The transformation process launched by Mondadori in 2013 was designed to accelerate development of the Group, bolstered by its tradition as a publishing house that has been in business for over a hundred years, in the complex and continually evolving universe of multimedia communications.
The year 2015 was a particularly significant one in the history of the Mondadori Group, during which the structural bases were set to handle the challenges linked to the company’s new growth phase.
First and foremost, positive results were confirmed for the path undertaken in prior years. The constant commitment with regard to containment of operating and overhead costs resulted in a significant improvement in profit, as well as in Mondadori’s capacity to generate financial resources.
The focus on core businesses also continued successfully, through measures for the strategic rationalisation of the assets portfolio. The extraordinary projects for the enhancement of a number of non-strategic assets completed during 2015, the most significant of which involved disposal of the majority of radio R101, further increased the availability of financial resources.
On the one hand, these positive results were used to reduce consolidated financial debt – which was nearly halved in less than 24 months – and, on the other, to sustain the Group’s strategic development plans with adequate resources.
In fact, 2015 marked the passage to a new phase for Mondadori, in which the Group resumed investing to strengthen its competitive position in its strategic business and to support the company’s growth process.
In July, Mondadori increased its stake in Gruner+Jahr/Mondadori to 100%, thereby enriching its portfolio with a successful brand like Focus, in line with the strategy to consolidate the Group’s leadership in the magazine market, concentrating on the most important titles and on those with the most digital development potential.
Lastly, the Group took a fundamental step in its strategic evolution during the month of October, through the agreement for acquisition of RCS Libri, which from 2016 will allow Mondadori to consolidate its presence in the Italian Trade books and school textbooks market, as well as in the international illustrated books segment (mainly in the US).
The Mondadori Group had a particularly positive start to the year 2016: after almost four years, revenue grew versus the prior year, a performance which confirms, along with the improvement in EBITDA for the tenth consecutive quarter, the success of the measures adopted over the past two years, paving the way to accomplishing the targets set for the full year, and marking the transition to the new phase of the Group’s development.
In light of the positive performance of the Group in the first half of the year and considering the integrations in progress, the forecasts for FY 2016 estimate on a like-for-like basis:
- revenue essentially in line with 2015
- a “high-single digit” growth in adjusted EBITDA, with a resulting increase in profitability;
including the effects of the consolidation of Rizzoli Libri (for 9 months) and Banzai Media Holding (for 7 months):
- revenue up by approximately 14% versus 2015
- adjusted EBITDA up by approximately 30%.
The net financial position is expected to increase versus Dec. 2015, with a NFP/EBITDA ratio of about 3.5x, lower than the bank covenant of 4.5x.
In 2016, the important plan launched in the Trade segment with a view to achieving greater efficiency through an in-depth review of the management model in the Mondadori Libri publishing houses will continue and shall be expanded to Rizzoli Libri, while keeping the editorial and cultural identity of its brands intact.
In the educational realm, the focus will be on:
• consolidation of market share in the school textbooks segment, also thanks to the possibility of an evolution in products with multi-media formats
• maintenance of the current profit levels
• in the illustrated books segment, strengthening of the market share and global expansion, also through the Rizzoli International Publishing network (company based in New York)
In the Italian magazine segment, after rationalising the number of titles while maintaining leadership at the distribution level, the current objective is to strengthen the sectors in which the Group has the greatest growth prospects, also on the web, and to create more effective integration between paper and online sales, also following acquisition of the digital activities of Banzai Media, accompanied by constant improvement in profitability within the area.
With regard to activities in France, a break-even point was achieved in 2015 at the operational level, following the increase in the digital and web audience. The current strategic guidelines will continue in 2016:
• strengthening positioning in the segments with the greatest opportunities for digital transformation and monetisation
• support of growth in digital advertising activities, in order to offset the physiological decline in traditional activities
• investment in the subscriptions channel, which in the first quarter of 2016 accounted for over half of the distribution revenues, a significant and growing contribution to revenues in the area.
The Group’s over 560 stores are a meeting place for over 20 million people each year in Italy. The strategic guidelines for the future will focus on:
• ongoing development of the network of franchised bookstores
• the directly managed bookstores, introduction of new services and the multi-channel concept
• focus on the Book category across all sales channels
• constant revision of operating and overhead costs structure in order to improve profitability