The blues from Spain: Losses of Major Spanish media companies deepen

Major Spanish media groups with presence in the United States and Latin America are going through tough times, although Grupo Planeta continues to operate in the black. This is mostly because of the continued difficult economic environment in Spain as well as  high debt loads. Below what a look at the P&L  of Unidad Editorial, Grupo Prisa and  Grupo Planeta reveals.

Photo: License Creative Commons
Photo: License Creative Commons

Prisa’s operating losses were of little more than 172 million euros (or US $230 million) during the first 9 months of 2013. Unidad Editorial registered operating losses of almost 40 million euros (US $53.6 million). Vocento losses were of 3, 6 million euros (US $5.4 million). Planeta was the only group to register operative profits  with a positive outcome of around 58 million euros (US $76 million).

COLOMBIA HAY FESTIVALOver the last decade major Spain headquartered media groups significantly expanded in the Americas enticed by growth opportunities as well as cultural and language affinities. However, the above mentioned economic difficulties have slowed this expansion somewhat. Let’s look into the figures:


prisaGrupo Prisa is the publisher of newspaper El Pais, as well as sports print and digital property As. It also owns major radio assets in Spain, the U.S. (Grupo Latino de Radio) and Latin America. Other major assets include  the Santillana text book publishing company.  During the first three quarters of the year  Prisa registered operating losses of 172, 06 million euros, compared  to a profit of 155, 80 million euros registered during the same period of 2012. Prisa registered a consolidated revenues of 2.011,22 million euros  during the January-September period. According to Digimedios, 0.7% above the 1997.54 million euros recorded during the same period last year. All units earnings went down except for the Pay-TV unit. Advertising revenues decreased by 5, 9% to 377, 95 million euros. Grupo Prisa also had to pay around 15.5  million euros to compensate workers who have been laid off. In addition, the goodwill value of the Digital  unit (Prisa Digital) was reduced to  207 million euros (aproximately US $280 million. Together with its financial results, Prisa also reported to the CNMV (the Spanish Securities and Exchange Commission) that in September it sold its 42% stake in U.S. Hispanic broadcaster V-Me. Separately, Grupo Prisa is seeking to reach an agreement with creditors to refinance more than 3 billion euros ($4 billion) in debt as early as this week, two people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.Earlier this month, Prisa obtained a new credit line of 350 million euros to cover some financing needs.

Unidad Editorial

unidad-editorial.logo_-290x134Unidad Editorial’s publishing assets include daily newspaper El Mundo as well as sports daily Marca.  Unidad Editorial had operating losses of 39, 9 million euros in the January-September 2013 period, according to information published by its Italian parent company RCS Mediagroup. Losses were much lower than last year losses of 364 million euros. In 2012 the P&L was affected bya  substantial write off of the assets of publisher Grupo Recoletos, which Unidad Editorial bought in 2007. As regards to advertising revenues, Unidad Editorial ad revenues  decreased by  16,1% from 124 million euros to 104 million. Digital Advertising revenues amounted to  24 million euros in digital advertising revenues or 23.1% of total advertising revenue.

Grupo Planeta

grupo.planeta.logo_Grupo Planeta is a major book publisher in the Spanish-speaking world and also has substantial holdings in the TV, radio and newspaper sectors.  During fiscal  2012 Grupo Planeta had an operating surplus of 112,083 million euros, a 38, 3% decline compared to the 181,733 million euros of 2011. During 2012, Grupo Planeta’s sales amounted to 1.648,220 million euros (1.969,173 million in 2011). According to information included in the management report attached to the financial statement previously mentioned, the company’s sales decrease  was mainly due to the sale of the 55% stake Planeta had in the Colombian publishing house El Tiempo, publisher of newspaper El Tiempo. Planeta recently sold its stake in El Tiempo.


vocentoVocento, the publisher of Spanish national daily ABC as well as a many regional newspapers,  had operating losses of 3,6 million of euros during the first three quarters of 2013. This is less than half the losses it incurred during the same period of 2012. Revenues fell by 14, 1% to 386  million euros compared to 449  million during the same period of 2012. Print media continues to have the biggest amount of revenues Vocento with a 65% share of total, it is followed by audiovisual (radio, TV and production) as well as the Internet.