2018 is undoubtedly a milestone in the history of our group: the acquisition of the additional 50% in Medialaan was completed at the end of January so the audiovisual activities are now 100% consolidated and we can start the integration with the publishing activities; and in December we acquired Independer, the largest comparison site for insurance and financial services in the Netherlands, an acquisition that will only be included in the consolidation as from the 2019 financial year.
But 2018 was also a record year financially: by acquiring Medialaan the operating income rose to € 1,581 million (+ 9%), the operating cash flow reached € 241 million (+ 11%), and the net current profit amounted to € 126 mio ( + 15%).
“2018 is without a doubt a milestone in the history of our group.”
The acquisitions of Medialaan and Independer obviously have a significant impact on the group’s financial situation: the net financial debt increased significantly from € 21 million to € 417 million, an unusually high level for The Persgroep. But taking into account the future contribution for Independer, the debt ratio with regard to the operating cash flow does not exceed 1.6.
Both acquisitions will allow The Persgroep to accelerate its digital transformation in both of its home markets, Belgium and the Netherlands. Denmark is also making great progress in this regard.
The Board is confident that the talent of our collaborators will allow the integration and the transformation to be successful. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank the nearly 5,000 collaborators of our group for the passion with which they develop The Persgroep every day.
Ludwig Criel ,
Chairman of the Board of Directors