 2018: EUR 19.5 million) and for 12 months of the year, it totalled EUR 75.3 million (12 months 2018: EUR 69.1 million). In the 4th quarter revenue increased by 11% as compared to the previous year. Revenue growth is primarily attributable to the advertising revenue growth both in Estonia and Lithuania and also to the acquisition of the Latvian ticket sales platform company SIA Biļešu Paradīze in June 2019 which increased the Group's online revenue and its share in total revenue. SIA Biļešu Paradīze manages the electronic ticket sales platform (bilesuparadize.lv) and ticket sales sites, through which tickets to various entertainment events on behalf of event organisers are sold. The share of the Group's digital revenue made up 42% of total revenue and 60% of media segment revenue at the end of the 4th quarter. The Group's digital revenue for the 12 months of 2019 increased by 22% as compared to the same period last year.

PROFITABILITY

In the 4th quarter of 2019, consolidated EBITDA totalled EUR 3.28 million (4th quarter 2018: EUR 1.22 million) and in the 12 months of 2019, it totalled EUR 7.16 million (12 months 2018: EUR 4.21 million). EBITDA increased by 70% as compared to the previous year, of which EUR +0.84 million was related to the effect of the new accounting standard IFRS 16 Leases entered into force on 1 January 2019 on EBITDA. The EBITDA margin increased to 9.5% (12 months 2018: 6.1%). In the 4th quarter, the Group earned a profit in the amount of EUR 1.65 million. The consolidated net profit for the 12 months of 2019 was EUR 1.41 million (12 months 2018: EUR 0.03 million). The growth in profitability was primarily related to the good results in media segment. In the printing services segment there was a decline in profitablity due to the intensifying competition and the increase in input prices.

From 1 January 2019, the Group has adopted the new mandatory accounting standard IFRS 16 Leases. Due to this, the leased assets and lease liabilities are recognised at the present value of lease payments in the balance sheet. Depreciation on leased assets and the estimated interest expense on lease liabilities are recognised in the income statement.

CASH POSITION

At the end of the reporting period, the Group had available cash by proportional consolidation in the amount of EUR 4.5 million and equity in the amount of EUR 51.6 million (53% of total assets, without taking into account the effect of IFRS 16 - 55%). The comparative figures as of 31 December 2018 were EUR 2.2 million and EUR 50.4 million (64% of total assets), respectively. As of 31 December 2019, the Group's net debt totalled EUR 20.1 million. Without taking into account the effect of IFRS 16, the Group's net debt totalled EUR 16.8 million (31 December 2018: EUR 13.3 million).


Key financial indicators for segments

(EUR thousand)Sales
 Q4 2019Q4 2018Change %12 months 201912 months 2018Change %
Media segment (under equity method)13 44111 24620%44 21837 24819%
   incl. revenue from all digital and  online channels9 8427 09339%30 53424 56124%
Printing services segment6 9067 052-2%25 69525 2422%
Corporate functions51833853%2 0762 341-11%
Inter-segment eliminations(1 180)(1 238) (4 533)(4 342) 
TOTAL GROUP under equity method19 68517 39813%67 45660 48912%
Media segment (by proportional consolidation)15 62713 50916%52 71146 71613%
  incl. revenue from all digital and online channels10 1037 48235%31 57725 95422%
Printing services segment6 9067 052-2%25 69525 2422%
Corporate functions51833853%2 0762 341-11%
Inter-segment eliminations(1 339)(1 409) (5 185)(5 204) 
TOTAL GROUP by proportional consolidation21 71219 49011%75 29769 0969%


(EUR thousand)EBITDA
 Q4 2019Q4 2018Change %12 months 201912 months 2018Change %
Media segment (under equity method)2 9781 333123%5 9663 35578%
Media segment (by proportional consolidation)3 0831 221152%6 3763 32992%
Printing services segment56747918%2 0322 403-15%
Corporate functions(296)(450)34%(1 150)(1 492)23%
Inter-segment eliminations(52)(3) (75)(2) 
TOTAL GROUP under equity method3 1961 359135%6 7724 26359%
TOTAL GROUP by proportional consolidation3 2841 215170%7 1644 20670%


EBITDA marginQ4 2019Q4 201812 months 201912 months 2018
Media segment (under equity method)22%12%13%9%
Media segment (by proportional consolidation)20%9%12%7%
Printing services segment8%7%8%10%
TOTAL GROUP under equity method16%8%10%7%
TOTAL GROUP by proportional consolidation15%6%10%6%


Consolidated balance sheet (unaudited)

(EUR thousand)31.12.201931.12.2018
ASSETS  
Current assets  
Cash and cash equivalents3 6471 268
Trade and other receivables12 7059 154
Corporate income tax prepayment027
Inventories3 1203 382
Total current assets19 47213 831
Non-current assets  
Trade and other receivables9751 588
Deferred tax asset3844
Investments in joint ventures1 2542 345
Investments in associates2 356319
Property, plant and equipment14 94311 921
Intangible assets56 36946 691
Total non-current assets75 93562 907
TOTAL ASSETS95 40776 738
LIABILITIES  
Current liabilities  
Borrowings5 1001 356
Trade and other payables16 48310 801
Corporate income tax payable6529
Total current liabilities 21 64712 186
Non-current liabilities   
Long-term borrowings19 24214 118
Other long-term liabilities2 8950
Total non-current liabilities22 13714 118
TOTAL LIABILITIES43 78426 304
EQUITY  
Minority shareholding10087
Capital and reserves attributable to equity holders of parent company:  
Share capital17 87817 878
Share premium14 27714 277
Treasury shares(22)(22)
Reserves1 6881 688
Retained earnings17 70116 526
Total capital and reserves attributable to equity holders of parent company51 52250 347
TOTAL EQUITY 51 62250 434
TOTAL LIABILITIES AND EQUITY95 40776 738

 

Consolidated statement of comprehensive income (unaudited)

(EUR thousand)Q4 2019Q4 201812 months 201912 months 2018
Sales19 68517 39867 45660 489
Cost of sales(14 660)(13 884)(54 044)(48 874)
Gross profit5 0253 51313 41211 615
Other income157173607394
Marketing expenses(814)(930)(3 124)(3 108)
Administrative expenses (2 156)(2 211)(8 024)(7 609)
Other expenses(94)(33)(148)(82)
Operating profit /(loss)2 1195112 7221 211
Interest income42522143
Interest expenses(229)(138)(784)(443)
Other finance income and costs(24)(52)(61)(103)
Net finance cost(249)(165)(823)(403)
Profit (loss) on shares of joint ventures(22)(261)(38)(273)
Profit (loss) on shares of associates(17)(243)(114)(234)
Profit /(loss) before income tax1 831(158)1 746302
Income tax expense(186)(83)(339)(276)
Net profit /(loss) for the reporting period1 645(240)1 40725
Net profit /(loss) for the reporting period attributable to    
Equity holders of the parent company 1 637(262)1 3946
Minority shareholders8211319
Total comprehensive income 1 645(240)1 40725
Comprehensive income for the reporting period attributable to     
Equity holders of the parent company 1 637(262)1 3946
Minority shareholders8211319
Basic and diluted earnings per share0.05(0.01)0.050.00


Consolidated cash flow statement (unaudited)

(EUR thousand)20192018
Cash flows from operating activities  
Operating profit for the reporting year2 7221 211
Adjustments for:  
Depreciation, amortisation and impairment4 0703 052
Gain from change in ownership interest in subsidiary(31)0
(Gain)/loss on sale and write-down of property, plant and equipment(4)(5)
Cash flows from operating activities:  
Trade and other receivables(2 929)(397)
Inventories262(550)
Trade and other payables 3 5942 449
Cash generated from operations7 6845 760
Income tax paid(270)(379)
Interest paid(740)(462)
Net cash generated from operating activities 6 6754 920
Cash flows from investing activities   
Acquisition of subsidiaries/ associates (less cash acquired)(6 648)0
Purchase and receipts of other investments9(995)
Cash paid-in/ received from equity-accounted investees(63)0
Interest received14127
Purchase of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets(2 775)(3 082)
Proceeds from sale of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets1929
Loans granted(118)(700)
Loan repayments received3031 763
Net cash used in investing activities (9 259)(2 858)
Cash flows from financing activities  
Dividends paid0(2 085)
Payment of lease liabilities (2018: payment of finance lease liabilities)(978)(74)
Change in overdraft(265)1 191
Notes issued5 0000
Loans received / Repayments of bank loans1 207(900)
Net cash used in financing activities 4 964(1 868)
NET (DECREASE)/INCREASE IN CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS2 379194
Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the year1 2681 073
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year3 6471 268


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 employs 1700 people, owns leading web media portals in the Baltic States and publishes the most popular daily and weekly newspapers as well as the majority of the most popular magazines in Estonia.

Attachment


EG_IV_kvartal_2019_ENG.pdf