Hamburg, 31 March 2004 – G+J increases ROS to 9.6 % and EBITA to ;euro; 238 million in difficult 2003 business year / More than ;euro; 50 million in publishing investments planned for 2004 / Innovation offensive to continue with 15 to 20 new titles all over the world
In a continuingly difficult global marketenvironment, Europe´s biggest magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr in 2003again earned very good money and is well equipped for further growth.EBITA was improved to ;euro; 238 million (previous year: ;euro; 234 million) primarilydue to a strengthened core business and continuing strict cost discipline.Return on Sales rose to 9.6 percent (previous year: 8.3 percent). Beforepublishing investments, i.e. not including development costs and start-uplosses for new magazine titles, ROS amounted to 12.1 percent. Due to specialitems such as disposals and currency, income from external sales effects fellto ;euro; 2.48 billion (previous year: ;euro; 2.8 billion); adjusted for these specialitems, revenues remained stable.
Another priority in 2003, beyond strengthening core business, was theinnovation offensive. In all, more than 20 innovations and numerous specialissues were brought to market worldwide. The most successfuldevelopment of the past business year was reported from France and willhave an effect on revenues in the 2004 business year: By launching T;Eacute;L;Eacute;2 SEMAINES, G+J´s subsidiary Prisma Presse brought France its firstbiweekly TV guide, a completely novel magazine concept in the Frenchmarket. This publication rhythm was made possible by an expresslydeveloped database technology that was not available in France before inthis form. The innovative approach bore fruit after just a few issues; soldcirculation has since reached 2 million copies, making T;Eacute;L;Eacute; 2 SEMAINESone of the most successful magazine launches in recent decades.
Gruner + Jahr Chairman ; CEO Dr. Bernd Kundrun said on Thursday inHamburg: "Thanks to the good results achieved in the 2003 business yearwe, as Europe´s biggest magazine publisher, have once again setstandards for entrepreneurial success and for operating ROS. Our strongfinances give us the strength to test new ventures and to grow. In 2003, weused our innovation offensive to scout trends and successfully createpublishing momentum in Germany and beyond. We will continue to developinnovations and pursue our international expansion: in 2004, we will investwell over ;euro; 50 million in costs to develop and start up new magazines andintroduce between 15 and 20 new titles all over the world."
Kundrun declared that Gruner + Jahr is thus entering a new phase ofgrowth: First, in 2001, the publishing company became one of the firstpublishers to launch sweeping cost measures, which in 2002 led to adoubling of operating ROS to 8.3 percent. Then, in 2002, the ExecutiveBoard focused the portfolio on the magazine business by selling BerlinNewspaper Group (Berliner Verlag). The disposal of the newspaperbusiness in Eastern Europe also served this purpose. Now, a balancedcorporate strategy is at the heart of the business. Comments Kundrun: "Weare generating very decent ROS while also investing in future means ofgrowth, relying on innovation and expansion in Germany and beyond. Wehave both the money and the ideas to do so."
With revenues abroad accounting for 63 percent of total revenue, Gruner +Jahr underscored its position as the world´s most international magazinepublisher. At 39 percent, advertising income contributed the largestrevenue share, while distribution and printing operations accounted for 32and 19 percent respectively. Other income made up 10 percent of totalrevenues. The number of G+J employees worldwide declined from 11,862to 11,351 employees due to portfolio streamlining.
As part of the generational shift on the G+J Executive Board, centers ofresponsibility were reorganized in Germany and beyond. The MagazineDivision Germany has been under the management of Dr. Bernd Buchholzsince January 2004. Achim Twardy, who has been the Executive Board incharge of the Newspapers division since 2001, additionally took on thesupervision of the Newspaper Division/Business Press Germany in October2003. The Magazine Division International was newly organized in January2004, and put under the management of Dr. Torsten-Joern Klein. AxelGanz remains in charge of G+J´s publishing business in France and the USon the Executive Board. All other Executive Board responsibilities remainunaffected. "The new arrangement of the Executive Board reflects ourgrowth strategy: In addition, beyond continuing our global innovationoffensive, we will focus more on international growth markets and a newbreakup in the business press segment."
Kundrun again pointed out that, "Despite all current difficulties, the businesspress remains one of our important core businesses." The FINANCIALTIMES DEUTSCHLAND is already benefiting to a higher degree from aslowly recovering advertising economy.
On an international level, established titles did well in 2003, even in difficultmarket environments. In particular, FEMME ACTUELLE in France andCHILD in the US registered a positive performance following successfuleditorial overhauls. Not only was FEMME ACTUELLE the No.1 mainstay ofrevenues for Prisma Presse, but also generated the biggest individualresult in G+J´s entire magazine portfolio. Its circulation stabilized at 1.37million copies. To win over its readers, the title published a total of eleventhemed special issues. CHILD managed to increase its appeal for premiumadvertising customers and was able to improve its advertising revenue by29 percent. Sold circulation was kept steady at 1 million copies.
Beyond T;Eacute;L;Eacute; 2 SEMAINES, a number of other innovations were alsosuccessful: GLAMOUR, launched under license a year ago in Poland,became the country´s most successful new launch of the year. Withcirculation of 275,000, it went straight to the top of the high-end women´smagazine sector. In Germany, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC WORLD waslaunched in November 2003 as an innovative bilingual popular sciencemagazine for children: It has a cross-media presence in print, on theInternet and on TV. In Italy, FOCUS JUNIOR is enjoying similar success,with sold circulation exceeding 200,000. Originally planned as asupplement to the popular science magazine FOCUS, the title quicklydeveloped into a popular science magazine for children and teens, acompletely novel concept for the Italian market. The international expansionof G+J´s Popular Science segment was further advanced with the launch ofGEOFOCUS in Russia (circulation over 70,000) and QUEST in theNetherlands (over 100,000 copies).
For further information:
Head of Corporate Communications and Public Relations
Gruner + Jahr AG & Co KG
Am Baumwall 11