PRISA, the publishing group of EL PAÍS, recorded a positive net result of 100,000 euros in the first quarter of 2022, compared to losses of 13.8 million in the same period of the previous year, thanks to the restructuring undertaken throughout 2021 and the continuous operational improvement of its Education and Media divisions, as reported by the media group to the National Securities and Markets Commission (CNMV).
Between January and March last, the group reached revenues of 210.6 million euros, which is 32.8% more than in the same period of the previous year, as reported by the group to the supervisor. The reopening of schools in Latin America and the decisive boost of subscription models (Edtech) boosted the Education business, which registered an increase in revenue of 56.6% in the first quarter of the year. PRISA Media, for its part, recorded income of 7.2% more thanks to the growth of the payment model and the good performance of advertising (+11%). Digital revenue increased its contribution by 33% to represent 39% of the group’s total, explains the company.
The gross operating result (Ebitda), excluding compensation, reached 43.8 million euros compared to 17.1 million a year earlier, which represents an increase of 156.3%. The exchange rate has had a positive effect of 4.8 million euros on revenues and 800,000 euros on Ebitda during the first quarter of 2022, mainly due to the revaluation of the Brazilian real.
The group has achieved a positive cash generation of 40.8 million euros in the first quarter of the year, 89% more than in the same period of the previous year thanks to operational improvements, control of capital investments and a optimal management of working capital. As of March 31, the company’s cash was 216 million euros, with 99 million liquidity lines not available. Net bank debt stood at the end of March 2022 at 796 million euros compared to 825 million in December 2021.
The commitment to digital transformation continues to push the figures: nearly 2.5 million students in subscription models in Latin America (500,000 more than in December); 196,228 subscribers in EL PAÍS (of which 155,939 are exclusively digital); 77.4 million hours per month on average streaming (+19%) and 46 million podcast downloads (+49%).
PRISA faces 2022 with positive figures that reflect the fruits of the transformation undertaken by the company throughout the past year. The restructuring undertaken, the firm commitment to the digital business, the clear recovery of the businesses, both in Education and Media, and the new financial culture allow the group to present a significant improvement in its results for the first quarter of the year. In addition, the recent signing of the debt refinancing agreement gives it the necessary flexibility to focus on business development, providing medium-term financial stability, extending the maturity of the debt and establishing improvements in margins linked to ESG criteria ( environmental, social and governance, for its acronym in English), the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.
“The group is at a decisive moment in which all the changes undertaken allow us to approach the future focused on business growth and focused on the interest of our shareholders and employees. We have presented a medium-term strategic plan with defined and clear objectives, which we are focused on executing, and the results of the first quarter reflect that the path set is the right one. These first months of the year have been very good for the company, continuing the positive trend that we had been registering. We maintain the forecasts set at the beginning of the year, without forgetting that we must be cautious in the face of the uncertainty arising from the war in Ukraine and the economic consequences that it may entail,” said Joseph Oughourlian, president of PRISA.
Regarding the detail of the figures of the Education division, the return to school normality in Latin America after the pandemic has made it possible to register a positive start to the year, but it has been above all the promotion of subscription models (Edtech ) which have grown exponentially to register 2,480,000 subscribers, which represents an increase of 38.4% compared to the first quarter of 2021 and 25% compared to the number of subscribers registered at the end of last December.
The covid-19 crisis has highlighted the need for a more digitized education and the commitment that Santillana had been making with educational services based on Edtech systems has boosted this rapid growth. In the breakdown by country, the increase in subscriptions in Colombia is noteworthy, where they have grown by 29%, followed by Mexico (+27%) and Brazil (+20%). It is also worth noting the strong jump made in other countries such as Ecuador and Chile, both with growth of over 150%.
These data reaffirm Santillana’s commitment to digital transformation, whose subscription models already represent its main source of income and reconfirm PRISA’s educational business leadership in Latin America, being the only platform present in 20 countries on the continent.
Thus, in the first quarter of the year as a whole, Santillana registered total income of 128.4 million euros, 56.6% more than a year before. In the private business, these grew by 53%, with a strong increase both in the subscription business described above and in the didactic business, which has been reinforced by an extraordinary sale in Argentina. In public business, revenues have also improved despite not being a relevant quarter. The good behavior of income has translated into an improvement in EBITDA without compensation of 91.7% (44.5 million euros in total, compared to 23.2 million a year earlier).
During the first quarter of the year, PRISA Media maintained the positive trend of recent months thanks to the continued growth of the subscription model of EL PAÍS, the good performance of advertising revenue, as well as the leadership position in the markets where the media of PRISA are present.
Between January and March 2022, the Media division registered a flat Ebitda without compensation, which represents an operational improvement if one takes into account that a year earlier it had registered a negative 4.8. Revenues amounted to 82.5 million euros, which represents an increase of 7.2% compared to the first quarter of 2021. Advertising revenues grew by 11% in the period. Despite the low visibility and the uncertainty created by the Ukraine crisis, advertising has remained in line with expectations, although the extraordinary performance of Colombia stands out thanks to the continuous improvement in market share.
Revenue from circulation reached 13.2 million euros, which represents an increase of 3.1% thanks to the growth in digital subscriptions (+33.8%) of El PAÍS. These figures reaffirm the commitment that elgGrupo is making after the launch in May 2020 of the EL PAÍS payment model, which has reached a total of 196,228 subscribers, which represents an increase of 49% compared to the same date of the previous year. Of these, 155,939 are digital exclusives, 55% more than in the first quarter of 2021. In this period, 6.6 million registered users were reached, which represents a growth of 14%.
Regarding the audio business, the digital commitment can be seen in the number of podcast downloads, which has grown by 49% compared to a year earlier, reaching 46 million; while 77.4 million hours per month have been recorded on average streaming (+19%).
Radio (SER, LOS40, Caracol Radio, ADN Chile, among others) has continued to lead the audience with more than 22 million listeners in total. Cadena SER continues as the undisputed leader in Spain with a total of 4,366,000 listeners, according to the latest wave of the EGM made public recently.
Commitment to Sustainability
Sustainability is one of the pillars of growth and future development of the group. Recently, the company has appointed Rosa Junquera Director of Sustainability after announcing the creation of the Sustainability Commission within the Board of Directors with the aim of decisively promoting the company’s strategy by aligning all of the organization’s management with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The group has defined five SDGs as priorities, to which it contributes specifically by giving visibility through its media and through the dissemination work of Santillana Latin America: quality education (SDG 4), gender equality (SDG 5) , decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), climate action (SDG 13) and the fight for peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG 16).
PRISA has been part of the UN Global Compact since 2009 and has been a member of the Spanish Network since 2016, the largest voluntary corporate social responsibility initiative in the world. In addition, it collaborates with multiple foundations and organizations and is present in different indices linked to ESG criteria such as the FTSE4Good or the MSCI, among others.