PRISA closed 2022 with results that exceeded Guidance targets, in what is set to go down as a key year for the Group. Despite the complex macroeconomic environment and difficulties facing the sectors in which PRISA operates, aggravated by the war in Ukraine, disruptions to supply chains, the rise in inflation and interest rates, the company has presented accounts that demonstrate the resilience of its businesses, which have outperformed forecasts set for all the main indicators at the beginning of the year.
Thus, PRISA reported revenues of 850 million euros for the year as a whole, 15% more than in 2021 and a figure above the range set at the beginning of the year of between 770 and 800 million. The company’s commitment to subscription models in both Education and Media (where El País is showing significant growth), as well as an uptick in advertising revenue, especially for Radio, have boosted these figures and confirm the positive expectations of the Group’s businesses.
EBITDA, excluding severance payments, exceeded 147 million, 38% more than in 2021, driven by the operational improvement of the businesses and optimum control of expenses. EBITDA margin reached 17.3% – 3% compared to 2021 – in line with forecasts communicated to the market at the beginning of the year.
For the Chairperson of PRISA, Joseph Oughourlian, 2022 was a “year of significant strategic and financial challenges at the corporate level, challenges which we have successfully met head on in a complex and uncertain environment”. Oughourlian explained that "the results presented, the refinancing undertaken in 2022 and the recent issuance of notes – which was oversubscribed and which is clear evidence of shareholder support for the Group's project – encourages us to continue working in the direction we have taken".
For 2023, the company expects to exceed 900 million euros in revenue. “We have the assets, the businesses and the right organization to achieve the goals set for this year as well as the ambitious objectives set in our 2022-2025 Strategic Plan”, concluded Oughourlian.
In March 2022, the company presented its Strategic Plan with a defined roadmap for business growth based on digital transformation, financial stability and the development of sustainability. The company then developed its first Sustainability Master Plan, presented in November, with the support of a specific Committee in this area, created months previously within the Board of Directors to promote sustainability across the entire corporation.
In terms of finances, progress has been made in strengthening the balance sheet and reducing debt thanks to two major operations: the refinancing of debt in April 2022 and the issuance of 130 million euros’ worth of mandatory convertible notes which concluded at the beginning of 2023, the latter operation oversubscribed, with demand greatly exceeding supply. The refinancing endowed the company with greater financial flexibility by extending debt maturities, as well as reducing interest costs. Meanwhile the issuance of notes made it possible to reduce the most costly tranche of debt in terms of interest. Following this operation, net financial debt stands at 728.4 million euros and financial leverage (net debt-to-EBITDA ratio) has dropped to 5.4x.
By the end of 2022, the net result had improved by 88% in the year, that is, by 94 million euros, to stand at negative 12.9 million euros. Meanwhile, the company's cash flow, excluding one-offs and adjusted for the partial outstanding collection of payment deriving from a public sale in Brazil that was delayed to 2023, has remained positive for the second consecutive year, reaching 3, 2 million euros, twice that of the previous year.
2022 was the year that saw a return to normality for Santillana after the pandemic. Face-to-face classes resumed at schools, in stark contrast to the first half of 2021 when many restrictions were still in force. This fact, together with the strong performance of the subscription models, has boosted the revenues of the Group's educational division, which registered a 25% increase compared to 2022, to stand at 447 million euros. Meanwhile, EBITDA, excluding severance pay, grew by 35% to 102 million euros.
The private-sector sales business posted some extraordinary results. The strategy of transforming students away from the traditional didactic market to digital learning models continues to favor an increase in subscriptions, which in 2022 shot up by 33%. Santillana already has 2,626,488 subscriptions, and EdTech models are the company's main source of revenue. By country, subscriptions grew 19% in Brazil, 30% in Mexico, 28% in Colombia and 53% in the rest of Latin America. PRISA’s Santillana is the leading educational business in Latin America and the only platform present in 19 countries in the region.
The traditional didactic model in the private-school sector also performed well, with sales growth of 43% to reach 114 million euros. This significant growth compared to 2021 was favored by the recovery of face-to-face activity in schools after the pandemic, accompanied by a significant purchase of learning materials by the Argentinian government.
Public-sector sales, meanwhile, amounted to 135 million euros, in line with 2021. This hs been recurring business for the Group for more than 20 years.
PRISA Media closed 2022 having successfully met its targets. The businesses of the Group's media division enjoyed a positive year, in the midst of a difficult macroeconomic situation, which had a very negative impact on both private consumption and advertising investment. Despite this, PRISA Media reported EBITDA, excluding severance pay, of 52 million euros, 24% more than in 2021. Revenues rose to 404 million euros, 5% more than a year earlier, thanks to diversification of advertising – which has grown by 4% in 2022 as a whole – as well as a strong market lead and the robust growth of the El País subscription model.
El País, PRISA Media's general-interest newspaper, is market leader in Spain, well ahead of its closest competitor and with a subscriber growth rate higher than that of most of the world's major newspapers. At the end of December 2021, El País had a total of 266,107 subscribers, of whom 227,381 were exclusively digital. In 2022, the figure of 89,300 net registrations was surpassed. That’s an average of 7,400 per month. El País has 51% more total subscribers than just a year before, and 67% more in terms of digital only. These figures put El País well on the way to meeting the target set by the Strategic Plan for 2025, which is to exceed 400,000 subscribers.
Sports newspaper AS, meanwhile, has strengthened its lead, according to data from GfK DAM, the official provider of digital audience measurement figures in Spain. At the end of 2022, AS registered more than 14,970,000 unique users, a figure that confirms the PRISA Media newspaper as the gold standard for sports news in Spanish.
The radio division, which brings together audience-leading channels such as SER, LOS40 and Caracol Radio, among others, continues to consolidate its position globally with 23 million daily listeners worldwide, 5% more than in 2021.
In Spain, four out of ten listeners listen to a PRISA Media station, a total of 9,362,000 daily listeners, confirming the Group's position of leadership, according to the latest data from the General Media Study (EGM). Cadena SER maintains its position as the most-listened-to radio station: 4,161,000 listeners, 441,000 more than its closest competitor. In music radio, PRISA Media is the absolute leader in Spain with a market share of over 45%. The LOS40 community alone (LOS40, LOS40 Classic, LOS40 Urban and LOS40 Dance) has more than 3,900,000 listeners a day. LOS40's main brand alone has 43% more audience than its main competitor.
Radio remains firmly committed to multichannel distribution, innovation and the creation of new digital audio content. Thus, the Group has continued to strengthen its presence in audio, establishing itself in 2022 as the world's leading producer of digital audio in Spanish and second worldwide, after the US iHeart Radio. PRISA Audio registered 574 million downloads (+39%) and 971 million listening hours in 2022, representing growth of 39% and 17%, respectively.
A commitment to sustainability
2022 was also a year of a firm and determined commitment to sustainability. The Group launched the 2022-2025 Sustainability Master Plan in November with the aim of integrating ESG criteria across the organization and aligning its commitments in this area with the objectives of its Strategic Plan and promoting them under the PRISA Impacta umbrella.
This plan was yet another key step forward in PRISA's commitment to sustainability in a year during which decisive steps were taken, with the creation of the Sustainability Committee at the beginning of the year and the Group's Sustainability Department, both led by women.
A clear commitment to the participation of women in the management teams of the Group prompted the company to sign up to the IBEX Gender Equality Index last June, which brings together the 40 listed companies to have the highest participation of women, both on their boards of directors and in senior management. PRISA currently has a 35.7% female presence on its Board of Directors and its three committees are chaired by women. In addition, in 2022, the company has improved its position by 13 points in the Bloomberg ESG Transparency Index.
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