New Launch Pad for Bonnier

During 2018, Bonnier’s media operations improved their operating profit (EBITA) to SEK 824 million, compared with SEK 625 million the previous year.
Bonnier Fastigheter had yet another strong year, and improved EBITA to SEK 370 million (322). This, together with continued growth in the value of its portfolio, gave the company profit before tax of SEK 1.06 billion (1.58).

Bonnier Group CEO Erik Haegerstrand says:

“The year’s financial results for our media companies show a welcome improvement, but profitability overall is still at a very modest level. But more important than financial results themselves are two decisions that create a platform for Bonnier’s future development:

The first is the sale of Bonnier Broadcasting to Telia, announced in July. The deal gives us a stable financial foundation, making us strong owners over the long term for our existing companies, and creates new room to maneuver financially for investments in future growth.

The second is our decision to restructure Bonnier AB, from a comprehensive media group with business areas, to a business group consisting of companies with greater independence and full focus on – and responsibility for – their own operations. We are convinced that the new structure will make our companies more fleet-footed and more focused on their own markets.

Looking at 2018 in terms of the business areas, there are several individual developments worth highlighting. Broadcasting showed clear improvement, and TV4 had a record year by almost any measure: profits, viewer share or ad sales. Even C More showed marked improvement in profitability.

Within Books, the German-based Bonnier Media Deutschland had yet again very strong results and grew noticeably faster than the market. The digital audio- and e-book service BookBeat grew by 150 percent and passed the 150,000 mark in pay subscribers in Sweden and Finland.

Investment arm Bonnier Ventures had a year with very strong value growth for investments such as podcast platform Acast and VR gaming studio Resolution Games.

Copenhagen-based magazine group Bonnier Publications continued its success with profitable Nordic-wide titles such as Science Illustrated and had strong financial results that few other industry players can match.

Our Swedish magazine operations, however, had a tough year. As a consequence of weak profits and what continues to be a very difficult market, a decision was made during the fall to integrate Magazines & Brands (previously Bonnier Tidskrifter) with Bonnier News. Also, Adlibris had a financially challenging year. Revenues grew by 12 percent, but profits were dragged down by big investments in warehousing and IT, and a weak fall for book sales.

During 2018, Bonnier News succeeded in keeping up its strong growth in digital subscribers. In just a few years, we’ve gone from 50,000 to around 270,000 purely digital subscribers in Sweden. Focus on digital user revenues has been a main strategic focus for News for several years, and with the newly announced acquisition of the Swedish regional newspaper group MittMedia, we come to a next step in this process. This also illustrates something important: Namely, that the organizational change we’re undergoing within Bonnier is a change purely of structure and governance, not of the companies’ strategies towards their markets and consumers. Our media companies’ strategic focus on digital user revenues is not changing.

The integration of Magazines & Brands and the business media and service business area Business to Business with Bonnier News, together with the MittMedia acquisition, makes it even clearer that Bonnier News is the journalistic power center for Bonnier leading forward.

Bonnier Fastigheter yet again had a very strong year, continuing to methodically and far-sightedly develop and expand its portfolio. With acquisitions of two office buildings in Uppsala worth a total of SEK 1.6 billion, the company gained its first footprint outside Stockholm. Continued low levels of debt together with successful operation and satisfied customers creates a very good basis for continued growth.

We expect the sale of Broadcasting to be concluded during the second half of 2019. The deal will provide us with a very stable financial foundation, while pushing us forward in the challenge to improve profitability for all of our other businesses, which is our ambition for 2019.

Looking a little further ahead, we want to return to growth. We are convinced that the sale of Broadcasting together with our restructuring create both the financial and organizational foundation to achieve this.”

Our Companies

Bonnier Fastigheter had yet another strong year. The EBITA improved to SEK 370 million (322), which together with an unrealized increase in value, resulted in profits before tax of SEK 1.06 billion.                                                                                       

During the year, two office buildings in Uppsala were acquired, valued at SEK 1.6 billion, with the company establishing itself for the first time outside Stockholm. It was decided that the real estate prices and rent levels in Uppsala provide good opportunities for positive increases in value, both because of the geographic location with improved transportation connections between both Stockholm and Arlanda Airport, and because of the city’s profile as a strong, knowledge-based economy driven by three universities and a powerful cluster within life sciences.

During the year, two big renovation projects were completed: Magasinet on Sveavägen in downtown Stockholm and the renovation of the printing operations in Akalla in suburban Stockholm, with better use and increased rents as a result.

The Adlibris Group increased its revenues by 12 percent. The EBITA was SEK -125 (31), weighed down by large investments in warehousing and logistics and weak sales in December. Adlibris expanded its product portfolio during the year, in areas such as toys, games, DIY and cooking supplies, and 24 percent of the company’s sales during 2018 came from outside books, an increase of 18 percent over 2017.

Books’ EBITA amounted to SEK 154 million (74) with a significant improvement in cash flow. The book publishing operations altogether had positive growth, driven both by physical and digital growth, although the physical book retailers, primarily in Finland and Norway, had a very weak year.

The group’s biggest book publishing business, Bonnier Media Deutschland, had an extremely strong year, with powerful growth and record profits. The Swedish publishing group Bonnierförlagen had yet another stable year, with results comparable to the previous year’s. In the U.K., Bonnier Books UK led by new CEO Perminder Mann have come quite a ways in turning around the company, after a very weak 2017. In Finland, WSOY performed admirably with market improvement in profitability and after a number of tough years, had profits of SEK 23 million. However Norway’s Cappelen Damm, 50-percent owned by Bonnier, had a weak year in the shrinking Norwegian book market, with significant losses in the bookstore chain Tanum.

During the year, a number of smaller publishing and distribution companies were divested, to make Books more profitable and increase focus on the publishers and on audio- and e-book service BookBeat. During 2018, BookBeat showed a 150 percent increase in paid subscriptions, and at the end of the year was released in the German market.

Broadcasting increased profits by more than 140 percent, with operating profits of SEK 1.02 billion (423). Revenues grew by 10 percent, to SEK 8.25 billion.

Swedish network TV4 had a record year and is now, with operating profits of SEK 1.38 billion (1.02) and an operating margin of 29.2 percent, one of Europe’s most profitable commercial TV companies. Through strong growth in the on-demand service TV4 Play, TV4 continues with its broad reach. Advertising revenues increased both for linear and digital TV, despite the downward market trend.

Streaming-on-demand subscription service C More, with significant increases in its subscriber base and consumer revenues, had strong improvement in financial results compared to 2017: SEK -99 million (-296). Finland’s MTV has, after a number of years with a challenging Finnish TV market, definitely broke the downward trend with financial results of SEK -211 million (-218).

Business to Business, which includes B2B media and B2B digital services, grew during the year propelled by increased digital revenues, with an EBITA of SEK 104 million (131), which corresponds to an operating margin of 9 percent.

Profits were affected by significant investments, including the continued growth of digital educational materials company Clio in the Swedish market and the rollout of the clinical decisionmaking tool Deximed in the German market. The business area’s single biggest business, Denmark’s leading business news daily, Børsen, had a stable year financially.

During the fall, a decision was made to integrate Business to Business with Bonnier News as of Jan. 1, 2019. The reasoning behind the integration is that by gathering all B2B businesses under one roof, greater resources can be mobilized for technology and product development, and therefore for growth.

Magazines, which until the end of 2018 included the Swedish Bonnier Magazines & Brands (previously Bonnier Tidskrifter), the Copenhagen-based Bonnier Publications and Bonnier Corporation in the U.S., had an EBITA of SEK 34 million (168).

Bonnier Corporation started the year with a big reorganization and, despite the U.S. magazine industry’s rapidly diminishing print market, achieved a positive operating profit. Bonnier Corporation continued its diversification with businesses adjacent to its magazine titles. One example is Working Mother Media, which grew with its profitable consulting  business for companies.

Bonnier Publications has a very strong and profitable cross-border model for titles such as Science Illustrated and History, and had operating profitability of over 10 percent. A push for digital reader revenues has been launched, with Science Illustrated first out. The Norwegian subsidiary was shut down during the year and the Norwegian titles will be managed via Denmark from here on in.

Bonnier Magazines & Brands’ business in Sweden had big challenges, with a faster market downturn than expected and a transition to a new subscriber system that had a negative effect on the subscription business. During the fall, a decision was made to integrate Magazines & Brands with Bonnier News as of Jan. 1, 2019. In conjunction with the integration, both the number of staff and the office space will be reduced, resulting in extra structural costs for 2018. This, together with structural costs for shutting down the Norwegian operations and moving offices in the U.S., affects the profits for the business area with additional costs of SEK 100 million.

News had yet another year of revenue growth. The push for digital subscribers continued to give positive results, and the total number of digital subscribers amounted to 270,000 at the end of 2018. The digital growth resulted in an increase of total reader revenues, while total advertising revenues decreased. In December, Expressen launched the Premium pay service, which is expected to further increase digital reader revenues for 2019.

The EBITA fell to SEK 159 million (303), a decrease due to increased paper costs, falling print advertising revenues as well as impairment in the printer operations, but even due to expensive initiatives within editorial content and channels, as well as in distribution in the form of startup print distributors Nim in Southern Sweden and Premo in Stockholm.

From Jan. 1, 2019, Magazines & Brands and Bonnier Business to Business were integrated with News, which now includes the vast majority of Bonnier’s journalism business in Sweden and Eastern Europe.

SF Studios, one of the world’s oldest film companies and celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019, is the leading production and distribution company for film and TV series in the Nordic region. During 2018, it had a marked improvement in profitability with an EBITA of SEK 17 million (-14). The production business had strong growth with productions such as the feature films Britt-Marie Was Here and Lasse-Maja – the First Mystery, as well as the TV productions Alex, The Lawyer and The Hunters. As a step towards further strengthening the production of Nordic content, at the end of 2018 SF Studios bought one of Norway’s leading production companies, Paradox. Consumer services SF Anytime and SF Kids Play showed strong growth, with consumer revenues increasing by 154 percent during the year.

Ventures’ portfolio had another strong year and now has an average internal rate of return (IRR) of 30 percent since its start. In particular, shares in podcast platform Acast and VR gaming studio Resolution Games were particularly positive in terms of increase in value, and both closed out additional funding rounds during the year. Fertility app Natural Cycles took an important step in the U.S. market, getting approval as a form of birth control by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

New investments were made during the year in the virtual real estate agency Blok, design marketplace Pamono, digital funeral agency Lavendla and in Heja, a content and communication platform for sports clubs with a focus on the U.S. market. During the year, gaming company Evoke Gaming (wholly owned) and video network United Screens (minority owned) were divested, which contributed to a positive cash flow for the year for Ventures.

Other consists of group-wide activities and functions. The effect on EBITA for 2018 was SEK -528 million (-397). The structural changes announced in the fall will mean a smaller parent company, which will reduce costs for group-wide functions from 2019 forward.

Businesses within Bonnier AB

Net sales by business area SEK M





6 334

6 274



2 247

2 002



8 253

7 497


SF Studios

1 256

1 389







3 060

3 455


Business to Business

1 202

1 130



5 004

4 890



27 715

27 039



-1 267

-1 299


Bonnier AB total

26 447

25 740


Operating profit (EBITA) by business area SEK M













1 027



SF Studios












Business to Business












Bonnier AB total




Profit SEK M




Net sales

26 447

25 740








-1 423


Net financial items




Profit before tax


-1 635


Earnings after tax


-2 239


 Bonnier Fastigheter


Profit SEK M












Value, properties

12 660

10 090


Net debt

3 558

1 907


For more information:

Erik Haegerstrand, CEO, Bonnier Group, can be reached via Kristina Wiklundh, tel +46 (0)8 736 40 51

David Salsbäck, Director of Communications, tel +46 (0)8 736 40 47

Note: This text is a translation of the Swedish original. In case of any discrepancies between the Swedish text and the English translation, the Swedish text supersedes the translation.