Bonnier delivers improved profit

The operating profit of Bonnier’s companies improved by 35 percent compared to the previous year. EBITA amounts to SEK
1,537 million (1,141). Excluding Bonnier Broadcasting, which was divested on December 2, EBITA amounts to SEK 402 million (114), an improvement by approximately 250 percent. All of Bonnier’s companies apart from one improved their profit.

Bonnier Books increases its revenue to SEK 5.8 billion (5.5) in 2019, which is primarily characterized by an improved EBITA of SEK 250 million (148) and a maintained strong cash flow, despite investments in growth and a declining market for physical book retail in the Nordic countries.

The publishing businesses in Germany deliver, without the presence of any real best-­sellers, its highest revenue and best result in ten years. The Brittish publishing operation reports increased sales and a positive result, following changes that were initiated in 2018. It is also good news that WSOY in Finland reports another good year and that the Swedish publishing group Bonnierförlagen report yet another stable year despite a weak market for physical book retail. For the second consecutive year, 50 percent owned Cappelen Damm reports a weak profit, burdened by weak sales linked to a forthcoming school material reform in Norway and due to continued losses in the bookstore chain Tanum. Akademiska Bokhandeln in Finland also reports a negative result, while Pocketshop improves its result, following consolidation and focusing efforts.

In 2019, the publisher Bazar was acquired by WSOY in Finland, but otherwise no larger structural changes were made. Investing activities are primarily focused on the audio- and e-book service BookBeat, which maintains its three digit percentage growth rate, both in terms of revenue and number of users. The number of subscribers amount to approximately 250 000 at the end of the year.

Bonnier News’ revenue in 2019 amounts to SEK 7.6 billion (6.7), whereof the newly acquired MittMedia contributes with SEK 1.2 billion. EBITA amounts to SEK 211 million (174), whereof MittMedia accounts for SEK -71 million. The figures from last year include Bonnier Magazines & Brands and Business to Business.

As a consequence of the company’s digital transformation and in line with Bonnier News’ strategy, cost synergies have been achieved in conjuction with the acquisition as well as in existing operations. For example, Magazines & Brands reports a positive result compared to last year’s losses, despite decreased revenue.

The total subscribed edition was increased by approximately two percent, compared to the previous year. Revenues from single copy sales (primarily Expressen and Magazines & Brands), as well as from print subscriptions, decreased compared to the previous year.  However, many of the papers within News had a strong growth in digital subscriptions, both in terms of revenues and the number of subscribers. The overall effect is that the growth in digital revenue exceeds the decrease in print revenue.

The decrease in advertising revenues of about 11 percent compared to the previous year largely reflects a strongly challenged market in, among other things, motor, travels, interior design and gaming, where the effect in gaming to a large degree has regulatory reasons. However, Bonnier News’ companies achieve a good result in 2019 compared to the market, both in print and digital and the market shares also increase.

Bonnier News’ operations report lower production and distribution costs in 2019 compared with the previous year, largely driven by efficiency improvements and lower circulation. This is despite the fact that some actions will not take full effect until 2020.

On April 1, MittMedia, a media group with 28 daily newspaper titles and local brands in central Sweden, is acquired. At the end of the year, Lokaltidningen, a free magazine with 28 local titles in southern Sweden, is acquired, as well as Dagens Samhälle, a strong brand within the public sector covering municipal and regional issues.

Bonnier Fastigheter delivers a strong result for 2019. Sales increase by 20 percent and is SEK 712 million (591), where the increase is mainly explained by newly signed contracts, renegotiations, lower vacancies and additional rents from the properties acquired during the previous year. In comparable portfolio, sales increase by SEK 67 million, or 12 percent. EBITA increases by 28 percent to SEK 474 million (371). In comparable portfolio, the corresponding increase in EBITA was SEK 61 million, or 18 percent.

Positive changes in the value of properties amount to SEK 824 million (749) and contribute to an increase in profit before tax to SEK 1,243 million (1,062). The market value of the properties at the end of the year is valued at SEK 13.6 billion.

Bonnier Fastigheter’s financial position is still very strong with a low loan-to-value ratio. During the year, most of the bank financing was renegotiated, with the credit facilities being extended and expanded. As in the previous year, financing is largely done through commercial papers.

A first step into the housing market is taken in 2019. This is through the cooperation agreement signed between Bonnier Fastigheter and ByggVesta to form a joint venture to develop, own and manage rental properties in the Stockholm area.

Bonnier Fastigheter has a continued strong focus on project and property development. The planning process is ongoing regarding the exploitation of offices and commercial activitites in Värtahamnen, and detailed plans for Pirhuset and Portalen are expected to be adopted at the end of 2020 with planned construction commencing in 2021.

Bonnier Ventures focuses on minority investments in digital fast-growing startups. The companies have a strong presence in the Nordic countries and an ambition to grow globally. The holdings in these companies are valued in excess of SEK 700 million at the end of 2019.

Since its inception in 2014, investments have returned 22 percent per year. In addition to the venture portfolio, the agency network Real Agency Group is also included in Bonnier Ventures, with Spoon, Oh My, KIT Media, Trickle, InFunnel and The DomainWasTaken.

Six new investments totaling SEK 111 million are made in 2019 –, online medical support, Kitab Sawti, offering audiobooks in Arabic, Sulapac, developer of biodegradable and microplast-free plastic alternatives, Woshapp, environmentally friendly car wash platform, Pilloxa, digital partner for clinical studies, and All Ears, media monitoring service for spoken media.

Acast has strong growth in 2019 and is in the process of attracting American investors. During the year, Bonnier Ventures sells its holdings in the production company FLX and Perfect Day.

Real Agency Group increases agency revenues by 11 percent in 2019 and during the year it starts Spoon Inhouse.

SF Studios takes another step in sales and profitability in 2019, with an EBITA of SEK 36 million compared with SEK 17 million last year. In general, SF Studios produces more than ever, has a more stable distribution and an improved exploitation of the rights catalog. In 2019, 69 percent of the production company FLX is acquired.

Distribution operations contribute slightly better than in the previous year, despite the fact that most of the local Nordic cinema releases during the year had a negative impact. The distribution is positively affected by the fact that SF Studios now distributes Warner in Sweden as well as Sony, which during the year was added in all four countries. The three most profitable distribution titles in 2019 are Joker, Britt-Marie var här and Once upon a time in Hollywood.

Production operations improve its earnings compared to 2018 with a positive contribution from both FLX and Norwegian Paradox. The production rate is high with more than 15 productions in 2019, which is expected to be maintained in the coming years. The narrative film Horizon Line as well as the TV productions Alex, Åreakuten and Rita are some of the productions to mention from the year.

Digital Services improves earnings and has seen good growth during the year for the consumer services SF Anytime and SF Kids.

The Adlibris Group’s sales amount to SEK 2.3 billion, which is a decrease of three percent compared with the previous year. Book sales decline by one percent, and are mainly affected by lower sales to private customers. B2B and library sales are up compared to the previous year due to won procurement contracts. Sales of articles other than books decrease during the year where price and product range revisions are carried out.

EBITA for the year amount to SEK -217 million, which is a decrease of SEK -101 million compared with 2018, explained by non-recurring costs, mainly attributable to assortment, IT and staffing. Adjusted for non-recurring costs, the underlying gross margin is strengthened by approximately one percentage point, while EBITA on a comparable basis improves by SEK 26 million compared with the previous year.

In addition to online stores with a wide range of books, yarns, toys, crafts, stationery, kitchenware and decoration, the Adlibris Group also includes digital sales of newspaper subscriptions, gift cards and sales of magazines for waiting rooms. Sales and deliveries at the end of the year work well.

Bonnier Corporation’s turnover in 2019 amounts to SEK 1.2 billion (1.0). EBITA amounts to SEK 9 million, which is an improvement of SEK 15 million compared to 2018.

The company is showing growth in the Event business. The operation within Working Mother increases membership income from companies and also consultancy incomes. The market for the company’s traditional media products remains weak with reduced advertising and subscription revenues.

Event operations contribute strongly to profit and turnover during the year. The magazines Sport Diver and Scuba Diving are sold at the half-year.

During the year, the company signs new licensing agreements where, for example, kitchenware in 2020 will be sold under the Saveur Cookware brand.

Bonnier Publications, the leading Nordic publisher of special-interest magazines, reports an EBITA of SEK 142 million, which is a clear improvement compared with SEK 119 million last year.

High profitability in the traditional magazine business partly enables to deliver a strong result and at the same time invest in new, digital products. The EBITA margin of 12 percent is among the highest in the industry and an improvement from 9 percent last year.

As readers’ habits change, demand for print media decreases, affecting the magazine market.

The turnover for Bonnier Publications amounts to SEK 1.2 billion (1.3) for the year 2019.

Bonnier Publications is in a transition phase where the sales of print media is expected to continue decline. During the year, digital subscriptions for Illustrerad Vetenskap and Historia have been launched in four countries. The decline in print media sales is not yet fully offset by digital revenue growth.

Bonnier Broadcasting’s earnings for 11 months amounted to SEK 1,135 million, compared with a full-year result of SEK 1,027 million last year. Sales amount to SEK 8.1 billion and SEK 8.3 billion for the corresponding periods.

Other includes a number of smaller operating companies, which together in 2019 had a turnover of SEK 173 million (177) with an operating loss of SEK -23 million (5), and partly by group-wide activities and functions. The costs for these functions have been reduced by SEK 106 million compared to the previous year from SEK 580 million to SEK 474 million. Looking ahead,  the cost level is expected  to be just over SEK 250 million per year.

Bonnier Group’s balance sheet changes substantially as a result of the divestment of Bonnier Broadcasting. Goodwill decreases to SEK 2.6 billion (6.5) and Film and program rights decrease to SEK 0.4 billion compared with SEK 2.7 billion last year. The purchase price, in cash and debt-free basis, amounts to SEK 9.2 billion.

Net debt decreases by SEK 7.9 billion and includes, from 2019, in a leasing debt attributable to leased premises of SEK 1.5 billion. Pension liabilities amount to SEK 2.0 billion (2.4).

Financial results 2019

Net Sales by Company [SEK M]



Bonnier Books 5 770 5 522
Bonnier News 7 579 6 713
Bonnier Fastigheter 712 591
Bonnier Ventures 386 358
SF Studios 1 899 1 256
Adlibrisgruppen 2 282 2 341
Bonnier Corporation 1 197 989
Bonnier Publications 1 208 1 328
Bonnier Brodcasting 8 075 8 253
29 108 27 351
Other -362 -436
Bonnier Group Total 28 746 26 915

Operating Profit (EBITA) by Company [SEK M]



Bonnier Books 250 148
Bonnier News 211 174
Bonnier Fastigheter 474 371
Bonnier Ventures -6 -16
SF Studios 36 17
Adlibrisgruppen -217 -116
Bonnier Corporation 9 -6
Bonnier Publications 142 119
Bonnier Brodcasting 1 135 1 027
Other -497 -575
Bonnier Group Total 1 537 1 141

PROFIT, Bonnier Group [SEK M]



Net sales 28 746 26 915
EBITA 1 537 1 141
EBIT 4 822 937
Finansnetto 127 -198
Profit before tax 4 949 739
Year-end-result 4 221 298

Balance, Bonnier Group [SEK M]



Goodwill 2 576 6 518
Buildings and land 15 052 12 509
Property, plant and equipments 1 575 2 067
Film and TV rights 379 2 715
Working Capital -2 037 -1 999
Other 1 408 1 941
Operating capital 18 953 23 751
Net debt 1 232 9 164
Equity including minority 17 721 14 587
Financing of operating capital 18 953 23 751