Amsterdam,
31
July
2015
|
08:00
Europe/Amsterdam

TMG well on its way to creating strategic focus

Summary

Key points for the first half of 2015

  • Creation of strategic focus leads to new initiatives and culture;
  • Transition in full swing in virtually all business units;
  • Clear focus on the retention and growth of non-title-related digital activities;
  • New credit facility concluded for the coming three years;
  • Paul Jansen new General Editor in Chief of De Telegraaf daily newspaper;
  • The EBITDA result decreased from € 22.2 million to € 19.0 million during the first half of the year;
  • The liquidity position rose by € 2.8 million compared to 30 June 2014 to € 34.7 million, in spite of substantial restructuring expenditures;
  • The reorganisations announced should result in annual savings of € 10 to € 12 million.

Rapidly changing consumer behaviour, the shift to digital media consumption and related media expenditures are having a major influence on the revenues generated by Telegraaf Media Groep’s business activities. Consequently, 2015 is characterised by changes in the organisation, the culture, the market approach and earning models. Change management processes have been initiated in almost all business units, which should lead to sustainable improvements in the result. Although it is a challenging phase with many changes, it is also a period with new opportunities and initiatives, both within the organisation and in terms of cooperation with external partners.

“High pace, seizing opportunities and building a new culture”

“The reorganisation of the company is in full swing,” says Geert-Jan van der Snoek, CEO of Telegraaf Media Groep. “We set a good pace in the first half of the year, and no sacred cows were spared. That takes a heavy toll on our people. At the same time, however, we are observing that they are beginning to see the prospects and are seizing opportunities. We are investing heavily in our employees and their competencies, as well as in cultural change and change management programmes. We are also investing in IT and sustainability programmes. This is necessary to improve business operations and to be able to work innovatively and digitally, and to increase our pace strategically and operationally.

We are focusing on increasing digitalisation in all of our distribution channels. This is why we are planning to consolidate all non-title-related online activities into TMG Digital B.V. We do this because we believe in the strength of these online activities and the talent that is present there. By creating a joint stimulating, innovative environment for these activities, we can improve returns.”

Following a meticulous application process, together with the Editorial Board, we unanimously selected Paul Jansen as the new General Editor in Chief of De Telegraaf daily newspaper. This gives De Telegraaf a strong General Editor in Chief from within its own ranks who enjoys the full support of his colleagues.” 

Results

In the first six months of 2015, Telegraaf Media Groep realised an EBITDA result of € 19.0 million, a decrease of € 3.2 million compared to the same period in 2014 (€ 22.2 million). The net result, to be attributed to the shareholders of TMG, was € 2 million negative, partly due to the € 6.9 million depreciation on the printing presses. Circulation revenues fell by € 3.8 million to € 129.8 million.In line with the overall market, the number of print subscriptions declined for both national and regional media. The conversion to combined subscriptions (print and digital) continues. Sky Radio Group suffered from shrinking advertising spend in the radio market. Circulation revenues of the Keesing Media Group rose.

The market continues to change rapidly. The traditional advertising models are under pressure in all markets. TMG’s advertising revenues in the first half of 2015 declined by € 13.4 million to € 74.0 million (-15.3%). The decline is evident in all products. National and regional media newspapers have been experiencing pressure on advertising revenues for a number of years now.

The digital revenues earned by TMG Landelijke Media increased. Although TMG’s digital reach increased across the board, total digital advertising revenues declined. This is primarily due to a significant decrease at Dichtbij.nl. Various development scenarios are being developed for Dichtbij.nl.

Scenarios have been developed for TMG’s non-title-related online activities. It was decided to consolidate these activities in a new business unit: TMG Digital B.V. By investing in these business units and through cooperation in relation to clients and themes, benefits can be realised that will significantly improve the combined results of these activities. The company wants to retain its knowledge and talent in this domain and bind it to the company for the long term in order to further expand TMG’s digital position. In the light of these plans, Relatieplanet.nl will no longer be held for sale and instead will be integrated into TMG Digital. Approximately 115 FTEs are involved in the relevant activities and business units, which currently form part of TMG Landelijke Media. The aim is to have TMG Digital operational by 1 January 2016.

New partnerships were announced in the first half of 2015, to support the strategic focus on the main brands and to reinforce TMG’s position in the digital domain. TMG and Dasym Investment Strategies are working on a strategic partnership to strengthen their positions in various areas, such as the position in Over The Top (OTT) content, e-gaming and e-gambling. At the end of April 2015, the parties agreed on a Letter of Intent. 

A changing organisation

TMG’s strategic focus is on the production of content for distribution via print, online, video, mobile and radio. TMG focuses on the core business and the key brands. Changing consumer needs are at the heart of all strategic adjustments. TMG wants to be able to provide relevant products and services 24/7 via channels and at times of the consumers’ own choosing.

The organisation at TMG Landelijke Media is being adjusted in phases, with a focus on strengthening the brands and the organisation’s agility. Holland Media Combinatie is in the process of completing a reorganisation that had been announced earlier. This reorganisation focuses on strengthening publications in the five core regions. The second phase of the reorganisation is now largely at the stage of implementation.

In June, it was announced that all TMG printing operations would be reorganised. The plan is to consolidate the printing capacity in Amsterdam and to close the printing plant in Alkmaar. Part of the printing volume will be outsourced to external parties still to be determined. The reorganisation is necessary due to the rapidly changing use of media. There has been a large excess capacity in the market for a long time, which continues to increase significantly.

Employees

For TMG’s employees, 2015 is again a challenging year. Several programmes are underway to manage talent within the change management processes and to help people develop their competencies and exploit new opportunities.

The total number of employees declined to 2,122 FTEs in the first half of the year. This decline is the result of FTE reductions due to restructuring and the delayed filling of vacancies. The expectation is that this number will further decline in the second half of 2015.

On 30 June, the current Social Plan was extended, with several technical adjustments. The extension applies to reorganisations for which a request for advice is submitted prior to 1 December 2015 and which receive a recommendation prior to 31 December 2015.

Paul Jansen new General Editor in Chief of De Telegraaf daily newspaper

Paul Jansen (47) has been appointed General Editor in Chief of De Telegraaf daily newspaper, as of 1 September 2015. Jansen has been De Telegraaf’s political commentator since 2008, and between 2006 and 2013 he was Chief of the Parliamentary Editorial Board. He joined De Telegraaf in 1996 and was successively active on the Foreign Editorial Board, the Financial Editorial Board and as correspondent in Indonesia. Due to his reputation as an interpreter of political developments, he also regularly appears as a political commentator on television programmes. The unanimous selection of Paul Jansen was made by a Selection Committee consisting of delegates from the Management Board of TMG Landelijke Media and the Editorial Board. The Advisory Board also fully supports the appointment. It was the first time that the selection process made use of an application procedure that was open to all editorial staff.Paul Jansen studied Political Science and International Law at the University of Amsterdam. He subsequently completed a postgraduate programme in Journalism at Erasmus University in Rotterdam.

Business units

Please refer to the Semi-annual Report for a more detailed description of the developments within the different business units and for the financial notes for the first half of 2015. (Attachment)

Financial notes to the second quarter of 2015

For the second quarter of 2015, TMG realised an EBITDA result of € 11.3 million, while the EBITDA result realised in the same period in 2014 was € 14.6 million. The EBITDA margin was 9.5% in the second quarter of 2015 (second quarter 2014: 11.0%).

Total revenues in the second quarter were € 119.3 million. The revenues declined by € 12.7 million, primarily due to lower advertising revenues from daily newspapers and radio activities. Last year there was an incidental benefit of € 1.9 million due to the sale of MyRadio’s intellectual property. Advertising revenues from virtually all business units declined by € 7.5 million. Circulation revenues from daily newspapers, as well as from the single-copy sales of De Telegraaf and Privé, declined by € 2.7 million.

By contrast, the revenues of Keesing Media Group rose as a result of the introduction of new puzzle publications and the introduction of colouring books for adults. Revenues from distribution declined by € 0.5 million due to lower volumes at other daily newspaper publishers.

Cost savings were achieved on virtually all cost components, with the exception of pension costs due to the one-time € 1.2 million contribution to a defined contribution plan. In addition, the costs of temporary personnel and the costs of outsourced work rose due to TV productions. Last year, additional costs were incurred due to De Telegraaf’s new brand campaign and the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.A plan to reduce printing capacity was announced in the second quarter. As a result of this decision, the valuation of the printing presses has been reduced by € 6.9 million. In addition, Relatieplanet was reclassified from ‘assets held for sale’ to ‘continued operations’, resulting in the recognition of an amortisation expense of € 1.5 million.

Subsequent events

Financing

On 10 July 2015, a new € 70 million revolving credit facility was concluded with a consortium of two banks to replace the existing facility, which was due to expire on 31 October 2015. The new facility has a term of three years and is in line with market conditions. No securities were provided for this loan.

Outlook

Expectations are that advertising and circulation revenues will continue to be under pressure in the second half of 2015, and that the effects of cost savings and lower paper prices will not be able to offset the expected decline in revenues.

The organisational interventions associated with the change management processes initiated within the organisation will result in exceptional charges, which will have a clear impact on the expected annual result. Once the required procedures have been completed, the announced reorganisations are expected to lead to a provision of € 22 million for the discharge of affected employees. The reorganisations that have been announced are to result in annual savings of approximately € 10 to € 12 million.

The planned outsourcing of printing orders may result in an impairment of goodwill at the printing plant in Amsterdam to the amount of € 12 million.

The Executive Board expects the 2015 financial year to close with a loss.

Attachment: 2015 Semi-annual Report

The semi-annual figures for 2015 have been prepared in accordance with the IFRS-EU guidelines applicable in 2015. The results are presented on the basis of total operations. In June 2015, Relatieplanet.nl was reclassified from held for sale to continued operations.

Under normal economic conditions, TMG’s business results are subject to seasonal fluctuations. Advertising revenues are higher in the second and fourth quarters of the year than in the remainder of the year. This is due to the public holidays occurring during these periods. The single-copy sales of De Telegraaf and Keesing Media Group’s publications are higher in the third quarter due to the summer holiday period.