“In Q1 2015, the growth of our online classifieds operations continued. I am particularly satisfied to see the good development in significant European markets like France, Spain and Italy. The growth in these operations is both a result of expanding online markets, but not the least great execution by our teams. We are capturing market shares in many areas. One example is the French market for real estate classified listings, where we now gradually start reaping the benefits from our new standalone offering to the real estate brokers,” CEO Rolv Erik Ryssdal says.
“Our classifieds sites in Scandinavia are operating in markets that have reached a higher level of saturation. The performance is therefore more dependent on general market fluctuations. However, we continue to work hard on developing new products and revenue models as well as expanding into new verticals where that is possible,” Rolv Erik Ryssdal says.
“In Q1, we completed the joint venture agreements with Naspers, which laid the foundation for solid market positions and created opportunities for strong future growth in a range of emerging markets. The experience so far from for example Brazil is very positive and we expect a lot from the cooperation with Naspers, Telenor and SPH,” Rolv Erik Ryssdal says.
“The Naspers agreement makes it possible for us to reduce the organic investments in new online classifieds operations significantly compared with last year. Notwithstanding, we will continue to build positions in several exciting early stage markets,” Rolv Erik Ryssdal says.
“Our media houses continue to deliver award winning journalism, and they are building on their strong digital foundation. The online revenues are growing, but the fast decline in print advertising nevertheless results in reduced profitability compared with last year. Our response is digital product development combined with even more focus on cost awareness. Schibsted Growth continues to invest in great entrepreneurs to develop new online services that empower people in their daily lives,” Rolv Erik Ryssdal says.
“A greater part of our product development will happen centrally in order to increase quality and efficiency across our brands. The development of both the underlying infrastructure and data driven products is developing according to plan. We expect to launch new advertising products and products based on our new platforms this year and next year. The roll out of our common identity solution SPiD continues, with Blocket being the latest addition,” Rolv Erik Ryssdal says.
“The establishment of a B share class, which is proposed to the Annual General Meeting will give us a financial tool to capitalize on rapid digital growth initiatives and increased consolidation opportunities in the online classifieds sector,” CEO Rolv Erik Ryssdal says.
Highlights of Q1 2015
(Figures in brackets refer to the corresponding period in 2014.)
- Excluding investments in New Ventures in Online classifieds, the Group EBITDA was NOK 502 million (551 million). EBITDA of NOK 376 million (410 million).
- Online classifieds EBITDA margin of 26 percent (27%), 37 percent (40%) excluding investments in New Ventures
- 20 percent revenue growth and a slight increase in margins in France. Real estate monetization to be gradually ramped up during 2015 as the previous cooperative real estate package expires.
- Revenue growth in Spain on track. Macro indicators continue to show positive signs, and sales growth in InfoJobs accelerated to 33% in Q1. The integration of Milanuncios is progressing as planned.
- Revenue growth in Italy of 46% continues the strong trend from Q4.
- Joint ventures agreement with Naspers in emerging markets closed on 9 January 2015. The agreement with Naspers concerning Hungary and Romania has been completed.
- Continued strong growth in key performance indicators in most markets such as Brazil, Chile and Finland.
- Finn verticals real estate and personal finance perform well, jobs revenues increase while car revenues are flat. Display revenue is soft.
- Continued good traction in Germany for the mobile-only classifieds app Shpock.
- The traffic development is strong in most sites in the portfolio.
- Mixed development in Media houses.
- VG experienced a challenging advertising market in Q1 and the market is evolving. Online advertising has slowed down while print is somewhat better than expected.
- Aftonbladet mobile and WebTV grow in excess of 20%. Continued print decline in advertising and circulation.
- Circulation revenues for subscription newspapers in Norway decline 3%.
- Print advertising decline on the same trend. Continuous work on adapting cost base.
- Steady growth for personal finance services.
Gross operating profit (EBITDA)
Gross operating profit (EBITDA) ex. Investment phase
EBITDA margin ex. Investment phase
Share of profit (loss) of joint ventures and associated companies
Profit (loss) before taxes
Schibsted invites to an analyst and press conference at Apotekergaten 10, Oslo, 8 May 2015 at 09:00 CET. The presentation will be held in English and transmitted live as a video webcast on www.schibsted.com/ir.
A conference call with Q&A linked to the Q1 2015 numbers will take place 8 May 2015 at 14:00 CET. Please dial in at the following numbers:
International: +44(0)20 3427 1915
From Norway: 800 56 053
Conference code: 2330552
Trond Berger, CFO. Tel: +47 916 86 695
Jo Christian Steigedal, VP Investor Relations. Tel: +47 415 08 733
Anders Christian Rønning, Investor Relations Officer. Tel: +47 916 56 660