To what extent did rising costs affect DPG Media’s 2022 bottom line? CFO Piet Vroman, 55, explains the figures and takes stock.
In 2022, the Board of Directors of DPG Media decided to prepare the group’s consolidated financial statements in accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) going forward. As part of this transition, the 2021 figures were also adjusted to fit the new framework. This has led to a lot of changes, the most important of which are:
Consolidated goodwill will no longer be amortised on a linear basis, but instead be subjected to an annual impairment test. This will eliminate more than €100 million of amortisation annually.
Joint ventures will no longer be consolidated proportionally, but only for their share of net income. This affects the consolidation of Streamz and RTL Belgium.
Leases are now recorded on the balance sheet and subsequently amortised. This increases EBITDA and the balance sheet total.
“Paper prices rose to record levels in 2022 and the tight labour market made itself felt”
DPG Media closed the 2022 financial year with a revenue of €1.83 billion, approximately the same as last year. Subscription revenue experienced some resistance, coming in at €866 million. Advertising revenue performed better, growing to €612 million, while affiliate and classifieds revenues remained fairly stable at €127 million.
However, the financial year was mainly characterised by a sharp rise in costs, especially in Publishing. Paper prices rose to record levels last year, partly as a result of high energy costs. Despite declining consumption, this had a negative impact of over €25 million for the group. The tight labour market in particular made itself felt in the Dutch distribution network, which saw cost increases, while in Belgium automatic wage indexation led to higher personnel costs. These cost developments are expected to weigh even more heavily on the income statement in 2023.
Ultimately, EBITDA came in at €365 million last year, a decrease of approximately 8 percent compared to 2021. After deducting leasing costs, €342 million remains.
Less financial results, taxes and the results of the subsidiaries, the group’s net result came to €200.9 million, a decrease of 4.7 percent.
Like last year, significant results were achieved through the sale of discontinued operations. In 2021, the sale of Mobile Vikings led to a result of €118 million. Last year, the sale of Aldipress contributed €26 million.
The group’s final result for 2022 thus came to €226.7 million.
Group equity grew to €761 million, or 43 percent of total assets. Free cash flow was affected by movements in working capital, but mainly by the investment in Mediavaert, the new building in Amsterdam, and the acquisition of a 50 percent share in RTL Belgium. Net financial debt came to €314 million, €286 million of which consists of long-term loans with a fixed interest rate. This means that the European Central Bank’s interest rate hikes have little impact on our current debt levels.