Semi-annual report 2015
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Report of the
Executive Board

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Company Profile

Telegraaf Media Groep N.V. (TMG) is one of the largest media companies in the Netherlands. Our core activity is creating and marketing content. Our key brands are De Telegraaf, DFT, Telesport, Metro, Autovisie, Privé, VROUW, a number of strong regional dailies (such as Haarlems Dagblad and Noordhollands Dagblad), and Radio Veronica, Classic FM and Sky Radio.

These brands form the heart of the company. Our challenge is to optimally serve the consumer with news and entertainment at any time of the day and via all available forms of distribution. The consumers’ needs are at the core of the choices we make. Because our brands work closely together, we can offer advertisers an attractive cross-media reach.

De Telegraaf is the largest newspaper in the Netherlands. Regionally, TMG operates in the provinces of Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland, Utrecht and Flevoland. The key regional dailies are Noordhollands Dagblad, Haarlems Dagblad, Leidsch Dagblad and De Gooi- en Eemlander. The free daily newspaper Metro primarily targets younger people between the ages of 18 and 35 on their way to work or school. The brands VROUW, Privé and Autovisie are aimed at specific target groups. With our radio broadcasters Sky Radio, Radio Veronica, Classic FM and various digital music stations, we reach some 2.3 million listeners in the 20-49 target age group every day.

TMG also has dozens of other brands and titles focused on providing news, entertainment, e-commerce, supply and demand in the personal consumer market and TV production. TMG provides local and hyper-local news via regional daily newspapers, free local papers (distributed door-to-door) in print and digital form and via the Dichtbij.nl online news platform. TMG has two in-house printing plants. Via Keesing Media Group, one of the largest publishers of puzzle magazines in Europe, we publish puzzle magazines and digital puzzles in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Spain.

Our news and other products position us right at the centre of society. That entails responsibility for the impact of our products and production processes on people and the environment. Our policy in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is focused on sustainable market performance and helps us to increase our positive impact on people and the environment, while minimising our negative impact.

TMG is listed on the NYSE Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange and is part of the SmallCap Index (AScX).

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Consolidated Key Figures

In thousands of euros

 

Period

Period

1/1 - 30/6 2015

1/1 - 30/6 2014

Total income

 

236,942

256,976

Raw and auxiliary materials

 

-15,420

-20,145

Personnel costs

 

-89,158

-92,941

Other operating expenses

 

-113,333

-121,673

EBITDA

 

19,031

22,217

 

 

 

 

Depreciation

 

-4,887

-5,348

Impairment loss tangible assets

 

-6,900

-

Amortisation

 

-10,166

-9,628

Operating result

 

-2,922

7,241

 

 

 

 

EBITDA margin

 

8.0%

8.6%

 

 

 

 

Employees (FTE) at period-end

 

2,122

2,339

The semi-annual figures for 2015 have been prepared in accordance with the IFRS-EU guidelines applicable in 2015. The results are presented on the basis of total operations. In June 2015, Relatieplanet.nl was reclassified from held for sale to continued operations.

Under normal economic conditions, TMG’s business operations are subject to seasonal fluctuations. Advertising revenues are higher in the second and fourth quarters of the year than in the remainder of the year. This is due to the public holidays occurring during these periods. The single-copy sales of De Telegraaf and Keesing Media Group’s publications are higher in the third quarter due to the summer holiday period.

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Key points for the first half of 2015

  • Revenues decreased by € 20.1 million (-7.8%) from € 257.0 million to € 236.9 million;
  • The EBITDA result decreased from € 22.2 million to € 19.0 million during the first half of the year;
  • The liquidity position rose by € 2.8 million compared to 30 June 2014 to € 34.7 million, in spite of substantial restructuring expenditures;
  • An impairment of € 6.9 million was recognised on printing plants due to the planned reduction in printing capacity;
  • The transition is in full swing at virtually all business units;
  • The reorganisations announced should result in annual savings of € 10 to € 12 million.
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Company Performance

Rapidly changing consumer behaviour, the shift to digital media consumption and related media expenditures are having a major influence on the revenues generated by Telegraaf Media Groep’s business activities. Consequently, 2015 is characterised by changes in the organisation, the culture, the market approach and earning models. Change management processes have been initiated in almost all business units, which should lead to sustainable improvements in the result. Although it is a challenging phase with many changes, it is also a period with new opportunities, both within the organisation and in terms of cooperation with external partners.

In the first six months of 2015, Telegraaf Media Groep realised an EBITDA result of € 19.0 million, a decrease of € 3.2 million compared to the same period in 2014 (€ 22.2 million).

Circulation revenues declined by € 3.8 million to € 129.8 million. The number of print subscriptions declined for both national and regional media. The conversion to combined subscriptions (print and digital) continues. The circulation revenues of the Keesing Media Group are rising.

The market continues to change rapidly. The traditional advertising models are under pressure in all markets. TMG's advertising revenues in the first half of 2015 declined by € 13.4 million to € 74.0 million (-15.3%). The decline is evident in all products. National and regional newspapers have been experiencing pressure on advertising revenues for a number of years now. Sky Radio Group suffered from shrinking advertising spend in the radio market.

Although TMG’s digital reach increased across the board, total digital advertising revenues declined. This is primarily due to a significant decrease at Dichtbij.nl. Various development scenarios are being developed for Dichtbij.nl. The digital revenues earned by TMG Landelijke Media increased.

Scenarios have been developed for TMG’s non-title-related online activities. On the basis of the value of different digital propositions and the associated available talent, it was decided to consolidate these activities in a new business unit: TMG Digital B.V. By investing in these business units and through cooperation in relation to clients and themes, benefits can be realised that will significantly improve the combined results of these activities. The company wants to retain its knowledge and talent in this domain and bind it to the company for the long term in order to further expand TMG’s digital position. TMG will look for successful digital initiatives through TMG Digital. In the light of these plans, Relatieplanet.nl will no longer be held for sale and instead will be integrated into TMG Digital. Approximately 115 FTEs are involved in the relevant activities and business units, which currently form part of TMG Landelijke Media. The aim is to have TMG Digital operational by 1 January 2016.

New partnerships were announced in the first half of 2015, to support the strategic focus on the main brands and to reinforce TMG’s position in the digital domain. TMG and Dasym Investment Strategies are working on a strategic partnership to strengthen their positions in various areas, such as their position in Over The Top (OTT) content. In this rapidly growing segment, streaming video services, online TV and digital radio content are distributed across digital channels, independent of the parties responsible for distribution. In addition, new domains will be developed by this partnership, including e-gaming, e-gambling and e-health. At the end of April 2015, the parties agreed on a Letter of Intent.

TMG also entered into a partnership with The Flying Dutch, the most talked-about dance event in the Netherlands, as well as with USG People, in order to more effectively bring together supply and demand on the Dutch job market.

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Employees

For TMG’s employees, 2015 is again a challenging year. Management is aware that the drastic decisions that have been necessary are taking a heavy toll on our people, many of whom have put their heart and soul into the company for years. The large number of change management processes creates uncertainty, but also opportunities. Several programmes are underway to manage talent within the change management processes and to help people develop their competencies and exploit new opportunities.

The total number of employees declined to 2,122 FTEs in the first half of the year. This decline is the result of FTE reductions due to restructuring and the delayed filling of vacancies. The expectation is that this number will further decline in the second half of 2015.

On 30 June, the current Social Plan was extended, with some technical adjustments. The extension applies to reorganisations for which a request for advice is submitted prior to 1 December 2015 and which receive a recommendation prior to 31 December 2015.

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TMG Landelijke Media

TMG Landelijke Media’s key brands comprise De Telegraaf, Metro, Privé, VROUW, DFT, Telesport and Autovisie.

TMG Landelijke Media’s revenues decreased from € 135.2 million to € 125.9 million (-6.9%) in the first half of 2015 in relation to the same period in 2014. This is primarily due to the withdrawal of the title Sp!ts from the market, a decrease in advertising revenues and a decrease in De Telegraaf’s circulation. Due to the cost savings achieved, the EBITDA contribution of TMG Landelijke Media showed a significant improvement.

In the first half of the year, TMG Landelijke Media successfully focused on cost control. Production, transport and distribution costs dropped significantly, due in part to a decline in volume and the price of raw materials, and in part to efficiency measures. Natural turnover and a critical review of whether certain positions needed to be filled led to a reduction in staff in the first half of 2015 compared to the end of December 2014. Significant savings were also achieved for the item temporary personnel.

The sharp focus on cost control has resulted in a drop in all cost types compared to the first half of 2014. A programme focused on heightened cost awareness is expected to result in further cost reductions.

The cross-media cooperation among the various brands and with commercial parties took shape in promotions related to the Tour de France, the partnership with SAIL Amsterdam, the State Lottery, a campaign for Schiphol Airport, a partnership with ABN AMRO focused on the subject of mortgages, and with ALDA at the A Day in the Park music festival.

The market trend of the shift from print to digital media continues unabated. This is resulting in a decline in print subscriptions, as well as single-copy sales throughout the entire market. The number of print subscriptions at De Telegraaf also dropped. The combined subscriptions (print and digital) rose significantly by 41% in comparison to the same period in 2014. The number of exclusively digital subscriptions also rose significantly by almost 34%.

Advertising revenues from print declined in relation to the same period in 2014 and digital advertisements showed an increase.

At Metro, digital advertising revenues rose significantly in comparison to the first half of 2014. Metro is working on innovative ways of optimising its appeal for its specific target group. Metro was present as the event newspaper at The Flying Dutch. In addition, Metro played an active role in the success of the A Day in the Park music festival.

Privé Weekly Magazine’s subscription revenues continued to lag, as did single-copy sales. However, advertising revenues rose. On balance, Privé Weekly Magazine’s results declined.

At Autovisie, subscription revenues declined in the first half of the year, while single-copy sales increased. Advertising revenues also increased. After a successful season last year, the television programme RTL Autovisie was once again added to the programme line-up.

Subscription revenues for VROUW Magazine rose somewhat, while single-copy sales and advertising revenues declined.

The results of digital brands continue to develop favourably, particularly due to the contributions of Groupdeal and Telegraaf Aanbiedingen.

The organisation at TMG Landelijke Media is being adjusted in phases, with a focus on strengthening the brands and the organisation’s versatility. At the same time, investments are being made to improve the quality of the organisation. The introduction of positions with new competencies is designed to accelerate renewal and the required improvements in quality. In addition, investments are being made in training programmes and courses, for example, in the area of management and culture change.

In mid-May, De Telegraaf’s General Editor in Chief left the company. The process for selecting and appointing a new General Editor in Chief, in accordance with the provisions of the Editorial Rules, was successfully completed at the end of July with the appointment of a new General Editor in Chief effective 1 September.

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Holland Media Combinatie

Holland Media Combinatie publishes regional daily newspapers, free local papers (distributed door-to-door) in print and digital form, and the online news platform Dichtbij.nl. The key regional dailies are Noordhollands Dagblad, Haarlems Dagblad, Leidsch Dagblad and De Gooi- en Eemlander.

Holland Media Combinatie’s total revenues declined in the first half of the year from € 58.1 million to € 52.5 million (-9.6%). This decline is primarily due to declining advertising revenues, a trend that is evident throughout the entire market. The decline was most pronounced at Dichtbij.nl. The advertising revenues from the free local papers (distributed door-to-door) also declined, in part due to the termination of nine Sunday titles. The regional daily newspapers fared relatively better. Here too there is a shift from print to digital with respect to advertising revenues. Revenues from the circulation of regional titles are somewhat lower than in the same period last year (-3,2%). Holland Media Combinatie succeeded in slowing the decline and in retaining existing customers better than in previous periods. The inflow of new subscribers is also progressing favourably. In June, an average price increase of 2.2% was implemented for subscribers. Cost controls and organisational adjustments resulted in an important increase in Holland Media Combinatie’s contribution to EBITDA.

Holland Media Combinatie is in the process of completing a reorganisation that had been announced earlier. This reorganisation will focus on strengthening publications in the five core regions. The current organisational adjustment forms part of the phased reorganisation process within Holland Media Combinatie. The first phase was initiated in 2014 and was completed at the end of January 2015. The second phase of the reorganisation is now largely at the stage of implementation.

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Sky Radio Group

Sky Radio Group, with its key brands Sky Radio, Radio Veronica and Classic FM, is one of the largest commercial radio stations in the Netherlands.

At virtually stable costs, Sky Radio Group’s revenues declined by 28.4%. Revenues dropped by € 5.8 million in comparison to the first half of 2014. It should be noted in this regard that, in the first half of 2014, income to the amount of €1.9 million was recognised due to the sale of the intellectual property and the foreign operations of MyRadio.

Advertising spending declined throughout the entire radio market in the first half of 2015. Sky Radio Group's advertising revenues declined in the first half of the year, primarily due to lower listening figures for Radio Veronica and a deterioration in the relative market position of Sky Radio in the radio market.

The total decrease in listening density in the radio market resulted in fewer GRPs, which were sold at a lower price due to increasing competition. To recover listening market share, investments in marketing will be increased over the coming period. In addition, media partnerships and self-organised events are expected to contribute to reinforcing the brands and increasing visibility.

In July, on the last day before its summer recess, the Dutch Parliament adopted a motion calling on the Minister of Economic Affairs to revise his plans and to extend the permits for the use of FM licences, adjusted with regard to ownership provisions and a number of additional stipulations. TMG considers this development encouraging, but realises that the sector has a responsibility to create a sustainable radio market. TMG aims to facilitate the elaboration of this motion in an open dialogue with the Minister.

On 8 January 2015, the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb) issued a ruling in the legal proceedings instituted by Sky Radio Group against the State. The proceedings pertained to the € 20.4 million fee that Sky Radio Group is required to pay for the FM licensing permit over the period 2011-2017 for the qualified A2 Lot (Radio Veronica). CBb ruled in favour of Sky Radio Group. No clarity concerning the consequences of the ruling was obtained in the first half of 2015.

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Keesing Media Group

Keesing Media Group, one of the largest publishers of puzzle magazines and digital puzzles in Europe operates in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Spain.

A marginal increase in revenues was achieved in the first half of the year, in part due to the successful launch of new titles. This success offset the decline in revenues derived from Keesing Media Group’s existing portfolio. Although the number of titles and editions grew, Keesing Media Group managed to achieve a reduction in costs. These higher revenues and lower costs led to a rise in EBITDA.

The cost savings are in part due to the closure of a printing plant in France last year. Improved information systems led to fewer returns. Production efficiency increased due to more extensive automation.

The introduction of new titles that capitalise on the hype of colouring books for adults resulted in a growth in revenues in France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark. Investments in relationships with retailers and in promotions in the retail channel resulted in a growing market share and increased shelf space.

Together with a local partner, a start was made on the sale of products in the UK. A similar partnership will be rolled out in Norway.

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Facilitating Services and IT

Facilitating Services

Declining circulation once again resulted in lower utilisation of the two printing plants. In June, it was announced that all TMG printing operations would be reorganised. The plan is to consolidate the printing capacity in Amsterdam and to close the printing plant in Alkmaar. Part of the printing volume will be outsourced to external parties still to be determined. The reorganisation is necessary due to the rapidly changing use of media. Both readers and advertisers are switching from paper to digital in huge numbers. There has been a large excess capacity in the market for a long time, which continues to increase significantly.

Following the completion of the obligatory employee participation procedure, a restructuring provision will be made in the second half of 2015 for redundancy payments payable to the employees affected. The aim is to complete the reorganisation no later than 31 December 2015.

Declining circulation and deferred maintenance due to the planned scenarios for the printing plants led to lower costs.

The initial effects of the distribution cost saving programmes are becoming evident. Purchasing-related efficiency has also increased, particularly in relation to the purchase of paper, ink and plates. The price of paper dropped in the first half of 2015.

IT

The digital presentation of the brands on tablets, smartphones and computers will be permanently adjusted and renewed.

A lot of hard work is being put into the introduction of an entirely new editorial platform for regional and national titles. This platform will become operational in the third quarter. The platform integrates the editorial activities for print, tablet and web, and as such makes an important contribution to a more efficient and modern editorial process.

Preparations were also made in the first half of 2015 to introduce a new TMG-wide ‘social intranet’ in the second half of the year. All employees will then be able to reach each other anywhere and any time, both via their permanent workplace and via their mobile device. This strengthens mutual communication and relationships, and means that employees will be able to communicate in the same way as consumers who buy our services and products.

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Financial Developments

For the first six months of 2015, Telegraaf Media Groep realised an EBITDA result of € 19.0 million. This is a decrease of € 3.2 million compared to the conparable period in 2014, when the EBITDA result was € 22.2 million. In this respect, it is important to take into account that in the second quarter of last year a one-time benefit of € 1.9 million was recognised due to the sale of the international activities and intellectual property of MyRadio. The income was recognised under Other operating income.

Revenues

In millions of euros

Period

Period

1/1 - 30/6 2015

1/1 - 30/6 2014

Circulation

129.8

133.6

Advertisements

74.0

87.4

Printing for third parties

2.1

1.7

Distribution

8.6

9.1

Other revenues

22.4

25.2

Total

236.9

257.0

Circulation revenues in the first half of 2015 declined by € 3.8 million to € 129.8 million.

For both national and regional media, the number of print subscriptions declined. The conversion to combined subscriptions (digital and print) continued. However, this was not yet enough to prevent a decrease in circulation revenues.

Revenues from the single-copy sales of De Telegraaf and Privé declined by € 1.4 million.

The circulation revenues of Keesing Media Group rose marginally.

Advertising revenues in the first half of 2015 declined by € 13.4 million to € 74.0 million (-15.3%). The decline is evident for virtually all products. National and regional newspapers have been experiencing pressure on advertising revenues for a number of years now.

Sky Radio Group's advertising revenues declined by € 3.4 million, primarily due to Radio Veronica's lower listening figures.

Landelijke Media’s digital advertising revenues increased slightly, while Holland Media Combinatie (Dichtbij.nl) experienced a significant decrease.

Revenues from printing for third parties rose by € 0.4 million due to an increase in commercial printing orders. Revenues from distribution activities for third parties declined by € 0.5 million due to the lower volumes of other newspaper publishers.

Other revenues, including video productions and e-commerce activities, declined by € 0.9 million, excluding the one-time income of MyRadio in 2014.

Expenses

The costs of raw and auxiliary materials declined by € 4.7 million (23.4%). This decline is primarily due to the lower daily newspaper circulation figures and the lower cost of paper (€ 1.2 million). The free daily newspaper Sp!ts was terminated in October 2014. In addition, the volume and the size of newspapers decreased, resulting in lower costs of raw and auxiliary materials.

Personnel costs declined by € 3.8 million. The number of employees declined in the first half of 2015, as a result of which salary costs and social security contributions fell by € 5.7 million. By contrast, a one-time payment of € 1.2 million had to be made to a defined contribution plan. The costs of temporary personnel rose by € 0.7 million to € 7.3 million in the first half of 2015. Personnel costs include wages and salaries, social security contributions, pension premiums and the costs of temporary personnel.

The number of employees fell from 2,339 as at 30 June 2014 to 2,122 as at 30 June 2015, a reduction of 217. The decline in the number of FTEs affected all TMG business units, with the exception of Keesing Media Group. In particular, the staff complement in regional media decreased by 132 employees due to the phased strategic restructuring and the associated personnel reduction initiated in 2014. The trend in the total number of FTEs over the past few years is shown in the chart below:

Other operating expenses in the first half of 2015 declined by € 8.3 million to € 113.3 million. Virtually all cost categories, such as distribution, sales and the sales cost of the iPad promotion, experienced a decrease. Only the cost of outsourced work increased by € 1.2 million. In the first quarter of 2014, part of the print run of the puzzle booklets was still produced in-house. Following the closure of the printing plant in France in 2014, the entire print run is now printed externally.

Depreciation and amortisation expenses amounted to € 15.1 million and as such were virtually the same as in the comparable period last year. In June 2015, Relatieplanet.nl was reclassified from assets and liabilities held for sale to continued operations. As a result, a catch-up amortisation expense to the amount of € 1.5 million was recognised. The depreciation and amortisation expenses are normally lower because of the approaching end of life.

On 25 June 2015, TMG announced its intention to reduce printing capacity. As a result of the planned decision, the valuation of the printing presses has been reduced by € 6.9 million. At year-end 2014, an impairment of € 5.4 million had already been recognised due to the planned decision to reduce printing capacity during 2015.

Financial income and expenses

The financial expenses are primarily related to long-term liabilities, including the FM licensing fees paid for by Sky Radio Group.

In the first half of 2014, Landelijke Media sold its Zoomin TV and Ticketsplus activities. The sale produced a negative result on the sale of a participating interest to the amount of € 4.6 million.

Taxes

The variance between the effective tax burden and the nominal tax burden of 25% is due to the higher tax rates abroad. In 2014, there were non-deductible book losses on sold entities.

Cash position

The net cash flow from operational activities improved by € 4.3 million compared to the first half of 2014.

In the first six months of 2015, investments were made in new software for editorial, circulation and digital initiatives. The Amsterdam printing plant invested in new folding machines.

As at 30 June 2015, the existing credit facility was not drawn down and the company had an amount of € 34.7 million in cash on hand (2014: € 31.9 million).

Financing

On 10 July 2015, a new € 70 million revolving credit facility was concluded with a consortium of two banks to replace the existing facility, which was due to expire on 31 October 2015. The new facility has a term of three years and is in line with market conditions. No securities were provided for this loan.

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Management and Supervision

At the AGM held in April 2015, Mr M.A.M. Boersma was reappointed as a member and Chairman of the Supervisory Board for a period of four years.

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Outlook

Expectations are that advertising and circulation revenues will continue to be under pressure in the second half of 2015, and that the effects of cost savings and lower paper prices will not be able to offset the expected decline in revenues.

The organisational interventions associated with the change management processes initiated within the organisation will result in exceptional charges, which will have a clear impact on the expected annual result. Once the required procedures have been completed, in the second half of 2015, the announced reorganisations are expected to lead to a provision of € 22 million to meet redundancy payments. These reorganisations should result in annual savings of € 10 to € 12 million.

The planned outsourcing of printing orders may result in an impairment of goodwill at the printing plant in Amsterdam to the amount of € 12 million.

The Executive Board expects the 2015 financial year to close with a loss.

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Statement of Responsibility

In compliance with Section 5:25d subsection 2c of the Financial Supervision Act (Wft), the Executive Board declares that to the best of its knowledge:

  1. The 2015 semi-annual accounts reliably reflect the assets, liabilities, financial position and the profit and/or loss of Telegraaf Media Groep N.V. and the companies jointly included in the consolidation; and
  2. The semi-annual report reliably reflects the financial position as at 30 June 2015, Telegraaf Media Groep N.V.’s performance and that of its affiliated companies, whose information has been included in the semi-annual report, during the first half of 2015, as well as the expected trends for the second half of 2015.

Amsterdam, 30 July 2015

Executive Board, Telegraaf Media Groep N.V.

Geert-Jan van der Snoek, CEO

Leo Epskamp, CFO

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