N.V. Holdingmaatschappij De Telegraaf sustained a net loss of € 29.5 million for 2001 against a net profit of € 48.5 million for 2000. As already announced in the press release of 18 December last, the factors contributing to this loss were high non-recurring expenditure and falling advertising revenues, particularly in the second half of 2001. The net loss for 2001 includes a net sum of € 46 million in non-recurring expenses relating to provisions for reorganisation (€ 18.8 million) and additional amortisation (€ 27.2 million) of goodwill relating to Dagblad De Gooi- en Eemlander B.V. This additional write-off was effected in view of a structural drop in circulation and advertising turnover.
Apart from these incidental losses, the ‘normal’ result declined by € 32 million to € 16.5 million as a result of a substantial drop in advertising income at both national and regional newspapers, combined with significantly higher newsprint prices and delivery costs. The bad economic climate and the depreciation of and interest on the new rotogravure press exerted great downward pressure on the result of Biegelaar Groep B.V.
In 2001, as in 2000, a company-wide loss of approximately € 28 million was incurred on Internet activities. Lower loss figures recorded for Internet-related activities at B.V. Dagblad De Telegraaf and Internet participations were undone by a € 4 million increase in initial costs at the regional newspapers.
The drop in advertising revenues manifested in particular in the second half of 2001. As a result, the first-half net profit of € 19.3 million (not taking into account non-recurring expenditure) turned into a net loss of € 2.8 million in the second half of 2001.
The retrenchment measures taken early in the year failed to provide sufficient compensation for the drop in the result. In view of this, it was decided in the course of 2001 to implement a programme of sweeping reorganisations. In consultation with the unions, a social policy plan was drafted for the Amsterdam operations as about 300 jobs were made redundant. A reorganisation plan was drafted at Biegelaar Groep B.V., where approximately 60 jobs were made redundant.
In view of the necessary cost savings Media Groep Limburg B.V. also has formed a provision.
The year 2002 will be dominated by improvement in results through further optimisation. In addition, new products will be launched, in particular by capitalising on the company's strong brand names, and there will be a drive towards broadening mobile services.
The initial effects of the company's optimisation campaign, including the various reorganisations, will show up in the results from the second half of 2002 on. The previously announced merger between Biegelaar Groep B.V. and Brouwer Groep B.V. will result in a higher contribution to 2002 income. The losses incurred by the Internet activities will be reduced still further, both by tapping into new sources of revenue and by taking further cost-reducing measures coupled with the integration of off-line and on-line activities. The distribution network will be further optimised within DistriQ B.V., the logistic organisation established in 2001, while a study will be carried out at Hollandse Dagbladcombinatie B.V. into the possibility of further integration of the regional newspaper publishers.
Finally, from the second quarter of 2002 on, significantly lower newsprint prices will contribute to the recovery of the result. An uncertain influence remains the development of the advertising market. Advertising income for the first two periods of 2002 is considerably lower than the corresponding figure in 2001.
In view of the measures taken so far and the expected cyclical trend, the net profit is expected to be well in excess of the ‘normal’ profit (excluding non-recurring expenses) of € 16.5 million realised in 2001. Still, net profit for the first half of 2002 will be even considerably lower than the corresponding figure recorded in 2001.
The Board proposes to declare a dividend for 2001 of € 0.11 per share, representing a pay-out of 36.6% of the net result on ordinary operations, excluding the additional amortisation of goodwill relating to Dagblad De Gooi- en Eemlander B.V. comprised in this figure. The pay-out for the year 2000 amounted to NLG 0.84, being 41% of the net profit.