Friday, April 11, 2008

BPN 1065 The first post-Apax annual report of PCM

Last year was an annum horribilis for the Dutch newspaper and book conglomerate PCM. The private equity company Apax had left PCM in 2007, taking 140 million euro in profits along in its exit after four years and leaving the conglomerate with a negative own capital. This year the figures of PCM look rosier, but the future of the conglomerate is still uncertain.

The situation has changed this year by using a set of tricks. By converting the deferred loans into shares the own capital of the conglomerate is now 271 million euro and positive again. And the debt has been halved to 316 million euro; a sum which has to decrease in the coming year. The turn-over slightly rose last year to 644 million euro and the company result grew almost twenty percent to 45 million euro.

The main share of the revenues still comes from newspaper sales and subscriptions as well as advertisements. Deducting the turn-over of the book division (96 million euro) and of the educational division (64,5 million euro), the turn-over from newspapers and newspaper related activities is 483,5 million euro. Volkskrant and NRC Handelsblad are the money makers, while AD, a joint venture with Wegener, is positive. For the newspapers PCM is afraid of the paper prices and the price for newspaper distribution; it does not expect any re-organisation in the newspaper sector. PCM expects the free newspaper Dag, a joint venture of KPN and PCM, to cost another 10 million euro in the coming year, before it shows black figures. Dag recently underwent a restyling and gets now editorial input from De Volkskrant; it is no longer a red rag.

PCM is taking some accountancy measures. After the Apax exit, the company was forced to an investigation by the Enterprise Chamber of the Amsterdam Court. Now PCM has announced that it will report its annual figures according to the international accountancy method IFRS. It will be done for transparency and for comparison with competitors.

PCM has no plans for mergers or acquisitions. Last year the merger with NDC/VBK was called off. The coming year will be used to consolidate business. PCM does not aim at a broadening of its base any longer to decrease the dependence on newspaper. For the time being it will remain a newspaper and book conglomerate. As mentioned in yesterday’s posting the educational division ThiemeMeulenhoff will sold off and the money received will be used to relieve the debt.

Blog Posting Number: 1065


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