Ekspress Grupp, the leading media group in the Baltics, increased its turnover to 53.5 million euros last year due to the increase in digital revenues and earned a profit of 4.1 million euros, according to the group’s 12-month interim report for the financial year 2021. The Management Board proposes to pay 5-euro cents per share as dividends.
In the 4th quarter of 2021, the revenue of AS Ekspress Grupp increased by 18%, totalling EUR 15.9 million and 12-month revenue increased by 20% to EUR 53.5 million.
According to Mari-Liis Rüütsalu, Chairman of the Management Board of Ekspress Grupp, the growth in sales revenue was mainly due to the active online advertising market, which continued to grow compared to traditional media channels.” Advertising customers have adapted to the economic circumstances and the growth of the advertising business in all countries demonstrates that the majority of companies have been able to digitalise their businesses more; they have opened or adapted their ways of trading to e-channels. Thus, they need increasingly more flexible digital advertising solutions which major news portals can provide well. Of course, in addition to good advertising sales, the growth of digital subscriptions is also contributing the group’s results,” explained Rüütsalu.
The number of the digital subscriptions of AS Ekspress Grupp increased by 62% by the end of December 2021 as compared to the same period last year and reached 135 thousand subscriptions. The Latvian and Lithuanian media outlets demonstrated the strongest growth. “The growth of digital subscriptions is as expected while additional growth is primarily attributable to new customers, demonstrating that the Group’s periodicals address increasingly more those readers who until now have not been subscribers. In addition, the Group has managed to keep its current digital subscribers, lowering the share of digital subscription cancellations, and increasing the average life of digital subscriptions. We are witnessing a decent potential for further growth in Latvia and Lithuania”, said Rüütsalu.
The earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of Ekspress Grupp totalled EUR 3.2 million in the 4th quarter and EUR 8.2 million for the 12-month period which is 14% and 39%, respectively, higher as compared to the same period in 2020. Strong sales of online advertising and digital subscriptions in all Baltic States and continued cost reductions have helped improve profitability. The 12-month net profit totalled EUR 4.13 million which is 61% higher than in the same period last year (12 months 2020: EUR 2.57 million).
In coordination with the Supervisory Board, the Management Board proposes to pay dividends from the net profit of the 2021 financial year to the shareholders in the amount of 5 euro cents per share, in the total amount of EUR 1.51 million, resulting in a dividend rate of 37% (calculated on the net profit from continuing operations) and the dividend yield 3.2%. In autumn 2021, the Supervisory Board of AS Ekspress Grupp approved the Group’s dividend policy pursuant to which Ekspress Grupp will pay at least 30% of its annual profit as dividends starting from 2022.