2020 Summary
Group’s key figures 2020

Key results in 2020

net profit
the share of digital revenue of group's revenue
digital subscriptions throughout the Baltics
digital subscriptions growth
monthly real users across Delfi portals in Baltics
regularly published miscellaneous periodicals in Estonia
online media platforms all over the Baltics
group companies

Statement of the chairman of the management board

The year 2020 was a breakthrough year for the Group’s media publications in terms of the growth of digital subscriptions. The key reason for the growth in digital subscriptions was the change in the attitudes and habits of people: they are more willing to pay for high-quality digital content in their own language. The change was supported by the general background – objective journalism is more and more appreciated in a society dominated by global fragmented information. A major setback hit the Group in mid-March when the Baltic States imposed a state of emergency to curb the spread of the coronavirus. This in turn led to sudden changes in the economic environment. The most susceptible companies to the effects of the restrictions were the Group’s media companies, especially outdoor media and the ticket sales platform in Latvia. As we look back on the past year we can state that owing to our quick reaction, clear and open communication, keeping of promises, correct management decisions, and the loyalty and contribution of all Group employees, Ekspress Grupp was able to cope with the corona crisis and continue to provide our readers with what they needed the most - fast, relevant and reliable information in the most appropriate channels.

– Mari-Liis Rüütsalu, Chairman of the Management Board

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Major business results

Summary of
business results

Sales, EBITDA and EBITDA margin
EBITDA margin %
In 2020, the consolidated revenue totalled EUR 63.2 million (2019: EUR 67.5 million) that is 6% lower compared to 2019. Decrease is mainly due to the impact of the COVID-19 situation in the second quarter and the decreased sales revenues in the printing services segment throughout the year. Digital revenue accounted for 49% of total revenue and 71% of media segment revenue (2019: 45% of total revenue and 69% of media segment revenue, respectively). Despite COVID-19 impact in the 2nd quarter the Group managed to increase the digital revenues, specifically the digital subscription revenues during the year. The Group ended the year with approximately 81 thousand subscriptions, a net increase of more than 34 thousand, equal to 73% of increase.
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In 2020, the consolidated EBITDA totalled EUR 7.00 million (2019: EUR 6.77 million). EBITDA increased by 3% as compared to the previous year and the EBITDA margin was 11.1% (2019: 10.0%). Profitability was positively impacted by cost savings implemented throughout the entire Group and the salary subsidy of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund in the amount of EUR 1.14 million. In 2020, due to the continuing impact of COVID-19 on the economic situation, the Group has recognized a one-time impairment of property, plant and equipment in the amount of EUR 1.0 million. Compared to 2019, the Group has lost approximately EUR 4.2 million in sales revenue, mainly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, while EUR 5.4 million have been saved in expenses compared to the same period. The net profit for 2020 totalled EUR 2.54 million which is 80% and EUR 1.13 million higher than in 2019. The net profit was positively impacted by the continuous cost savings, the recovery of sales revenue and the adjustment of fair value of unpaid future liability of the acquisition price of the ticket sales platform, which was recognized as a one-time financial income of EUR 0.7 million.
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Cash position
At the end of the reporting period, the Group had available cash in the amount of EUR 6.3 million and equity in the amount of EUR 54.6 million (58% of total assets). The comparable data as of 31 December 2019 were EUR 3.6 million and EUR 51.6 million (54% of total assets), respectively. As of 31 December 2020, the Group’s net debt totalled EUR 15.9 million (31 December 2019: EUR 20.7 million). Due to the state of emergency related to COVID-19, the Group concluded an agreement with AS SEB Pank to suspend loan payments in the period of March-August 2020 (EUR 1.2 million) and with AS Citadele banka in the period of June-November 2020 (EUR 0.3 million). The salary subsidy received from the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund (EUR 1.14 million) and the postponement of the payment of tax arrears (EUR 1.60 million) due to the state of emergency for the period of 24 months had an additional positive impact on the Group's cash position.
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Summary of
business results

Sales revenue - media vs printing services segment
Printing services segment
Media segment
% of digital and online revenue from total media revenue
% of digital and online revenue from total group revenue
EBITDA - media vs printing services segment
Printing services segment
Media segment
Media Segment
The year 2020 was a year of fast growth in terms of digital media consumption. The year was characterised by the following trends:
• a surge of interest in paid digital content in all of our key markets, i.e. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania,
• rapid adjustment of the digital advertising market to the COVID-19 pandemic and a recovery from the peak of the virus outbreak in spring,
• more acute awareness of the need to safeguard fair competition in the global as well as local media market: increasing interest in market distortions of digital media created by major Internet platforms across in the world and raising of fundamental questions in respect of the role of the state in the Baltic media market.

One year ago we were expecting continued growth in digital subscriptions, i.e. increasing interest of consumers in high-quality journalism and increasing interest in buying digital products. The market was indeed moving in this direction and even more rapidly than we had expected. The total number of digital subscriptions of Ekspress Grupp, the largest provider of digital subscriptions for the written press in our target markets increased by 73% in the Baltic States. Paid digital subscriptions launched by Delfi Latvia and Delfi Lithuania a year earlier continued their rapid growth, increasing by 250% and 700%, respectively, in a year. Considering the outlook of how many total consumers of digital content and how many consumers of paid digital content there are in our target markets, it can be said with certainty that in the digital world, the business model of paid subscriptions in our markets is still in the early growth phase.

For the Baltic media houses, the biggest competitors in terms of financial resources in the digital advertising market are still international Internet platforms. In 2020, the activities of large technology companies fell under the scrutiny of legislators and competition regulators all around the world, incl. in the USA that is home to the Internet platforms predominantly consumed here. Although the investigations and court cases may still take years, on the basis of preliminary data it can already be said that the market power of these giants has made the society reflect and ask critical questions about the market power regulation, social and economic effects as well as future fair taxation. We are witnessing that consumers will clearly benefit from the ongoing processes, both in terms of privacy protection as well as improvement of freedom of choice when it comes to consumption of media. The activities of regulators will probably also have a balancing effect on the competitive positions over the long term, for example, the dominant platforms will become more open when it comes to their cooperation with media organisations, new business models will appear, etc.

During the year, the activities of publicly funded broadcasting companies came also under more scrutiny in our target markets. As there is sufficiently strong competition and a variety of opinions in terms of the production of online news among private media houses, according to the media companies state intervention in these markets is by no means justified or necessary. In respect of the digital news media in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, there are no market distortions that the states should resolve through publicly owned media houses with growing budgets. The media companies that have been active in the local market for years find it difficult to understand why taxpayers’ money should be used to build online entertainment portals or streaming platforms, or to produce content for them in the areas where the private sector is already active. To obtain fair assessment in the crucial issue related to the future of private media and if needed, more precise regulations, the Estonian and Lithuanian media companies turned to the European Commission in the year ended.

This year, we expect the continuation of current trends, strong growth of high-quality digital content, more and better choices for readers and certain reorganisation of digital markets, and clearer definition of competition that is related to the activities of Internet giants and national partners. Our expectations of the Baltic digital market in 2021 are as follows:
- greater popularity of the subscription-based business model in all markets, continued growth of costs made by consumers in digital content, growth in the number of those consumers who have multiple active subscriptions from different content providers in the same market
- fast development of smaller market sectors in the digital landscape, incl. accelerating growth of the subscriptions of business customers, widespread adoption of the subscription business model by periodicals with narrower customer groups
- certain stabilisation of the competitive situation in the local advertising market with international platforms.
In 2020, media segment revenue totalled EUR 43.7 million (2019: EUR 44.2 million). In the 4th quarter, advertising revenue demonstrated decent recovery. After the 2nd quarter, it is evident that advertising customers prefer the Internet and this has put paper In 2020, media segment revenue totalled EUR 43.7 million (2019: EUR 44.2 million). In the 4th quarter, advertising revenue demonstrated decent recovery. After the 2nd quarter, it is evident that advertising customers prefer the Internet. Print advertising revenue decreased as the COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated secular trends, largely impacting the entertainment, media and luxury categories.

The state of emergency related to COVID-19 still has the most profound impact on the Latvian ticket sales platform, where the Latvian State has imposed a 50% limit on the occupancy rate of events and starting from the middle of 4th quarter called the state of emergency and closed all the events. The Latvian government extended the state of emergency till 4th of April 2021. It is currently unforeseeable when major events can restart to a normal degree. The Group is positive about the vaccination process in Latvia and in Baltics in general and believes that in the second half of 2021 the local smaller events are back on the market.

Digital media is growing as expected. At the end of the 4th quarter of 2020, the Group's digital revenue accounted for 49% of total revenue and 71% of media segment revenue.

In 2020, media segment EBITDA was EUR 6.6 million (2019: EUR 6.0 million). As compared to the previous year, EBITDA increased by 11%. This was positively impacted by cost savings carried out throughout the Group and employee salary cuts as well as the salary subsidy received from the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fun. The subsidy was accrued as income in the amount of EUR 0.8 million.

The joint venture Õhtuleht Kirjastus AS, a key media company on the Estonian market is recognised under the equity method and included as one-line item within finance income in the Group's results. In 2020, the revenue totalled EUR 13.4 million (2019: EUR 13.8 million). Despite the state of emergency in the 2nd quarter, the advertising and distribution revenue of Õhtuleht Kirjastus AS has remained stable throughout the year.
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Printing Services Segment
In 2020, the revenue of AS Printall totalled EUR 21.4 million (2019: EUR 25.7 million). Revenue decreased by 17% as compared to last year and this was primarily due to COVID-19 and the resulting decline in printing volumes. The revenue of printing services has declined in Estonia also due to the decline of the share of print media and advertising brochures of large store chains.

The Group still has strong customer relations in the Nordic countries and Western Europe, as result of which Printall has managed to maintain its share of exports despite the restrictions caused by COVID-19. In 2020, the share of revenue outside Estonia was 62% in 2020 (2019: 63%).

In 2020, EBITDA was EUR 2.2 million (2019: EUR 2.0 million). In 2020, EBITDA grew by 9% year-over-year. This was primarily impacted by the change in the structure of products related to COVID-19, as a consequence of which the segment production volumes have fallen but the company has managed to increase the profitability of Individual subscriptions.

In the 1st half of the year, AS Printall completed the installation of semi-finished product collection systems for magazine web press and flow-feed systems for binding machines with loading equipment for semi-finished product. It was represented the largest investment of the last few years and was launched in 2019. As a result of the investment, the production process of the printing house has been significantly automated. After the installation of the equipment, AS Printall has automated the work of about 25 people who were laid off during the 1st quarter of 2020. In 2021, the company plans to continue making investments to increase production efficiency and modernise its equipment park for the purpose of finding opportunities to improve profitability.

The Group's goal is the keep the printing service area as a diversified and modern area with innovative approaches where in today's changing environment the company can quickly adapt to various changes that impact the area.
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Digital subscriptions
The number of digital subscriptions of the Group increased by 73% across all Baltic States and totalled 81 254 at the end of December 2020.
● The number of digital subscriptions of AS Ekspress Meedia that publishes the news portal Delfi, newspapers Eesti Päevaleht, Maaleht, Eesti Ekspress and several popular magazines increased by 53% year-over-year and reached 49 696.
● At the same time, the number of digital subscriptions of AS Õhtuleht, 50% of which is owned by Ekspress Grupp, increased by 36% to 13 820.
● The market share of Ekspress Grupp in the digital subscriptions of all Estonian media outlets (according to the data by the Estonian Association of Media Enterprises) was 50% at the end of December.
● In Latvia, the number of digital subscriptions of Ekspress Grupp increased by almost 2.5 times and totalled 11 143 at the year-end. In Lithuania, the number of digital subscriptions totalled 6 595 at the year-end, increasing by almost 7.0 times in a year. Both in Latvia and Lithuania, digital subscriptions are not as widespread as in Estonia with Ekspress Grupp launching them in the market in 2019.
The year 2020 was a breakthrough year for digital subscriptions of the Group's periodicals in all markets. The driver behind the growth of subscriptions was the change in the attitudes and habits of people who are more willing to pay for digital content in their home language. The general background also supported this change – in the world dominated by fragmented information societies, objective journalism is increasingly more appreciated. Ekspress Grupp has been the most successful Estonian media company in terms of its digital subscriptions. The most popular subscription is Delfi’s complete package that provides access to the largest media outlets of Ekspress Grupp (except for Õhtuleht).
The Group launched the sale of paid content in Latvia and Lithuania only in 2019. The preliminary results in these markets also demonstrate that readers are willing to gradually embrace the digital subscription model. It is expected higher growth in the Latvian and Lithuanian market in the upcoming years.
At the time when two-thirds of the digital advertising funds of the Baltic States is moving tax-free into the hands of major global platforms, such as Google and Facebook, the addition of new digital subscribers is crucial for the survival of local journalism.
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Performance indicators (EUR thousand) 2020 2019 Change % 2018 2017 2016
Sales revenue 63,243 67,456 -6% 60,489 54,070 53,324
EBITDA 7,004 6,772 3% 4,263 6,261 7,280
EBITDA margin (%) 11.1% 10.0%
7.0% 11.6% 13.7%
Operating profit* 3,078 2,722 13% 1,211 3,475 4,328
Operating margin *(%) 4.9% 4.0%
2.0% 6.4% 8.1%
Interest expenses (877) (784) -12% (443) (400) (471)
Profit (loss) of joint ventures under equity method 102 (38) 365% (273) (2) 772
Net profit/(loss) for the period* 2,536 1,407 80% 25 2,952 4,406
Net margin* (%) 4.0% 2.1%
0.0% 5.5% 8.3%
Net profit /(-loss) in the financial statements (incl. write-downs and gain from a change in ownership interest) 2,536 1,407 80% 25 3,146 4,406
Net margin (%) 4.0% 2.1%
0.0% 5.8% 8.3%
Return on assets ROA (%) 2.7% 1.6%
0.0% 4.2% 6.1%
Return on equity (%) 4.9% 2.8%
0.0% 6.1% 8.9%
Basic earnings per share 0.08 0.05
0.00 0.11 0.15
Diluted earnings per share 0.08 0.05
0.00 0.11 0.15
* The results reflect the outcome of regular business activities and do not include impairment losses on goodwill, gains from the changes in ownership interests in joint ventures, etc.

Balance sheet (EUR thousand) 31.12.2020 31.12.2019 Change % 31.12.2018 31.12.2017 31.12.2016
As of the end of the period

Current assets 18,482 19,472 -5% 15,631 16,725 16,250
Non-current assets 75,696 75,935 0% 63,286 62,597 61,507
Total assets 94,177 95,407 -1% 78,917 79,322 77,757
incl. cash and cash equivalents 6,269 3,647 72% 2,228 2,818 4,572
incl. goodwill 43,085 42,628 1% 39,799 39,920 38,904
Current liabilities 18,945 21,647 -12% 14,207 11,081 12,223
Non-current liabilities 20,613 22,137 -7% 14,276 15,747 14,462
Total liabilities 39,558 43,784 -10% 28,483 26,828 26,685
incl. borrowings 22,202 24,342 -9% 15,554 15,791 16,603
Equity 54,619 51,622 6% 50,434 52,494 51,073

Financial ratios (%)
31.12.2020 31.12.2019 31.12.2018 31.12.2017 31.12.2016
Equity ratio (%)
58% 54% 66% 69% 69%
Debt to equity ratio (%)
41% 47% 31% 29% 31%
Debt to capital ratio (%)
23% 29% 22% 21% 20%
Total debt/EBITDA ratio
3.17 3.59 3.63 2.44 2.17
Liquidity ratio
0.98 0.90 1.13 1.65 1.37
Main events of 2020


  • The Supervisory Board of AS Ekspress Grupp decided to merge UAB Login Conferences with UAB Delfi in Lithuania and dissolve the company UAB Sport Media. SIA Delfi Entertainment was dissolved in Latvia.
  • A new whollyowned subsidiary OÜ Ekspress Finants was set up through a spinoff from AS Printall and the Group’s financial unit was combined with it.
  • The real estate portal Kinnisvara24.ee broke its one-month visitor record when in the first month of the year people visited the portal for more than a million times and the number of visitors was higher than 400 000.
  • Kinnisvara24.ee is the only real estate portal in Estonia that collaborates with Rendin OÜ, a company that provides a rental contract service, as a result of which people who advertise their properties can rent them without requesting a deposit, and the real estate seekers can filter deposit-free rentals.
  • Ekspress Meedia arranged the icehockey game with HC Jokerit.


  • Ekspress Meedia consolidated all events that have taken or will take place into the portal Delfi Elamus.
  • Delfi Lithuania celebrated its 20-year anniversary with the event “Delfi Titans” that was broadcast to all Lithuanian TV viewers. At the festive ceremony held at the National Museum of Art in Vilnius, Delfi awarded prizes to the people who break stereotypes with their personal example and draw attention to key public phenomena and events.
  • Atverskapi, the classified ads portal of Latvian fashion goods, introduced a business model of feebased subscriptions.
  • AS Ekspress Grupp disclosed the unaudited consolidated interim report for the 4th quarter and twelve months of 2010.
  • DELFI-TV was launched as a national free-to-air frequency TV channel.
  • Delfi Lithuania was the first portal to introduce a new visual identity that Delfi will also adopt in Estonia and Latvia.
  • Ekspress Meedia organised a concert of Arvo Pärt’s children’s songs to the full house in Alexela concert hall.


  • AS Ekspress Grupp adopted measures across the Group to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, protect its employees, continue providing reliable and timely news to its audience and offer other group services. Where possible, employees were allowed to work remotely and salaries were temporarily reduced in the subsidiaries of the Group and the parent company.
  • Delfi launched special designs and elements for the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Ekspress Meedia effectively launched a social campaign "I'll Stay at Home".
  • In cooperation with the Estonian E-commerce Association, Delfi created a special project “Best E-offers”, the purpose of which is to use the huge traffic of the news portal to advertise the products and services of the members of the E-commerce Association.
  • Delfi Latvia updated its plus product with better original and exclusive content, and launched a function “Fewer Ads” for subscribers.
  • Ekspress Meedia arranged the Baltic E-Commerce Forum 2020.


  • AS Ekspress Grupp disclosed the unaudited consolidated interim report for the 1st quarter of 2020.
  • The Chairman of the Supervisory Board of AS Ekspress Grupp Ahto Pärl stepped down from the position of the member of the Supervisory Board and the member of the Audit Committee of Ekspress Grupp and the member of the Supervisory Board of AS Printall effective from 16 April 2020.
  • The most popular programme of Delfi “Erisaade” was listened to for 152 000 times.
  • Delfi Lithuania launched the Russian-language version of Delfi news portal ru.delfi.lt that immediately started to strongly attract new visitors.


  • The initiative Debunk that was launched two years ago to focus on debunking international disinformation also expanded to Estonian and Latvia. Lithuania launched a localized version of a disinformation education game.
  • The monitoring survey of Kantar Emor on the state of emergency revealed that more than 70%, i.e. the majority of the population of Estonia followed Delfi in the crisis situation.
  • Delfi Latvia launched a new product in the market to debunk fake news.


  • The ordinary general meeting of the shareholders of AS Ekspress Grupp took place.
  • The Supervisory Board of AS Ekspress Grupp elected Priit Rohumaa as the new Chairman of the Supervisory Board and the member of the Audit Committee.
  • DELFI significantly increased the volume and quality of paid content during the COVID outbreak that helped the portal to reach the level of 6 000 active monthly subscribers in June.
  • In cooperation with the Baltic Centre for Media Excellence, Delfi Latvia arranged a series of talk shows about the impact of COVID on journalism freedom.
  • Delfi Latvia launched a sports vertical www.mvp.lv with new subscription options.


  • AS Ekspress Grupp disclosed the unaudited consolidated interim report for the 2nd quarter and six months of 2020.
  • Delfi Lithuania launched a social campaign concerning the authors’ fund and allocation of subscription revenue to the authors.


  • Ekspress Meedia organised the concert of Ruja “Stainless World” and the piece of Maria Faust “Maarja missa” (Maria’s Mass Liturgy“) that was performed only once in St. John’s Church in Tallinn and that was dedicated to all the women who have fallen victim to violence.


  • Delfi continued its successful social campaign "Don't Read While Driving" and the series of (virtual) lake marathons.
  • On 10 September, the corona conference of Eesti Päevaleht was held where the Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, medical chief of Saaremaa hospital Edward Laane, head of the Health Board's emergency medical department Arkadi Popov, Chairman of the Management Board of Tallink Paavo Nõgene and others talked about the corona lessons.
  • Delfi Latvia increased the volume and quality of paid content, in September the portal had more than 7000 active monthly subscribers.
  • Delfi Latvia TV studio participated in the web talk show of the conversation festival “Lampa”.
  • In Lithuania, the new season of Delfi TV was launched in the course of which more than 50 programmes were shown and more than six hours of daily live programmes were broadcast.
  • Delfi Lithuania reached a new record of paid digital subscriptions related to the new Delfi Plius service.
  • Delfi Lithuania’s public survey showed that most users named Delfi portal as their primary news portal and it is considered as Lithuania’s most reliable and objective portal with the greatest variety of opinions.
  • The Technology and Innovation Conference "LogIn" was held in Lithuania.


  • AS Ekspress Grupp disclosed the unaudited consolidated interim report for the 3rd quarter and nine months of 2020.
  • Delfi Latvia launched the new financial counselling vertical for the private sector finhack.lv.


  • In conjunction with the exercising of the employee share option programme, the Supervisory Board of AS Ekspress Grupp increased the share capital by 600 000 euros from 17 878 104.60 euros to 18 478 104.60, by issuing 1 000 000 new ordinary shares with the nominal value of EUR 0.6 per share.


  • AS Ekspress Grupp announced of a change in the structure of the shareholders with significant holdings. Between 22 and 28 December 2020, OÜ HHL Rühm acquired 1 096 475 shares of Ekspress Grupp, thereby increasing the indirect ownership of Hans Luik in AS Ekspress Grupp to 60.28%. After the transaction, OÜ HHL Rühm owns 34.42% (10 599 525 shares) and Hans Luik owns 25.86% (7 963 307 shares) of the shares of AS Ekspress Grupp.
  • The number of digital subscriptions of Ekspress Grupp increased in Latvia by almost 250% in a year and totalled 11 143 at the year-end 2020. There were 6595 digital subscriptions in Lithuania at the year-end, the number of subscribers had increased by almost 700% in a year.
Ekspress Grupp Annual Report