Significantly improved profit for Bonnier
Both operating profit and investment values increased in 2021. The EBITA improved by more than SEK 500 million and investments gained in value by SEK 1.7 billion. Operating cash flow amounted to SEK 1.5 billion. The Group’s net cash position at the end of the year came to SEK 3.3 billion, excluding the accounting liability for leased premises.
In the words of Bonnier Group’s CEO, Stina Andersson:
“2021 was an exceptional year and overall the results were among the best in Bonnier’s history. Several companies have posted their best ever results, confirming our strategic direction of giving our companies independence. The investments held by both Bonnier Fastigheter and our investment portfolio are performing very well.”
BONNIER BOOKS reported a record year in 2021. Sales amounted to SEK 6.9 (6.1) billion, the increase being due to sharp growth in both the publishing division and the audio and e-book service BookBeat. This year’s strong results were mainly attributable to the publishing business as a whole, which achieved its most profitable year ever, in both absolute and relative terms, resulting in total EBITA for Bonnier Books of SEK 573 (392) million, despite significant continued investments in BookBeat and losses from book stores.
In 2021, all the publishing operations gained market shares in their respective markets and substantially increased their profitability levels, as we are also seeing in 2022. As in recent years, sales of digital formats continued to grow, but the year was above all marked by a strong rise in sales of physical books, a trend driven by the children’s literature segment. The success of children’s books was most apparent in Germany, and was one of the main reasons for the German publishing group’s record-breaking results this year, as it achieved its highest ever sales and profits for the second year in a row. The UK business also reported a strong sales and profit performance in a market where more books were being sold and at a higher price than for the past ten years. The business was further strengthened during the year by the acquisition of the Scottish publisher Black & White Publishing. In Finland, Werner Söderström continued its successful development, as it too achieved record results, thanks largely to increased digital revenues. The Swedish entity Bonnierförlagen also performed better than last year in terms of sales and profits, topping the bestseller lists in every genre in 2021. The Danish publishers continued to grow according to plan, signing up several major authors over the year with an eye to the future.
BookBeat continued to grow strongly and had sales of SEK 690 (508) million. The number of users of the service rose by 38 percent and last year it was expanded to Norway, Switzerland and Austria.
The figures for physical retail, represented by Akademiska Bokhandeln in Finland and Pocketshop in Sweden, were impressive, as results improved considerably on the previous year despite restrictions that reduced footfall in stores.
In Norway, the 50 percent-owned publishing house Cappelen Damm was sold during the year and Strawberry Publishing (now Bonnier Norsk Forlag) was acquired.
BONNIER NEWS had a very strong 2021, driven by revenue growth and margin improvements. Sales amounted to SEK 8.2 (7.7) billion, including a SEK 300 million organic increase. The increase stemmed from sharp growth in digital subscriptions and strong advertising sales. The EBITA totaled SEK 988 (647) million, Bonnier News’s highest ever profits, equal to a 12 percent EBITA margin.
Reader revenue grew by 3 percent, as a result of the continued strong performance of the digital subscription business, which gained 21 percent. The advertising business developed well in a number of areas, recovering from the challenging advertising environment that prevailed during most of 2020, and growing by a total of 8 percent year on year. The Coronavirus pandemic continued to have a negative impact on the event and training business, but revenues recovered somewhat, growing by 11%.
A common organization for Bonnier News’s reader-based operations was set up at the end of the year. The new organization is made up of cross-functional teams working together across Bonnier News’s various business areas.
Printing and distribution costs decreased by 9 percent, mainly due to efficiency gains in the distribution chain, the inclusion of parcel deliveries in newspaper distribution and reduced print runs.
There were a number of restructuring operations in the Bonnier News Local business area during the year, and the new Bonnier News Business business area was created through the merging of Di Group and Bonnier B2B.
BONNIER FASTIGHETER ddelivered stable results for the year 2021. Revenue fell to SEK 676 (740) million, with an EBITA of SEK 435 (506) million. The decrease is connected with the completion of a property sale at the end of 2020.
Positive changes in the value of properties amounted to SEK 1,243 (679) million, of which SEK 2 (219) million was realized.
The market value of the properties was estimated at SEK 15 billion at year-end. Bonnier Fastigheter’s financial position remained strong, with a loan-to-value ratio of 24 (21) percent.
Bonnier Fastigheter is continuing to grow both through acquisitions and its own project development. The Tobaksmonopolet 4 property was acquired during the year.
Bonnier Fastigheter is planning several projects in Värtahamnen. The detailed development plan has been approved by the municipality and a land development agreement has been signed.
The new construction project, Munin NXT, in Uppsala, is moving ahead according to plan.
The joint venture Hemmaplan has acquired 50 percent of Rosengård Centrum in Malmö.
Bonnier Fastigheter Invest has acquired an interest of approximately 14 percent in Eastnine AB, which owns and manages office properties in Estonia and Lithuania.
The joint venture HållBo AB’s operations are developing according to plan. A further residential property was acquired during the year.
Bonnier Fastigheter completed its first green bond issue in May 2021, issuing SEK 1 billion of debt maturing in 5 years.
SF STUDIOS was severely affected by the pandemic for the second year running, which had an impact on its results. Its EBITA amounted to SEK -54 (20) million. The business was hit hard by restrictions linked to cinemas for a large part of the year, which significantly affected the ability to release films. The main titles distributed during the year were Bond No Time to Die, Margreta den första and Spiderman No Way Home.
The business as a whole is changing, with demand for content, particularly from streamers, increasing significantly in recent years, as the traditional distribution business has been transformed. For SF Studios, this means great opportunities as a content producer, but also a changed distribution business. In 2021, SF Studios have made some structural changes to the operations in response to the fast-moving digital environment and changing customer behaviors.
The production business was very active and the collaboration with Netflix was expanded in Sweden, Norway and Denmark in the course of the year, while the collaboration with new partners such as Discovery+ continued. New rights agreements related to library titles were signed during the year. Some of the strong titles produced in 2021, despite the challenges and adjustments arising from the pandemic, include Bränn alla min brev, Lasse-Majas Detektivbyrå – Skorpionens hemlighet, Solsidan 7 and Badehotellet 9 in Denmark. Pre-production of the American version of A Man Called Ove began during the year, with filming scheduled for 2022. Part-owned FLX had its best year to date, mainly because of the large demand for TV and streaming productions.
ADLIBRIS GROUP’s profitability continued to improve in 2021. Sales totaled SEK 2.8 billion, which is an increase of 3 percent compared with the previous year. Adlibris’s book sales to companies and public authorities increased thanks to contracts won in the Swedish market. Demand for used course literature via Campusbokhandeln rose over the year and Mediafy’s sales of digital gift cards through Morot & Co grew sharply. Sales of garden products via Odla also increased. The high level of sales in Adlibris’s B2C business from 2020, as a result of the pandemic, gradually fell in 2021, being mainly due to the changing purchasing habits of private customers.
The EBITA for the year amounted to SEK 72 million, an improvement of SEK 22 million compared with 2020. In addition to increased sales, this was largely because of higher margins, the continued optimization of the logistics chain from purchase to delivery, and the contribution from Campusbokhandeln, which was acquired in 2020. In 2021, Adlibris Group made investments related to the Adlibris brand in Sweden, Norway and Finland.
BONNIER PUBLICATIONS reported EBITA of SEK 120 million. This is a major improvement on last year’s earnings of SEK 86 million. The reasons for the 40 percent rise in earnings include growth in digital advertising and subscriptions, and costs savings from the merger between Benjamin Media and Bonnier Publications. Digital subscriptions for I Form were launched during the year. Bonnier Publications’ four largest brands have introduced paywalls as part of their digital transformation.
Despite increased digital revenues, total sales fell due to a continued fall in print media sales. Sales amounted to SEK 1.0 (1.1) billion.
BONNIER VENTURES focuses on direct investments in fast-growing companies in emerging industries. These companies have a large presence in the Nordic region and an ambition to grow globally. The holdings in these companies were valued at SEK 1.4 million at the end of 2021. Since the start, in 2014, the investments have seen an average increase in value of 27 percent per year before management costs, and 24 percent after management costs.
In 2021, Bonnier Ventures invested SEK 59 million in existing portfolio companies, primarily All Ears and Resolution Games. Eight new investments, totaling SEK 100 million, were also made.
The reduction of central function costs continued.
Parts of the Bonnier Corporation business, the Working Mother consulting and event business, and certain titles in Florida, were divested over the year.
Capital gains on disposals contributed SEK 0.9 billion.
Investment revaluations came to SEK 1.7 billion.
The operating cash flow for 2021 totaled SEK 1.5 billion.
Net debt amounted to SEK 1.8 (0) billion and included the accounting liability for leased premises of SEK 1.5 billion.
For more information:
Stina Andersson, CEO, Bonnier Group, tel. +46 (0)8 736 40 51
|Net Sales by Company SEK M||2021||2020|
|Other and eliminations||181||406|
|Bonnier Group total||21,393||20,771|
|Operating Profit (EBITA) by Company SEK M||2021||2020|
|Other and eliminations||-68||-234|
|Bonnier Group total||1,979||1,432|
|Financial Results, Bonnier Group SEK M||2021||2020|
|Net financial results||1,735||1,240|
|Financial results before tax||5,608||3,565|
|Year-end financial results||4,815||3,338|
|Balance Sheet, Bonnier Group SEK M||2021||2020|
|Buildings and property||17,061||15,444|
|Tangible and intangible fixed assets||1,274||1,342|
|Film and program rights||397||389|
|Shareholder equity including minority holdings||25,403||20,640|
|Financing of operating capital||23,554||20,673|
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.
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