Piet Vroman, CFO DPG Media

Following a cautious start, 2023 ended beautifully

Paper prices were still at a historically high level in 2023. Personnel costs increased by 3 percent as well, and are set to increase further in the year ahead due to new collective agreements. In spite of all this, CFO Piet Vroman (56) looks back on a financially stable year for DPG Media.

DPG Media closed the 2023 financial year with a turnover of €1.8 billion, 2 percent lower than last year. Subscription revenue was virtually stable, coming in at €859 million. For the news media, turnover grew by 1.6 percent, whereas it dropped by 4.8 percent for the magazines.

Advertising revenue came in at €580 million. In the first half of the year, we saw a slight decrease of advertisement expenditure, which increased again in the second half of the year. The radio revenues in particular grew very nicely in the past year. Over 80 percent of the total was accounted for by digital and audiovisual advertisements. Affiliate and classifieds revenues grew considerably, mostly thanks to significant growth at Independer and Automotive MediaVentions. Turnover came in at €140 million last year, representing a growth of 10 percent.

Following a sharp cost increase in 2022, a number of cost items dropped off last year. Paper prices decreased as compared to a peak in the fourth quarter of 2022, putting them under the average for 2022. Having said that, paper prices are still at an all-time high. The total production and purchase costs decreased by €47 million. Personnel costs increased by 3 percent, to €536 million, and are set to increase further in 2024 due to new collective agreements. Depreciation increased to €75 million. In September we’ll also start to apply straight-line depreciation to the newly acquired Dutch radio licenses, over a period of twelve years.

“Radio revenues in particular grew very nicely in the past year”

Piet Vroman
CFO DPG Media Group

After a cautious start to the year, 2023 ended beautifully. Ultimately, EBITDA came in at €360 million last year, a margin of 20.1 percent on turnover. This is a decrease of 1.5 percent. The €360 million breaks down into 61 percent for the Netherlands (€220 million), 37 percent for Belgium (€132 million) and 2 percent for Denmark (€8 million). EBITDA after leasing costs came in at €336 million.

Less financial results (€15 million), corporation taxes (€73 million) and the results of the subsidiaries, the group’s net result came to €197 million, slightly below the €201 million achieved in 2022. Last year, the result from ceased activities amounted to €26 million. This was only €2.3 million this year. The group’s final result for 2023 thus came to €199 million, €2.1 million of which could be attributed to third parties.

Group equity grew to €877 million, or 46 percent of total assets. Free cash flow was affected by the investment in Mediavaert, the new accommodations in Amsterdam. At the end of 2023, a total of €122 million had been invested in this new construction, which will be inaugurated in the second quarter of 2024. In the coming years, rental expenses will decrease by more than €8 million thanks to this investment. There was also an investment in radio licenses in the Netherlands, where an advance payment of €47 million was made for the coming twelve years.

Net financial debt came to €288 million, 0.8 times EBITDA, €284 million of which consists of long-term loans with a fixed interest rate. The proposed takeover of RTL Nederland will obviously cause the debt level to rise in 2024. For this proposed takeover, the group can once again account on its loyal bank group, with which a new credit facility for the coming 5.5 years was agreed.