Profit warning second half year 2001, Published 11/10/2001 11:48:21

Schibsted has lately, and especially after 11 September, seen a negative development in the Norwegian advertising market. For Aftenposten, this is especially seen by a weak market for recruitment advertising, which has fallen by 10% per September 2001 against 2000, and 30% for the third quarter against the same period last year. The volume on real estate property advertising has stayed at a very high level, but is now easing somewhat. The real estate property advertising is per September 11% above the same period last year, but is not compensating the weakness in the recruitment advertising due to lower margins on real estate property advertising. For VG, the development on advertising is expected to be positive also for the second half year 2001, but with a weaker growth rate than for the first half year and with higher uncertainty.

Due to the weak development on advertising Aftenposten (the Group) is expected to report an operating profit of around NOK 50 million for 2001 (around NOK 0 including Avis1), against NOK 144 million (100 million including Avis1) in 2000. Expected operating result second half year is NOK -70 million (NOK – 100 million including Avis1), against NOK 44 million same period last year. The figures do not include restructuring costs related to the productivity and profitability program.

In Sweden, the advertising market, and especially classified advertising, has been weak through 2001, and there are no signs of recovery in the short term. For Svenska Dagbladet, advertising revenues are expected to be 20% lower in the second half year 2001, against the corresponding period last year, and the development is expected to be in line with the Swedish advertising market for morning papers. For Aftonbladet, the advertising revenues are weaker than last year, especially on internet advertising. However, advertising revenues for the printed newspaper has fallen less than for the market in general.

For Svenska Dagbladet, the operating result is expected to be around NOK -130 million for 2001, against NOK -94 million last year. An operating result of NOK -85 million is expected for the second half year, against NOK -98 million the same period last year. The figures do not include restructuring costs related to the productivity and profitability program.

For both VG and Aftonbladet the development on circulation is still positive. VG maintains and strengthens its market position and Aftonbladet has during the last months taken considerable market shares. Svenska Dagbladet has per September shown a positive development in the total circulation, compared to last year. However, the increase in circulation is not large enough to compensate for the negative development on advertising for Aftenposten and Svenska Dagbladet.