PRISA has reached a refinancing agreement that is set to enable the Group to focus on business development. The outline deal endows the Group with financial stability in the medium term, extends debt maturity, improves flexibility and links financial strategy to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria. Crucially, for the first time, the deal enjoys the full support of creditors who are committed to the Group's growth plan. This outline deal comes as the Board of Directors approved the results for 2021 which, despite a turbulent start to the year due to the impact of the pandemic, show a clear recovery across all business lines, with a robust rebound for advertising, digital businesses and education in Latin America, as this latter market returns to normality.
For the year as a whole, the Group posted an EBITDA of 107 million euros, excluding severance payouts, 46.2% more than the previous year, and exceeding the forecasts set at the beginning of the year (of between 95 and 100 million euros).
Revenue reached 741 million euros, which represents an increase of 5.8% compared to the previous year. The Education division closed the year with revenues of 358.8 million euros, 1.9% less than in 2020 due to the impact of a first quarter with activity practically at a standstill and despite the strong recovery seen in the second half of the year. PRISA Media recorded revenue of 383 million euros (+14.1%) driven by the recovery of advertising and digital growth. PRISA’s ongoing commitment in this area is reflected in the increase in digital revenues, which increased their contribution by 8.3% to account for 30% of the total.
The net result shows losses of 90.5 million compared to the losses of 121.9 a year earlier. Improvements in operations and in the financial result, due to lower debt, were negatively offset by the higher severance payouts over the course of 2021. Net accounting profit is negative compared to that registered in 2020, the year in which the net result showed a positive balance of 89.7 million euros due to capital gains from the sale of Santillana Spain.
According to Joseph Oughourlian, Chairperson of PRISA: "After a very complex start to the year, we have closed the year with clear signs of recovery in all our businesses, a trend that we expect to continue in the coming months."
The PRISA Chairperson explained that "the thorough reorganization undertaken by the Group during 2021, the commitment to strengthening corporate governance, the determined drive to digital transformation and the new culture of financial management give us grounds for optimism as we look ahead to the future". "The recent outline deal on debt refinancing reached with new creditors is decisive," he added. “It leaves us with a clear path in the medium term to focus on the business and on the enormous potential for expansion of our brands. I wish to thank firms such as Pimco and Angelo Gordon for the confidence they have shown in the Group by leading this outline agreement”. Oughourlian concludes that "though we would be wise to be wary of the economic situation and the risks involved, it is clearly now time to look to the future focused on our roadmap and the growth plan that we have embarked upon.”
2021 has been a milestone year for PRISA, a year which saw the Group strengthen corporate governance, reorganize its structure, accelerate Santillana's digital transformation in Latin America and integrate all the company's news media titles under PRISA Media. The Media division adopted a pioneering organizational structure based on seven transversal platforms, with the aim of aligning the company around a common purpose and strategy, with efforts focused on accelerating digitization (with a firm commitment to audio and video), enhancing the global reach of the brands, and at the same time, committing to more agile and efficient management.
Meanwhile, the new culture of financial management that was implemented over the course of the year, with a focus on operational improvement, cost control and the management of working capital, has enabled positive cash generation of 2 million euros, excluding extraordinary items, compared to the negative figure of -56 euros the previous year. As of December 31, the company's cash balance stood at 169 million euros, with a further 102 million in restricted cash.
Exchange rates had a negative effect of 24.9 million euros on revenues and of 7.7 million euros on EBITDA, due chiefly to currency devaluations in Brazil. In 2021, work has begun on the implementation of active currency risk coverage and mitigation strategies.
The Group's net debt stood at 756 million euros at the end of the year, compared to 679 million in December 2020. Meanwhile, the Group continued to make progress with its efficiency and fixed-cost reduction plan, with the initial 30-million-euro goal easily surpassed by the end of the year. In addition, the process of renegotiating lease contracts on offices in Spain will allow added savings of close to 4.5 million euros, increasing flexibility and improving conditions.
The 2021 results for Education attest to recovery throughout the year, despite the drop in the first quarter (-53.6% in revenue), a period which defies comparisons due chiefly to school closures caused by pandemic restrictions. In the year as a whole, Education revenue amounted to 358.8 million euros, a decrease of 1.9% due to the impact of the first quarter. In Q2, income grew by 76.4%, followed by 38.6 % in Q3 and 42.7% in Q4 when sales to state schools exceeded forecasts, as schools reopened and market share improved. EBITDA for the year as a whole reached 75.5 million, excluding severance payments, compared to 80.9 million for the same period of the previous year.
Subscription models, which already represent the top source of income in the Education area, have shown their resilience in a complex environment – marked by numerous pandemic restrictions – that began to normalize at the end of the year. By then, the number of subscribers to Ed-Tech programs was close to 2 million, an increase of 15.8%. Santillana has established itself as clear leader in the school education sector in Latin America, and it is the only global platform to operate in the education markets in a total of 19 countries.
PRISA Media’s 2021 results show robust recovery driven by an improvement in the advertising market that began in the second quarter of the year, good performance for the Group’s digital assets and a strict cost-control policy. Indeed, the Group has gained market share in all the countries where it operates. PRISA Media recorded revenues of 383 million euros compared to 336 million in 2020, which represents growth of 14%. The main source of revenue is advertising, which accounted for 78% of the total in 2021.
PRISA Media’s EBITDA (excluding severance payments) reached 42 million euros compared to negative earnings of -0.8 million the previous year.
EL PAÍS is the clear leader in terms of subscription models in Spain. In the less than two years since the newspaper launched its paywall, the rate of growth in subscriber numbers has outpaced that of most of the world's major newspapers. Average subscriber numbers among Europe’s leading news titles after the first two years is typically in the region 70,000, with the figure rising to around 150,000 in Latin America.
By the end of December 2021, EL PAÍS had a total of 176,760 subscribers, of whom 136,519 were exclusively digital subscribers. The rest are subscriptions to the print edition (these readers can also register their subscription online) and to Kiosko y Más, the digital version of the print edition. The newspaper surpassed 180,000 subscriptions in January 2021. The subscription model is evolving to offer its subscribers more exclusive, rigorous and quality content, adapted to the multiple formats in which PRISA Media is active, and where audio and video are especially important.
Sports paper AS, meanwhile, reported record audiences in 2021. In July, it reported more than 133 million unique browsers, according to internal data from Adobe Analytics, which represents annual growth of 55%. It was confirmation, if any were needed, that PRISA Media’s sports newspaper is world leader in its class and has well and truly set the gold standard for sports news in Spanish.
A Commitment to Audio
PRISA’s Radio division, which brings together audience-leading networks such as SER, LOS40 and Caracol Radio, continues to consolidate its position in both Spain and Latin America with more than 22 million listeners in total. According to the latest General Media Survey (EGM), SER has held on to its absolute lead with 4,067,000 listeners, making it the Number One choice for news, sports and entertainment. The family of LOS40 stations (LOS40, LOS40 Classic and LOS40 Urban) closed the year with a daily figure of 3,607,000 listeners, according to the EGM, making it the largest music community in Spain.
Radio has maintained its firm commitment to multichannel distribution, innovation and the creation of new digital audio content through the new transversal platform PRISA Audio. This was created in May 2021 as a result of the Group’s new organizational structure and its embrace of and commitment to new digital products .
PRISA Audio integrates all of the Group's non-linear audio content: EL PAÍS, AS, Cadena SER, Podium Podcast, Cadena DIAL, Los40, and the stations in Latin America W Radio, Caracol Radio and ADN Chile, among others.
Just six months after its launch, PRISA Audio is the world's leading producer of non-linear audio in Spanish with 412 million downloads and around 800 million listening hours, according to the company's internal data measured by Triton Digital, the leading firm for metrics in the digital audio industry.
PRISA Audio is the second-ranking media company in the world for streaming – just behind iHeart Radio – and the first in Latin America
In 2022, PRISA Audio is set to forge ahead with its ambitious growth plan and it envisages doubling the production of content in a quantitative and qualitative leap that will enable it to consolidate its position and reputation as the global creative gold standard for Spanish-language podcasts.
A commitment to sustainability
A genuine commitment to a fairer society and sustainable growth is at the very core of Grupo PRISA. Ever since the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was approved in 2015, PRISA has made every effort to align its corporate management with the Sustainable Development Goals.
The group has set out five SDGs as priorities, and it actively promotes these through its media and through the work of Santillana Latin America: SDG 4, Quality education; SDG 5, Gender equality; SDG 8, Decent work and economic growth; SDG 13, Climate Action; and SDG 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
In addition, in September 2021 the Group launched the campaign #DejaBuenaHuella (Leave a Good Mark) aimed at reaffirming its commitment to the success of the 2030 Agenda, which was then celebrating its sixth anniversary. This initiative was promoted across all the Group’s media and encouraged the public to take individual actions that would all add up to help ensure the success of the SDGs.
In 2008, PRISA joined the UN Global Compact, the world's largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative, and since 2013 the group has been a member of the Spanish Global Compact Network.
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