Today, the meeting of the Board of Directors of Arnoldo Mondadori Editore S.p.A., chaired by Marina Berlusconi, reviewed and approved the Half-Year Financial Report at 30 June 2017, presented by CEO Ernesto Mauri.
HIGHLIGHTS IN 1H17
In 1H17, on a like-for-like consolidation basis with Rizzoli Libri versus 2016, the Group continued on its path of operational improvement, delivering a 9% increase in adjusted EBITDA and paving the way to accomplishing the targets set for the whole 2017.
The LTM cash flow from ordinary operations – the first time it includes Rizzoli Libri for the previous 12 months – amounted to approximately 63 million euro, continuing the positive performance of cash generated by the Group’s businesses which, along with the extraordinary transactions involving the strategic rationalization of the portfolio of activities, improve forecasts on net financial position at year end.
Adjusted EBITDA has little bearing on the performance of the entire year since the negative contribution of Rizzoli Libri (outside the scope in 1Q16) is attributable to the seasonal nature of the Education business, which includes in the first quarter expenses to promote the campaign on school textbooks adoption, while revenue is typically recorded in the second half of the year.
Net profit in the reporting period, amounting to +4.4 million euro, improved by over 8 million euro versus 30 June 2016, due also to the contribution of a number of positive extraordinary items.
GROUP PERFORMANCE AT 30 JUNE 2017
Consolidated revenue in 1H17 amounted to 553 million euro, down slightly (-1.7%) versus 562.5 million euro in the prior year, due mainly to the performance of the Magazines areas, to the temporary effect (recovered in July) of the shift forward of revenue from supplies to a number of clients in the Educational Area, and to the targeted reduction in revenue from consumer electronics products in the Retail Area.
On a like-for-like consolidation basis with Rizzoli Libri (in the second quarter only), adjusted EBITDA grew by 9% (from 26.7 million euro to 29.1 million euro) with a percentage on revenue increasing from 4.7% to 5.3% – especially in the Books (from 9.5 million euro to 13.2 million euro net of Rizzoli Libri’s first quarter) and Magazines Italy areas (+13%).
Including the result of Rizzoli Libri as from 1 January, adjusted EBITDA amounted to 21.6 million euro, as a result of the negative contribution of -7.5 million euro in 1Q17, attributable to the seasonal nature of the education business.
Consolidated EBITDA improved by 21.2% (from 22.5 million euro to 27.3 million euro), driven by the gains from the disposal of certain assets in the second quarter of the year (4.2 million euro from the disposal of a property in Corporate & Shared Services, and 4.3 million euro from the disposal of NaturaBuy in Magazines France).
Consolidated EBIT in 1H17 amounted to 11.2 million euro, up by approximately 33% versus 30 June 2016, and includes amortization, depreciation and impairment of 16 million euro, up versus 14 million euro in 1H16 from the impact of the amortization of Banzai Media intangible assets (1.2 million euro) and the capitalized expenses of the Rizzoli Libri school business (2 million euro, 1.1 million euro of which in the first quarter).
Consolidated profit before taxes came to 4.1 million euro and includes financial costs of 7.1 million euro, down versus the prior year (7.9 million euro) on a like-for-like basis of average net debt, due to the reduction in the average interest rate of approximately 40 bps.
The overall tax burden in the period amounted to +1.6 million euro (-3.1 million euro in 2016), benefiting from the adjustment of 3.8 million euro of deferred taxes of Mondadori France.
At 30 June 2017, Group employees with a fixed-term or permanent labour contract amounted to 3,112 units, down by 8.6% versus 3,404 units at June 2016, as a result of the outsourcing of logistics activities in May, as well as the ongoing restructuring and efficiency improvement measures involving each of the Group’s business areas.
The Group’s net financial position at 30 June 2017 stood at -284.4 million euro, improving by approximately 90 million euro versus -374.8 million euro at 30 June 2016, as a result of the positive cash generation from ordinary operations of 63.2 million euro, the first time it includes the contribution of Rizzoli Libri for 12 months, and extraordinary operations in the last twelve months, which generated 27.3 million euro.
CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS IN 2Q17
In 2Q17, consolidated revenue amounted to 291.9 million euro, down by 5.2% versus 2Q16.
Despite discontinuity from the shift forward of revenue from the Educational Area, Books – on a like-for-like basis for the first time – were basically stable versus 2Q16 (+0.8%).
Adjusted EBITDA grew by 9.5% in the quarter, especially in Books (from 5.4 million euro to 8.6 million euro) and Magazines Italy (+27.8%), confirming the Group’s continued efficiency recovery.
Consolidated EBITDA, including extraordinary items, improved significantly by over 10 million euro (from 14.0 million euro to 25.5 million euro), driven by the positive contribution of the abovementioned gains.
Consolidated net profit, after minority shareholders’ result, came to 13.5 million euro versus a loss of 2 million euro at 30 June 2016.
OUTLOOK FOR THE YEAR
In light of the Group’s performance in the first half of the year, it is reasonable to confirm the previously disclosed estimates for 2017 versus the 2016 pro-forma figures that indicate steady revenue and a “high single-digit” growth of adjusted EBITDA, with a resulting improvement in profit margins and a sharp increase of approximately 30% in net profit.
Also as a result of the extraordinary transaction involving the disposal of an asset in the first six months, net debt at end 2017 is estimated to further reduce versus 31 December 2016, with a net debt/adjusted EBITDA ratio below 2.0x (from the previous forecast between 2.2/2x).
PERFORMANCE OF GROUP BUSINESS AREAS AT 30 JUNE 2017
In 1H17, the Trade Books market grew by +1.3% versus 1H16. Against this backdrop, Mondadori Libri retained its market leadership position with an overall 28.1% share.
In 1H17, the Group held a total of 5 positions in the ranking of the ten best-selling titles in terms of value, with Storie della buonanotte per bambine ribelli. 100 vite di donne straordinarie by F. Cavallo and E. Favilli, in first place, L’arte di essere fragili. Come Leopardi può salvarti la vita by A. D’Avenia (3°), Dentro l’acqua and La ragazza del treno by P. Hawkins (5° and 6°), and Tredici by J. Asher (7°).
Additionally, in July the publisher Einaudi won the 71st edition of the Strega Prize with Le otto montagne by Paolo Cognetti, a remarkable success translated in over 30 countries.
Revenue from the Books Area amounted to 187.9 million euro, up by 10.4% versus 1H16 (170.1 million euro), also as a result of the consolidation of Rizzoli Libri (present only in the second quarter of 2016), despite the publishing plan to schedule the release of best-selling titles mostly in the second half of the year:
- trade revenue grew by 4.3% versus 1H16; the increase is explained by the consolidation of Rizzoli Libri, which contributed 18.2 million euro to revenue in the first half of the year;
- educational revenue improved by 16.3% versus 1H16, driven also by Electa’s performance in museum and publishing activities;
- revenue from distribution activities was up by 27.2% versus 1H16, due to the different consolidation period of Rizzoli Libri.
Adjusted EBITDA of the Books Area came to 5.7 million euro; net of the loss reported in the first quarter by Rizzoli Libri, explained by the typical seasonal nature of the school textbooks business, adjusted EBITDA would amount to 13.2 million euro, up by approximately 39% versus 1H16 (9.5 million euro), as a result of the progress in the integration process and resulting synergies, as well as the positive performance of Electa.
EBITDA amounted to 5.6 million euro (9.1 million euro at 30 June 2016).
In 1H17, the Retail Area achieved revenue of 84.7 million euro, down by 4% versus 88.2 million euro in 1H16, due also to the targeted reduction in revenue from consumer electronics products.
Books were the predominant product category, making for 80% of total revenue of the Area: in 1H17, the product grew by 3.4%, outperforming the relevant market trend.
The result benefited from the directly-managed network and confirms the effectiveness of the actions undertaken in terms of product penetration and assortment.
In the period under review, Mondadori Retail’s market share in books rose to 14.7% from 14.3%.
Non-book revenue was basically steady in the impulse (stationery and toys) and media categories, while, as mentioned, Consumer Electronics continued to fall as targeted (approximately -22% versus 2016).
Adjusted EBITDA came to -3.7 million euro, deteriorating versus -3.1 million euro reported in 1H16, as a result of the structural decline in sales volumes in the book club channel, despite the positive performance of other channels.
EBITDA came to -5 million euro (-3.1 million euro in 1H16), as a result of higher restructuring costs (1.5 million euro).
- MAGAZINES ITALY
In Italy, in a continually adverse market in terms of magazine circulation, the Mondadori Group retained its leadership, increasing its share to reach 31.6%.
In 2Q17, in line with the selective strategy on the development of the product portfolio to sustain revenue and optimize editorial costs, Mondadori launched two new publications, both receiving a warm welcome from the public: the monthly Giallo Zafferano, with an average circulation of approximately 200,000 copies, and the weekly SPY, with average sales of approximately 300,000 copies for the first four issues.
Revenue from the Area amounted to 148.1 million euro, down by 7.9% versus 160.9 million euro in 1H16, due also to the sharp drop in add-on sales. Specifically:
- circulation revenue (newsstands + subscriptions) fell by 8.2%, less than the relevant market trend in both the newsstand and subscription channels;
- advertising revenue (print + web) increased by approximately 7%, driven by the contribution of the consolidation of Banzai Media activities, bringing the percentage of digital revenue on the total to approximately 28%. Gross advertising sales grew by 14.5% in the reporting period; considering print alone, on a like-for-like basis of titles and barter deals, sales fell by -3.9%, outperforming, however, the relevant market trend (-6.1% at May);
- revenue from add-on products, as mentioned, dropped sharply versus 1H16, in line with the market trend (-29.7%);
- distribution and revenue towards third publishers managed by Press-Di dropped at a more moderate pace (-2.2%) than the relevant market, thanks to the ongoing commitment to developing third-publisher portfolios.
In the digital area, the Mondadori Group reached a unique audience of 16.6 million users/month in the first six months of the year versus 8 million/month of May 2016 (+3.5% versus December 2016), retaining its position as Italy’s top traditional publisher also in the digital business, boasting a supremacy in key vertical segments such as women, food, health & wellness.
A position corroborated by comScore surveys, which reported a Group audience of 23.6 million unique users/month at May 2017, steady versus December.
Adjusted EBITDA in the Magazines Italy Area improved by approximately 12.8%, rising from 10.6 million euro to 11.9 million euro, driven mainly by the benefits of the digital business achieved with the combination of Banzai Media and Mondadori’s teams and digital products; print activities reported a steady margin, offsetting the drop triggered by the trend of the markets, as a result of the ongoing optimization actions and containment of editorial and overhead costs.
Digital activities in the period achieved an overall positive adjusted EBITDA (negative in 1H16).
The Area’s reported EBITDA confirmed the growth trend, closing at 11.7 million euro (10 million euro).
- MAGAZINES FRANCE
In 1H17, revenue from Mondadori France amounted to 148.1 million euro, down by 7.6% versus 160.4 million euro in 1H16. Specifically:
- circulation revenue (approximately 74% of the total) lost 4.5% versus 1H16: -7% subscriptions (representing the strongest and steadiest contribution to revenue of the Area with 54%); -5.1% the newsstand channel, outperforming the relevant market trend (-8.1%).
Revenue from the sale of digital copies grew sharply in the first half versus 2016, driven by the new partnerships with a number of French telco players to offer Mondadori France brands to their subscriber base.
- advertising revenue (print + web) fell by an overall 17.4% versus 1H16; print (-13.3%), basically in line with the relevant market, accounted for approximately 86% of total advertising revenue, while digital advertising accounted for the remaining approximately 14%.
In the reporting period, Mondadori France held a 10.6% market share, basically steady versus the prior year, retaining its position as second top player on the magazine advertising market.
The digital readers (web, mobile & tablet) of Mondadori France magazines reached 11.4 million unique users, up by approximately +16% versus the average figure in 1H16.
Adjusted EBITDA came to 12.5 million euro versus 15.5 million euro in 1H16. The drop is mainly attributable to the downturn in advertising revenue generated by the Digital Area, to the increase in rental costs for the offices and deconsolidation since 1 May of NaturaBuy: net of the latter two effects, the decline in business would amount to approximately 1.9 million euro in the first half of the year, mitigating the drop in revenue brought by the lingering weakness of the relevant markets, as a result of the constant attention placed on editorial and overhead cost containment.
Reported EBITDA amounted to 15.7 million euro, up by approximately 10% versus 1H16, driven by the positive contribution of the gain of 4.3 million euro from the disposal of NaturaBuy in May.
SIGNIFICANT EVENTS AFTER THE REPORTING PERIOD
On 26 June, Arnoldo Mondadori Editore launched a share buyback plan, under art. 5 of Regulation (EU) No. 596/2014, in execution of the resolution adopted by the Shareholders’ Meeting held on 27 April 2017, authorizing the purchase and disposal of treasury shares for a maximum amount of up to 0.96% of the share capital, which is intended to provide the Company with the 2.49 million shares needed in the three-year period to meet the obligations under the 2017-2019 Performance Share Plan approved by the Meeting.
On 3 July, the Company announced the purchase, in the period from 26 to 30 June, of 198,098 ordinary shares (equal to 0.076% of the share capital) at an average unit price of Euro 1.6283, for a total amount of Euro 332,566.59.
On 10 July, the Company announced the purchase, in the period from 3 to 7 July, of a further 38,902 ordinary shares (equal to 0.015% of the share capital) at an average unit price of Euro 1.5906, for a total amount of Euro 61,876.25.
On 17 July, the Company announced the purchase, in the period from 10 to 14 July, of a further 25,000 ordinary shares (equal to 0.010% of the share capital) at an average unit price of Euro 1.6694, for a total amount of Euro 41,734.50.
On 24 July, the Company announced the purchase, in the period from 17 to 21 July, of a further 29,500 ordinary shares (equal to 0.0113% of the share capital) at an average unit price of Euro 1.7062, for a total amount of Euro 50,331.45.
Following the purchases made so far, Arnoldo Mondadori Editore S.p.A. holds 371,500 treasury shares, equal to 0.1421% of the share capital (including the approximately 80,000 shares purchased in the period from 30 November to 2 December 2016, as disclosed to the market on 6 December 2016).
* * *
Definition with RCS MediaGroup S.p.A. of the relations regarding the purchase agreement of RCS Libri S.p.A. and the price adjustment
Regarding the agreement on the acquisition of RCS Libri S.p.A., completed on 14 April 2016, Arnoldo Mondadori Editore S.p.A. announces that it has reached an agreement with RCS MediaGroup S.p.A. on a price adjustment, contained in the purchase agreement, based on the achievement of RCS Libri S.p.A.’s financial targets for 2015, amounting to approximately 2 million euro in favour of Arnoldo Mondadori Editore S.p.A.. As a result, given the above price adjustment, the overall purchase price for RCS Libri S.p.A. amounts to 125.1 million euro. The agreement still provides for an earn-out of up to 2.5 million euro in favour of RCS MediaGroup S.p.A., based on the achievement in 2017 of specific results in the Books Area of the Mondadori Group, as previously disclosed. As part of these understandings, the parties have also defined all the mutual relations under the above purchase agreement.
* * *
The documentation relating to the presentation of the results at 30 June 2017, will be made available through the authorized storage mechanism 1Info (www.1info.it) and in the Investors section of the Company’s website www.gruppomondadori.it.
* * *
The Executive Manager responsible for the drafting of the corporate accounting documentation – Oddone Pozzi – hereby declares, pursuant to Art. 154 bis, par. 2, of the Finance Consolidation Act, that the accounting documentation contained in this press release corresponds to the Company’s accounting entries, books and results.
Annexes (see attached pdf):
- Consolidated balance sheet
- Consolidated income statement
- Consolidated income statement – second quarter
- Group cash flow
- Glossary of terms and alternative performance measures used
 The results at 30 June 2017 include the contribution of Rizzoli Libri, which was outside the scope of consolidation in 1Q16, and Banzai Media activities, consolidated as from 1 June 2016 and merged by incorporation into the parent company, with accounting effects as from 1 January 2017.
 Net of Rizzoli Libri in 1Q17
 Pro-forma figures: consolidation of the companies acquired (Rizzoli Libri and Banzai Media) assumed as from 1 January 2016; revenue of approximately 1,280 million euro and adjusted EBITDA of approximately 100 million euro.
 Source: GFK, June 2017 (figures in terms of market value).
 Store revenue.
 Internal source: Press-Di, cumulative figures at May 2017 (newsstands + subscriptions in terms of value).
 Internal source, figure at May 2017.
 Drop in copies sold in the Newsstand/Large Retailer channel, 8% for dailies and 7% for magazines (source: ADS, figures in terms of copies, May).
 Source: Audiweb, at May 2017.
 Internal source Mondadori France, figure at April 2017.
 Source: Kantar Media, cumulative figures in terms of volume at May 2017
 Source: Nielsen, average figure January-April 2017