Sanoma temporarily withdraws its Outlook for 2020 and indicates significant impact on its business due to the corona virus outbreak

Sanoma Corporation, Stock Exchange Release, 24 March 2020 at 17:00 EET

Sanoma temporarily withdraws its Outlook for 2020 and indicates significant impact on its business due to the corona virus outbreak

Due to the current corona virus outbreak Sanoma temporarily withdraws its Outlook for 2020, which was given on 7 February. In the current continuously and rapidly evolving situation it is too early to make reliable and specific estimates for an adjusted Outlook. Sanoma expects to give an updated Outlook for 2020 later during the year. Sanoma’s net sales and profitability have developed according to expectations during the first months of the year.

Key business areas significantly impacted due to the corona virus outbreak

The Group’s business portfolio is well-balanced: after the acquisitions completed in Learning in 2019 and the divestment of Media Netherlands, majority of the Group’s operational earnings comes from Learning. In Learning,  no major impacts on net sales and profitability are expected.

In Media Finland, subscription and other B2C sales represents more than half of the total net sales and are not expected to be significantly affected, unless the current exceptional situation prolongs or intensifies significantly. Sanoma estimates that the corona virus outbreak will have a material impact on the net sales and profitability of Media Finland’s B2B advertising business as well as events business, but it is too early to make reliable and specific estimates of the size of the impact.

  • In the B2B advertising business (net sales of EUR 247 million in 2019) Sanoma estimates a material impact, which may greatly vary between customer categories and media channels. Size of the impact is dependent on the duration of the crisis and the pace of the recovery. After the financial crisis in 2008, Sanoma’s advertising sales declined by approx. 17% in-line with the market. 
  • The events business (net sales of EUR 35 million in 2019) is heavily focused on the summer months of June to August. The potential impact is largely dependent on possible restrictions posed on the festivals and events by the government at that time, and difficult to estimate at this moment. Sanoma has insurances in place covering the costs incurred and margin in cases, where the cancellation is ordered by the authorities.

Long-term financial targets remain unchanged

Sanoma’s long-term financial targets remain unchanged. The divestment of Media Netherlands (announced on 10 December 2019) is progressing well and is expected to be completed during Q2 2020 (original expectation latest during Q3 2020). The divestment will generate a EUR 400 million headroom for M&A.

Sanoma remains committed to its dividend policy of paying an increasing dividend corresponding to 40-60% of annual free cash flow *. To the Annual General Meeting (AGM), the Board proposes a dividend of EUR 0.50 to be paid for 2019 in two equal instalments, one in April and the other one in November 2020 (estimated timing).

Long-term SBU-level targets on net sales growth and profitability are:

Long-term target Sanoma Learning Sanoma Media Finland
Comparable net sales growth 2-5% +/- 2%
Operational EBIT margin excl. PPA 20-22% 12-14%

Previous Outlook for 2020 (given on 7 February)

In 2020, Sanoma expects that the Group’s comparable net sales will be stable, and operational EBIT margin excl. PPA will be around 15% (2019: 14.8%).

* When proposing a dividend to the AGM, the Board of Directors will look at the general macro-economic environment, Sanoma’s current and target capital structure, Sanoma’s future business plans and investment needs as well as both previous year’s cash flows and expected future cash flows affecting capital structure.

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

Sanoma

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

Today, we have operations in ten countries including Finland, the Netherlands and Poland. Our net sales totalled EUR 900 million and we employed approx. 3,500 professionals in 2019. Sanoma shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. More information is available at www.sanoma.com.

24.03.2020