Vocento recovers the profitability of 2019 and tackles a strategic plan until 2026

Updated: 02/28/2022 18:49h
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With a net profit of 13.6 million euros on an EBITDA of 45 million, Vocento's total operating income in 2021 was 352 million euros, which represents a 3.2% increase over the 341.3 million euros euros invoiced in 2020. Operating expenses without amortization were 307.3 million euros compared to 319.6 million euros in 2020 and 352.2 million euros in 2019. With these ratios, Vocento exceeds the 2019 EBITDA target ( 42 million), recovering pre-pandemic profitability, and facing a Strategic Plan with a 2022-2026 horizon.

The sales of copies decreased in 2021 by 3.7% compared to the fall of 9.1% during the previous year. However, the readership margin (margin from the sale of copies and digital subscriptions) increased both with respect to 2020 and 2019, supported by the margin from digital subscriptions.

In this context, the number of paying digital subscribers grew by 43% in the year, to 89,000, contributing to the digital margin. The goal of 100,000 total digital subscribers by 2021 is exceeded with the 103,000 achieved.

Revenue from advertising sales amounted to 147.9 million euros, which represents an increase of 4.8% compared to 2020. Considering revenue from digital advertising and e-commerce accounted for within other revenue, the weight of digital over the total reached 49.6%, with an increase of 3.8 percentage points over 2020.

According to their local or national origin, the increase in 2021 compared to 2020 has been 4.5% and 4.3%, respectively, highlighting the increases in digital with 21.2% in local and 11% in national. The comparison with respect to 2020 and 2019 reflects a quarterly recovery in 2021 until reaching pre-pandemic level Local advertising in 4Q21. In net advertising, local billing was 75.5 million euros, 52.9% of the total, 73.1% corresponding to offline and 26.9% to online. In Nacional, on the other hand, 77.8% corresponds to online advertising and 22.2% to offline, out of a turnover of 67.2 million euros, which represents 47.1% of the total.

With a positive net profit of 13.6 million euros (an improvement of 35.3 million compared to 2020), the 2021 EBITDA stands at 45.03 million euros, exceeding the objective set by the Group of recovering the profitability of 2019 The reported EBITDA increases by 23.3 million euros over 2020 and also registers an increase of 10.6 million over the EBITDA of the same year, adjusted for the compensation made that year.

In this recovery scenario, in 2021 the results of all Vocento's activity areas improve, while by concept the most relevant improvements are those of digital advertising and the margin of readers. And although personnel spending decreased by 5% compared to 2020, it increased by 4.0 million euros due to the incidence of the two ERTES in 2020 and their progressive payment until the salary reductions agreed in 2021.

It should be noted that Vocento's digital revenues grew by 18% compared to 2020 and 10.1% compared to 2019, and revenues from diversification grew by 85.4% compared to 2020.

Among the objectives set out in the 2022-2026 strategic plan, the following stand out: i) maintain the margin of readers in the medium term at the levels of 2019 and expand digital paying subscribers to 250,000; ii) achieve that in 2026 the weight of digital and diversification income of the total group exceeds 60%; and iii) generating positive ordinary cash on average in excess of 20 million euros per year.

With a consolidated balance sheet of 432.7 million euros at the end of the year, Vocento -thanks to the measures aimed at strengthening its financial position- has generated cash of 32.5 million euros compared to 12.9 million euros during fiscal year 2020, with an EBITDA conversion ratio of 72%.

As for the financial position of net debt, -excluding that accounted for rents- at the end of 2021, it stands at -1.7 million euros compared to -46.6 million euros in 2020. Net Financial Debt/EBITDA stands at 0.04x, compared to December 2020, of 1.5x.

The divestments of the properties of El Diario Vasco and 45% of Izen represent a reduction in net debt of 24.6 million euros. And the low leverage provides the Group with ample capacity to carry out new investments, both organic and inorganic.

Results by business areas

In Newspapers, operating income stands at 280 million euros, 1.3% more than in 2020. The EBITDA of the area amounts to 39.3 million euros, with an increase of 43.3% compared to 2020 .

The evolution of profitability compared to 2020 of the Regionals is positively affected by the increase in advertising revenue (+3.2 million euros), by the improvement in the readership margin as a whole (+527 thousand euros), and due to the recovery of the printing and distribution margin, which increased by 404 thousand euros, placing the EBITDA in 2021 at 28.7 million euros.

For its part, ABC's EBITDA in 2021 amounts to 8.6 million euros, compared to 3.4 million in 2020. This increase is supported by the growth of both advertising and the readership margin, which are offset by You grow the worst evolution of printing activity.

The EBITDA of Supplements and Magazines amounts to 1.9 million euros, 54.7% more than in the 2020 financial year. These results are supported by the development of projects such as WomenNow or Turium, and the evolution that Mujerhoy has experienced in recent years. years, thanks to a transformation to digital, with the improvement of content and a commitment to new digital products, such as newsletters, podcasts or digital seminars.

In Audiovisual, operating income during 2021 reached 28.9 million euros compared to 31.18 million in 2020, highlighting the lower activity in Content distribution. EBITDA stands at 9.3 million euros, the same level as that obtained in 2020.

Following the lines of action for the divestment of non-strategic assets, Vocento has closed in January 2022 the agreement with Squirrel Media announced at the end of 2021, and which includes the sale of the entire stake in national DTT and in Content. With this, the Audiovisual area is reduced to the presence in Radio, embodied in the agreement with COPE, and some minor local television licenses.

In Classifieds, operating income amounted to 24.7 million euros, 8.4% more than in 2020. In real estate, turnover exceeds the level of 2019, while the motor area continues to be affected by the shortage of stock of second-hand vehicles, which is in turn a consequence of the lack of supply of semiconductors and the sharp drop in the sale of new vehicles. As for EBITDA, the 5.1 million euros estimated in 2021 represent an increase of 4.9% compared to the 2020 financial year and are close to 6 million in 2019.

In Gastronomy and Agencies, operating income reached 23.2 million euros, 51% more than in 2020. EBITDA in 2021 was 3.0 million euros, 61% more than in 2020, affected by holding fewer events compared to the same period of the previous year.

In the Gastronomy division, after the face-to-face celebration of the MadridFusión and Gastronomika San Sebastián congresses, revenues in 2021 grew by 4.5 million euros and profitability by 1.0 million euros over the same period last year. During 2021, new gastronomic events have been developed that will be recurring in the future (as in the case of FéminAs in Asturias or Worldcanic in the Canary Islands). In addition, approval has been received from ANECA (Autonomous Body attached to the Ministry of Universities) for the Training project with the Comillas Pontifical University.

In Agencies and Others, the activity gradually recovers, and widely exceeds 2020 in revenue and EBITDA. During 2021 it has continued with its diversification in the portfolio of clients and services, with a greater weight of digital.

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