Ringier generates increased revenue, EBITDA and net profit in 2016

Ringier achieved significant increases in both net profit and revenue in 2016. For the last eight years, the Group has consistently pursued a strategy of transforming itself into a diversified, digital enterprise. As the 2016 results demonstrate, this is now bearing fruit. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) came in at CHF 108.3 million, up 13 percent on their 2015 level. 62 percent of these earnings were generated by Ringier’s digital businesses. Revenue advanced to CHF 1,049.2 million, an 11 percent increase on 2015. Net profit after tax amounted to CHF 22.8 million, double the figure for 2015.

Ringier continues to reap the rewards of the investments it has made in transforming and digitalising its businesses. In 2016, the Group’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) reached CHF 108.3 million, up from CHF 96.1 million a year earlier. Net profit doubled, from CHF 11.3 million to CHF 22.8 million. This positive performance primarily reflects the continuing growth of the Group’s digital marketplaces and the fact that the results generated by Ringier Axel Springer Switzerland’s Swiss magazine portfolio are fully consolidated in the 2016 accounts. 2016 saw a marked increase in Group revenue, which reached CHF 1,049.2 million, up from CHF 946 million the year before. Ringier now has operations in 19 countries, produces over 150 individual publications and operates some 200 digital platforms as well as more than 90 mobile apps.

In the words of Marc Walder, Ringier’s CEO, “Consistent pursuit of our diversification and digitalisation strategy is bearing fruit. The proportion of our EBITDA operating profit generated by our digital business models has already reached 62 percent. This demonstrates the massive extent to which we have reduced our dependence on our core businesses of publishing newspapers and magazines and operating printing plants. Our digital marketplaces are now the largest source of Group profit.”

In a period marked by fundamental changes and disruptions, Ringier’s strategic decision to invest more than CHF 1.7 billion in promising new business areas has proved to be a sound one. As recently as 2012, Ringier’s digital businesses still accounted for less than one percent of Group operating earnings.

Group performance by business area:

Technology & Data is a new business area created in early 2016. Its mission is to take a strategic approach to developing technology-based and data-driven business models and to combine them across the Ringier Group. The unit encompasses Innovation & Platforms, an agile project-management and development department, and Ringier IT, which comprises the Group’s conventional IT departments.
Ringier has also recruited a Data Protection Officer. This is a new post which has been created to ensure that the increasing requirements arising in the field of data protection are suitably and effectively met.  

2016 was a successful year for Ringier Digital. The revenue and operating profit generated by its Swiss companies achieved double-digit growth. By entering into smart cooperation agreements both within and outside Ringier and by transferring knowledge across the Group, this business area further strengthened its market position.
Last year saw the Scout24 Group join forces with DieMobiliar, Switzerland’s oldest private insurer, as a powerful new strategic partner. By working with DieMobiliar, Scout24 Switzerland was able to create an ecosystem comprising a host of attractive new offerings for the home and car, thus meeting the needs of its users even more comprehensively. These initiatives enabled Scout24 Switzerland to increase its profitability further in 2016.
The JobCloud Group continues to grow and is also focussing on developing its ecosystem. By combining its traditional job offers with a wide range of related services, the company further enhanced its market leadership. Besides their business initiatives, Scout24 and JobCloud have also been investing in their appeal as employers. In 2016, both companies’ employees voted them among the most attractive employers in Switzerland in the Great Place to Work rankings.
By placing even greater focus on their customers, the e-commerce portals DeinDeal.chMy-store.ch and Geschenkidee.ch further sharpened their competitive edge in 2016. Their migration to a new shop platform was a key factor in making this achievement possible.
Ringier Digital Ventures AG also performed well in 2016. Established in 2015, this venture-capital business now has a total of nine future-oriented startups in its portfolio – Wine & Gourmet DigitalMovuCampandaRecommercePamonoFoodarenaMakeristCheckYeti and Service Partner ONE.

Publishing Switzerland is another business area benefiting from the digital transformation process at Ringier. One example of this can be seen in the performance of the Blick Group. For the first time in this newspaper group’s history, its digital channels attracted more readers than the daily print edition of Blick. What is more, the advertising revenue generated by Blick.ch also exceeded that achieved by the printed Blick daily – another first.
The video offensive launched in 2014 continued to deliver positive results. In 2016, some 340 million videos were streamed from the Blick platforms, a fivefold increase on the number generated in its first year. Ringier’s pioneering work in the field of virtual reality also continues apace. Of the 12 virtual-reality videos most frequently viewed on Youtube in 2016, two were produced in the Blick newsroom.
Thanks to cost savings and efficiency-boosting measures, the Group’s two printing plants, Ringier Print in Adligenswil and Swissprinters in Zofingen, successfully held their own, despite relentless competition and a significant decline in sales.
Ringier established two new joint ventures in 2016, Admeira and Ringier Axel Springer Switzerland, which have redefined its Publishing business area. The business model for Ringier Axel Springer Switzerland is inspired by the Group’s successful joint venture with Axel Springer in Eastern Europe. This new joint venture publishes a total of 30 different magazines. In its first year of operation, no fewer than 880 editions of these titles were produced, reaching a net 3.1 million readers and attracting a total of 4.1 million digital users. This collaboration has created new opportunities for the further development and digitalisation of the Swiss magazine business – as is evidenced by the record number of special editions published by the various Schweizer Illustrierte titles and the Beobachter’s successful launch of its new Guider platform, which provides subscribers with advice from lawyers and other specialists on matters arising in every facet of their daily lives. The joint venture is also significantly expanding its digital presence in other ways, creating a new Wirtschaftsnetz (in English, “business network”), extending its Gault Millau platform and creating a range of new offerings in the celebrity and fashion segment.

To lend physical expression to the joint venture’s fundamental concept of collaboration, all Zurich-based Ringier Axel Springer Switzerland staff will move to new offices in the Media Park in Zurich Altstetten in the spring of 2017. Admeira, the marketing joint venture between Ringier, Swisscom and the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, will also be moving to new premises in the Media Park.

The Entertainment business area’s Energy Group achieved epoch-making success in 2016. For the first time ever, in January 2016, Energy Zurich became the most popular private radio station in Switzerland, displacing Radio 24 from the number-one slot it had held for the previous 32 years. Energy Bern is listened to by more people than any other radio station in the Swiss capital, while Energy Basel attracts significantly more listeners in the age groups most favoured by advertisers than any of its competitors. The popular Energy events were further developed in 2016, most notably the Energy Fashion NightEnergy Air and the Energy Star Night, the latter two now being firmly established among the most important music events in Switzerland. Energy also assumed responsibility for organising and managing the Moon&Stars festival, thus adding a further major event to its portfolio.
Ticketcorner achieved record results in 2016. With nearly 10 million tickets sold last year, its core business remains in top form. Ticketcorner also proved popular with its employees, whose votes gave it a very high score in the Great Place to Work rankings. Cooperation is also high up on the agenda at Ticketcorner. In October 2016, Ticketcorner Holding AG, jointly owned by Ringier and CTS Eventim, signed a transaction agreement with Tamedia, under which Ticketcorner and Starticket plan to combine their market presence and service offerings in the future. This projected merger is currently being evaluated by Switzerland’s Federal Competition Commission.
2016 saw the sports-marketing agency InfrontRingier successfully organise the Tour de Suisse cycling race for the second time. The 2016 race was a special jubilee event, the 80th Tour de Suisse, with a route crossing all four linguistic regions in the country.
From 2017 onwards, InfrontRingier will be organising a new annual WTA tennis tournament in Biel, with prize money totalling USD 250,000. In 2017, InfrontRingier and Swiss Ice Hockey signed a new four-year extension to their existing agreement, thus securing the future of the Swiss Ice Hockey Cup.

Ringier continued the digital transformation of its businesses in Eastern Europe in 2016. A key initiative here was the acquisition of Imobiliare.ro, Romania’s largest real-estate portal. 2016 also saw the Ringier Axel Springer Media AG (RASMAG) joint venture launch Noizz, its online platform for millennials, in Poland, Serbia and Slovakia. In aggregate, Noizz now already reaches more than 7.5 million users every month. In 2016, RASMAG also launched a Polish edition of Business Insider, the internationally successful online platform for business and financial news. Thanks to its existing brands, RASMAG commands a leading position in the print and online markets in Poland, Serbia, Hungary and Slovakia. The joint venture is also systematically expanding its digital businesses in all four of these markets, as evidenced by the fact that over 50 percent of its EBITDA was generated from digital sources in 2016, with digital sales growing at a similar rate.

In Africa, Ringier joined forces with several powerful partners in 2016. The establishment of Ringier One Africa Media, a joint venture between Ringier and One Africa Media, is planned for 2017. This will enable Ringier to create the largest classified-advertising group on that continent. Ringier One Africa Media’s online classifieds for cars, real estate and jobs will be available in nine countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Through its Pulse digital media brand, Ringier Africa Digital Publishing (RADP) now reaches more than 25 million users in West Africa. Expansion to East Africa began in January 2017. By teaming up with the renowned international titles Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Business Insider, RADP has been able to create a broad new digital readership for these magazines in Africa. In 2016, Ringier Africa increased its revenue by 108 percent.

Ringier’s businesses in Asia also saw their digital transformation continue apace. In Vietnam and Myanmar, the Group’s digital marketplaces increased their sales, while their journalism platforms also attracted more users. Ringier Vietnam’s Marry network has an offering encompassing all aspects of weddings and family life. It also hosts the country’s largest wedding fair. The MBND classified-advertising platform is ideally placed to play a leading role in Vietnam’s rapidly growing real-estate market. All told, Ringier Vietnam’s products now reach a total of 47 million readers and customers. In 2016, sales were 68.9 percent higher than the year before. This strong performance partly reflects the success of the ELLE brand, which has established itself as the definitive standard setter in matters of fashion, beauty and decoration.
In China, the inflight magazine published by Ringier for the Civil Aviation Administration of China was read by 7.5 million passengers a month in 2016.
Myanmar, Ringier’s newest market, presents major opportunities. Launched in December 2015, the Duwun.com.mm news portal advanced to the number-one position in its market segment during 2016. Today, Duwun already reaches 20 percent of the local population.

Ringier AG, Corporate Communications