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Ringier AG: Operating profit 2019 increased again
The digital share of the Ringier Group’s operating profit increased for the seventh time in a row in the 2019 financial year, amounting to 72%. EBITDA grew for the fifth time in succession to reach CHF 114.1 million (2018: CHF 113.0 million). Revenue was down slightly (2019: CHF 984.8 million vs. 2018: CHF 1004.2 million) due to portfolio streamlining, the declining advertising market and reduced income from the print sector, with this being offset by increased digital income. The EBITDA margin now amounts to 11.6% (+0.3 percentage points compared to the previous year).
Despite a drop in advertising income and slightly lower revenue, 2019 was a solid year for Ringier AG. ‘The digital share of EBITDA is an indicator that shows how successfully a company is handling the vital digital transformation. At 72%, Ringier is now one of Europe’s top media companies when it comes to implementing this transformation in a systematic way. Foresight and a decent dose of entrepreneurial spirit, paired with strong, precise execution and persistence, have got us to where we are today,’ says Marc Walder, Ringier AG’s CEO.
Expansion of the Board of Directors
Laura Rudas and Roman Bargezi will be joining Ringier AG’s Board of Directors from summer 2020 onwards. Laura Rudas is Executive Vice President Strategy at the US-based software company Palantir Technologies, which specialises in analysing big data. She is responsible for strategy and international growth at Palantir, with a focus on supporting executives at global companies and assisting government representatives with digital transformation. Alongside her degree in Political Science, Laura Rudas completed a Sloan Fellowship at Stanford University. Before joining Palantir Technologies, she spent more than six years as an elected member of the Austrian parliament and more than five years as Europe’s youngest Secretary General for Austria’s Social Democrats, who were in power at the time.
As part of the Ringier family’s succession planning, Roman Bargezi, son of Ringier’s co-owner Evelyn Lingg, will become the sixth generation to join the Board of Directors. Roman Bargezi has spent thirteen years in various roles in the banking and IT sectors and at ETH Zurich. In addition, he is the Managing Director of RIBALI AG’s family office and has been a delegate of Ringier Art & Immobilien AG’s Board of Directors since 2020.
‘The fact that we are furthering our digital expertise at board level is a clear sign to Ringier’s shareholders that we are firmly resolved to continue the group’s digital transformation,’ says Marc Walder. As representatives of minority shareholder la Mobilière, Urs Berger, chair of the Board of Directors, and Markus Hongler, la Mobilière’s CEO, will also sit on Ringier AG’s Board of Directors.
A steady focus, despite the coronavirus crisis
At present, it is not yet possible to calculate the impact that the coronavirus crisis has had on Ringier AG’s economic position, but it is assumed that it will amount to tens of millions. Despite the impact of coronavirus, Ringier’s focus remains the same, as Marc Walder explains: ‘We will continue to invest in independent journalism, digital marketplaces and cutting-edge technology.’
Everything was going to plan for Ringier in 2020 until the initial impact of the coronavirus pandemic made itself felt on certain divisions of the company: while Ringier’s media brands reached record hit rates, advertising income slumped. Large-scale events and concerts were cancelled, meaning that businesses such as Ticketcorner temporarily lost the ability to do business more or less overnight. Digital job boards are feeling the cooldown in the recruitment market, but Ringier AG’s e-commerce division, including DeinDeal and geschenkidee.ch, is seeing positive trends.
Jordan Wolfson adds an artistic touch to Ringier’s Annual Report
The 2019 Ringier Annual Report was designed by the American artist Jordan Wolfson. He takes readers on an emotional journey through the life of John F. Kennedy Jr., a life that was inevitably accompanied by media scrutiny. Another American icon adorns the cover of the Annual Report: Groucho Marx, the most famous member of the legendary Marx Brothers. Jordan Wolfson takes Groucho Marx’s unmistakable features (his moustache, glasses and bushy eyebrows) and uses thick brushstrokes to paint them on top of photos of John F. Kennedy Jr., distorting the images. His friends, including Sarah Jessica Parker, a raft of other celebrities and the current US President Donald Trump are all part of his scenes. Born in New York City in 1980, Jordan Wolfson is one of the most well-known representatives of a younger generation of artists. His works include films, videos and digital animations, which also find expression in photos or sculptures. As a result, images of the media and the media industry’s mechanisms of action are central to his works, both in terms of topics and material.
Ringier’s Annual Report has been produced in collaboration with a well-known artist since 1997 and published in a limited print run. The 2019 Ringier Annual Report is available to download in German, English and French or can be ordered via firstname.lastname@example.org.