Hamburg, 27 March 2003 –
Gruner + Jahr, Europe;lsquo;s biggest magazine publisher, delivered acomparatively good performance in 2002 despite the advertising crisis, andwill continue to grow in 2003, mainly by means of new title launches.EBITA, reported under to IAS (International Accounting Standards) for thefirst time, doubled year on year to 234 million (2001 pro forma: ;euro;117million). Total earnings (EBITA including special gains) rose to ;euro;406 million.During the same period, revenues declined to ;euro;2.8 billion, due to disposalsand the continuing decline in the ad business, especially in Germany. Netearnings amounted to ;euro;116 million (00/01: ;euro;40 million, reported under HGBGerman Commercial Code which restricts comparability), while cash flowmore than tripled to ;euro;385 million (00/01 pro forma: ;euro;114 million/HGB). TheReturn on Sales was 8.3 percent.
"While the industry is still going through a slack period, G+J has alreadypicked up speed again. We responded in time and successfully to the crisisin the advertising markets. In 2002, we profited like no other Europeanpublisher from our internationality. With more than 120 titles in 14 countries,our setup is broad enough to compensate even for major slumps inindividual markets," said CEO Dr. Bernd Kundrun on Thursday in Hamburg."We will dare to try new things, while also persisting with our consolidationcourse wherever adverse conditions demand it. In this way, we intend tostabilize and if possible improve our results even in these difficult times,and further increase our return on sales."
In combination with a cost and efficiency program launched in 2001, thepublisher;lsquo;s international businesses made an above-average contribution tothe positive results of 2002. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC in Germany andthe Netherlands were in the black in 2002, just three respectively two yearsafter their launches. After the successful launch of WOMAN, STERNBIOGRAFIE and STERN CHRONIK in Germany and GEOLINO;lsquo;s Frenchsister title GEO ADO in 2002, the first three months of the current yearhave already seen the introduction of three new titles: INC and FITNESS inChina, as well as GLAMOUR, which hits newsstands in Poland today.Russia faces the imminent launch of the new youth title GEOLENOK. In thecore markets USA and France, preparations are underway for newwomen’s magazines scheduled for launch within the next 18 months.In 2002, Gruner + Jahr generated 63 percent of its revenues outsideGermany. Advertising income accounted for 40 percent of the ;euro;2.8 billion intotal revenues, distribution for another 31 percent. The printers contributed20 percent to group revenues, and 9 percent were attributable to otherincome. Due to the disposal of the Berlin newspaper operations with their920 employees and other adjustments (discontinuation of the magazinesBIZZ, ONLINE TODAY, HOMESTYLE, ROSIE and ofCOMPUTERCHANNEL and other multimedia activities), the number ofemployees dropped to 11,367 (00/01: 12,946) worldwide.
Gruner + Jahr will continue to resolutely seize its opportunities despite acontinuing consolidation in segments and markets that are still impacted bythe crisis in the advertising industry. In the next few years, Gruner + Jahrwill concentrate on growth through new titles and the extension of itsmarket leadership in its core segments. Above all, G+J intends to step upits exploitation of the potential inherent in its powerful international mediabrands such as STERN, GEO, GALA, CAPITAL or FITNESS, through lineextensions and internationalization. Other items in G+J’s innovation andgrowth strategy include the development of innovative magazine concepts,and acquisitions.
Bernd Kundrun: "Our internal cost-cutting measures have paid off. Togetherwith our employees, we were able to save over ;euro;70 million worldwide in2002 just through our ;lsquo;Cost and Processes – CAP;lsquo; program. This will takesome of the strain off the results year by year. But perhaps the mostimportant step in 2002 was our decision to move forward despite the fierceheadwind. The successful launch of our new magazines in Germany,France and China went down very well with readers and our advertisingcustomers. We practice what we recommend to our business partners:Anti-cyclical behavior pays off. We have laid the foundation for innovationsand growth, especially in the past year."
Kundrun takes a critical view of future developments in the Germanadvertising market: "The first three months of the year have failed to meetthe expectations of any publishing company. Nonetheless, we have gottenthe impression that an improvement in Germany, too, could be forthcominglate in 2003. Now we;lsquo;ll have to wait and see what the repercussions arefrom the war in Iraq."
German Magazines Division
The German magazines division headed by Rolf Wickmann successfullybucked the crisis in the German ad market, which is now entering its thirdyear and is deteriorating further at the moment. Results were stable atprevious-year levels despite a decline in sales, so employees will receiveprofit participation for 2002. The division defied the industry trend bysuccessfully launching the bi-weekly women;lsquo;s magazine WOMAN on Oct22, 2002. It sold over 300,000 copies per issue and 265 ad pages in thefirst three months.STERN, Germany;lsquo;s most widely read weekly news magazine, furtherextended its brand family with STERN BIOGRAFIE and STERN CHRONIK.Sold copies of STERN are well over the previous year’s figures. With over45 million Page Impressions per month, the STERN.DE homepage clearlyexceeded its target for the year and advanced into the Top Ten websites inGermany.
Just two years after its launch, LIVING AT HOME is in the black and hasincreased its gross ad sales by 19 percent year-on-year. As in 2001, thepeople magazine GALA registered gains in the ad market. BRIGITTEWOMAN, the quarterly magazine in the BRIGITTE family catering towomen above 40 since 2001, continued its steady increase in circulationand crossed the 200,000-copy mark.After the great success of its first special, "Ancient Egypt," whichNATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC GERMANY issued in October 2001 and whichexceeded expectations with roughly 120,000 copies sold, the publisher willforcefully push ahead with line extensions of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICGERMANY.GEO, which shows stable circulation, is successfully continuing theextension of its brand family. GEOLINO now sells over 200,000 copies amonth.
In 2002, CAPITAL, Germany;lsquo;s biggest business magazine, looked back on40 years of successful business journalism. Over 1,000 guests attendedthe anniversary celebration, including German chancellor GerhardSchröder, in 2002. ESSEN ; TRINKEN’s 30th anniversary issue in Octoberbecame the best-selling issue in its history, with over 60 ad pages and286,000 copies sold.In 2003, G+J will continue to develop its magazine brands in Germany andstrengthen and extend its market leadership in core segments. To this end,Gruner + Jahr will continue investing in editorial quality and marketing. Itwill further strengthen its customer and sales focus, e.g. through key-account services and direct-to-customer marketing.
International Magazines Division
Thanks to rigorous cost management, the International Magazines divisionheaded by Axel Ganz has significantly improved its results and profitability.The division is in an excellent position for a new growth phase.As France’s second biggest and most profitable publisher, Prisma Pressewas able to top its excellent previous-year performance in 2002. PrismaPresse managed to keep its ad sales stable and outperformed the Frenchmarket, which declined slightly overall.The youth magazine GEO ADO was successfully launched with the help ofits young readership. The latter were invited to make editorial contributionsto the first issue. With over 70,000 copies sold, GEO ADO attained instantmarket leadership among F