Annual result 2000
In 2000, N.V. Holdingmaatschappij De Telegraaf realised a net profit of NLG 106.8 million as compared to NLG 142.8 million for 1999. This means that net earnings per share of NLG 0.50 par value fell from NLG 2.72 for 1999 to NLG 2.03 for 2000.
Group turnover rose by 12.5% from NLG 1.59 billion for 1999 to NLG 1.79 billion for 2000; organic turnover growth amounted to 5.6%.
Pre-tax profit fell from NLG 219.8 million for 1999 to NLG 174.9 million for 2000. The main cause of this fall in profit is the costs of the company-wide Internet activities, which rose by over NLG 52 million to approximately NLG 60 million, including initial losses relating to the joint ventures entered into during the past year in the areas of housing and vacancies, amongst other things. All costs relating to these activities have been directly charged to the result. Furthermore, the acquisition of Uitgeversmaatschappij De Limburger B.V. had a negative effect on net earnings of over NLG 10 million, a net figure consisting of the result and the amortisation of goodwill over the period from 22 May to 31 December 2000 and the interest on the purchase sum for the whole of 2000. Goodwill to the amount of NLG 332 million will be charged to the result over a period of twenty years. The company is expected to make a positive contribution to the 2001 result.
The company proposes to distribute a dividend for 2000 of NLG 0.84 per share, representing a payout of 41% of the net profit. The 1999 dividend amounted to NLG 0.98 per share, representing a payout of 36%.
Group companies made a mixed contribution to the 2000 result. Dagblad De Telegraaf again proved to be the main profit centre. Average effective circulation remained virtually static while advertising turnover increased, particularly owing to growth in the category of national brands and services. As in the previous years, the volume of classified ads fell marginally. The door-to-door paper division realised a sharply higher result owing to a substantial rise in advertising turnover. Of the free dailies, ‘Sp!ts’ developed beyond expectation. This title will already make a positive contribution to the result in 2001. In contrast, the autonomous result of the regional newspapers declined due to, on the one hand, falling circulation and, on the other, to the provision for reorganisations at Hollandse Dagbladcombinatie B.V., which was charged to the result for 2000. The result of the magazine division declined also due to the initial costs of new titles published in the Netherlands and Sweden. The result of the printing division (Biegelaar Groep B.V.) was depressed by rising interest charges relating to investments in new construction and presses.
Whilst the press release of 11 January still stated the expectation that the result for 2001 might match the 2000 result, taking into account the (again substantial) costs of the Internet activities, a rise in the price of newsprint and sharply behind the budgeted figure, particularly as a result of falling advertising volumes at both national and regional newspapers. To what extent this trend is going to persist cannot as yet be predicted. A considerable cost reduction campaign has been started, mainly targeting staff and other costs. The development of Internet activities will be temporised. In view of these recent developments, it is impossible at this time to make a sound forecast of the results for 2001.