Interim Financial Statement per 30.6.2004

Schibsted ASA (SCH) , Published 12/08/2004 16:29:11

At the Board meeting today, the Board of Directors of Schibsted ASA approved the interim financial statement as of June 30, 2004.
Please find enclosed the Interim Report for 2nd Quarter 2004
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    (Figures in parentheses refer to the corresponding period in 2003.)
    Financial situation
    Schibsted’s operating revenues for the 2nd quarter 2004 amounted to NOK 2,324 million, an increase of NOK 155 million compared to the corresponding period in 2003. Adjusted for exchange-rate changes, mainly related to SEK, the increase in revenues is NOK 120 million. Aftonbladet and 20 Minutes are the main contributors to this increase, while TV/Film’s revenues declined. The strike which affected the newspapers in May resulted in a fall in revenue of approximately NOK 80 million.
    The operating profit (EBITA) for the 2nd quarter amounted to NOK 270 million (NOK 288 million).
    Income from associated companies during the 2nd quarter amounted to NOK 71 million (NOK 27 million). The increase compared to the corresponding period in 2003 is due to a gain of NOK 48 million on the sale of BiljettDirekt Ticnet in May, improved regional newspaper results and 20 Minutes’ transition from an associated company to a subsidiary. 20 Minutes became a Group subsidiary on 1 March 2004. Its results for January and February are included in income from associated companies.
    Net financial items for the 2nd quarter amounted to NOK -16 million (NOK -6 million). Since the year-end, the Group’s net interest-bearing debt has increased by NOK 0.5 billion to NOK 1.3 billion, mainly as a result of the acquisition of 20 Minutes and the distribution of dividends in May. The Group’s total liquidity reserves comprised approximately NOK 1.8 billion at the end of the 2nd quarter. The Group has entered into a new syndicated multi-currency revolving credit facility with a total borrowing limit of EUR 250 million. This facility is available as from 31 July 2004 and replaces the company’s current facility of USD 180 million. This increases the Group’s liquidity reserve by NOK 860 million to approximately NOK 2.7 billion.
    Schibsted posted operating revenues for the 1st half-year of NOK 4.6 billion (NOK 4.2 billion) and an operating profit (EBITA) of NOK 452 million (NOK 466 million). The profit before taxes amounted to NOK 344 million (NOK 420 million). Taxes during the 2nd quarter came to NOK 103 million (NOK 130 million). As a result of differences between the accounting result and the tax base, the Group’s tax expenses may deviate from the nominal tax rate in Norway (28%). These differences are primarily related to amortization of goodwill, income from associated companies and losses in foreign subsidiaries, for which no deferred tax benefit is recognized in the balance sheet. The earnings per share and diluted earnings per share were both NOK 3.00 (NOK 4.05).
    In the 2nd quarter, the Group invested NOK 42 million in intangible and tangible fixed assets and NOK 141 million in shares. Through its subsidiaries Aftenposten and Schibsted Multimedia, Schibsted aquired 100% of the company Retriever AB for a total amount of SEK 48 million. Aftonbladet and FINN aquired shares in Byt Bil Nordic AB in June for SEK 27.6 million. The Group now has a 92% stake in Byt Bil Nordic AB. During the 2nd quarter, 20 Min Holding exercised an option to acquire approximately 30% of the shares in Multiprensa Holding SL, which is the parent company of the Spanish 20 minutes operation. This involved an investment of approximately EUR 7.8 million.
    In accordance with the authorisation granted by the Annual General Meeting, Schibsted ASA has repurchased 1 430 518 shares. At the end of the 2nd quarter, the Group’s equity ratio was 36.6% (39.7%).
    Future prospects
    The 3rd quarter is usually a seasonally weak quarter for the subscription newspapers and 20 Minutes due to the holiday period. 20 Minutes is expected to continue growing and new launches will take place in further cities in France during the 3rd quarter.
    Aftenposten is expected to develop positively due to its transition to the tabloid format and a slightly improved market for recruitment advertising. The tabloid newspapers are expected to continue to deliver strong results.
    The Internet newspapers and Schibsted’s Internet positions have experienced a sharp rise in advertising revenues during the 1st half-year compared to the corresponding period last year. This trend is expected to continue. However, competition is expected to increase.
    TV, Film & Publishing had a weak 2nd quarter but is expected to improve its results during the 2nd half-year.
    The Group is in a good position for further growth in accordance with the Group’s strategy.
    Oslo, 12 August 2004
    The full report with tables can be downloaded from the following link:
    Presentation of 2nd quarter 2004 can be downloaded from the following link: