Interim Financial Statement Per 30.9.2004

Schibsted ASA (SCH) , Published 04/11/2004 16:30:58

At the Board meeting today, the Board of Directors of Schibsted ASA approved the interim financial statement as of September 30, 2004.
Please find enclosed the Interim Report for 3rd Quarter 2004
Information on internet:
  • HUGIN Online:
  • This quarter’s operating profit (EBITA) is the Group’s best ever for a 3rd quarter.
  • Aftonbladet, 20 Minutes and the Group’s Internet activities continue to deliver strong results.
  • The recruitment advertising market is now developing positively and Aftenposten’s results are continuing to improve considerably.
  • VG is producing strong results despite slightly weaker circulation figures.
  • This was a weak quarter for the Group’s TV production activities, while Sandrew Metronome’s and the Schibsted publishing houses’ results were better than those for the same period last year.
  • The Group is maintaining its main strategy and financial targets.
    Q3 2003
    Q3 2004
    NOK million
    As of Sept. 30, 2004
    As of Sept. 30, 2003
    2 031
    2 336
    Operating revenues
    6 930
    6 229
    8 555
    Operating profit (EBITA)
    Profit (loss) before taxes
    EPS (NOK)
    Group result
    The Group’s operating revenues increased by NOK 305 million during the 3rd quarter compared to the same period last year, of which NOK 20 million was due to changes in exchange rates. Although the 3 rd quarter is a seasonally weak quarter, the Group’s operating profit (EBITA) increased by 41 % compared to the same period in 2003, making this the Group’s best 3 rd quarter ever.
    Financial situation
    Income from associated companies amounted to NOK 34 million (NOK 3 million) for the 3 rd quarter. The increase compared to 2003 is due to improved results from the regional newspapers and to 20 Minutes’ transition from an associated company to a subsidiary. During the 3 rd quarter, TV 2 has written down their investment in the radio channel, Kanal 24, by NOK 60 million. This write-down does not affect the Schibsted Group’s results. Schibsted set aside NOK 25 million in the 1st quarter to cover future losses on Kanal 24.
    Net financial items for the 3 rd quarter came to NOK 0 million (NOK -9 million). Since the year-end, the Group’s net interest-bearing debt has risen by NOK 493 million. The Group’s total liquidity reserves comprised approximately NOK 2.7 billion at the end of the 3 rd quarter.
    The Group’s tax expense is 30 %. 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 of 28 %. These differences are primarily related to amortisation of goodwill, income from associated companies and losses in foreign subsidiaries, for which no deferred tax benefit is recognised in the balance sheet.
    In the 3 rd quarter 2004, the Group invested NOK 42 million in tangible and intangible fixed assets and NOK 96 million in shares.
    In connection with employees being given the opportunity to purchase shares at a discounted price, 48,256 shares were sold to the Schibsted Employees’ Share Purchase Fund in the 3 rd quarter of 2004 at a price of NOK 120.50 per share. At the end of the 3 rd quarter, Schibsted ASA has a balance of 1,382,262 own shares. At the end of the 3 rd quarter 2004, the Group’s equity ratio was 38.1 % (40.6 %).
    Future prospects
    Although Aftenposten’s circulation is still less than it was last year, a number of measures which have been implemented in connection with the transition to a tabloid format lead to us being optimistic as to the future.
    The decline in VG’s circulation figures is considered to be short term and a slight improvement is likely during the 4th quarter. Aftonbladet is expected to maintain its strong market position and achieve good results in the future. The market for the Swedish morning newspapers continues to be weak, which will cause further challenges for Svenska Dagbladet.
    The market for 20 Minutes has been good after the summer holidays, and the 4th quarter should be positive for the free newspapers. However, competition will become heavier in the future.
    The Internet activities’ share of the Group’s operating profit (EBITA) will continue to rise and will probably comprise around 20 % for the year as a whole.
    The Group is maintaining its main strategy and financial target figures. Schibsted has focused on new media for a long time and currently holds a strong position in this field. The Group will continue its commitment to new media both via organic growth and acquisitions, and 20 Minutes is now regarded as part of the Group’s core activities. The Group is well positioned for further growth.
    Oslo, 4 November 2004
    The full report with tables can be downloaded from the following link:
    Presentation of 3nd quarter 2004 can be downloaded from the following link: