- The Ringier Group’s operating profit (reported) in the 2022 financial year was CHF 104.9 million
- Like for like, the operating profit for 2022 was 134.3 million compared with 2021
- Like-for-like turnover in 2022 was CHF 1,010.1 million, also significantly higher than in the previous year (2021: CHF 965.3 million) – turnover (reported) amounted at 932.6 million
- The Ringier Group achieved another record high (+6 percentage points compared to the previous year) with a digital EBITDA of 79%
- A total of around CHF 120 million was invested in the Group in 2022
- Transformation into a digital media and technology group is well on track
For the Ringier Group, the 2022 financial year was characterized by operational excellence and post-merger integration. This is due to the fact that three important strategic decisions were made in 2021, which also brought with them changes to consolidation methods. First, the takeover of the shares of Axel Springer SE in Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia and the Baltic States. Second, the launch of the SMG Swiss Marketplace Group, a comprehensive joint venture in the field of digital marketplaces. And third, the acquisition of the majority of shares in the Sportal Media Group in Bulgaria.
Despite the geopolitical crisis triggered by Russia’s war of attack against Ukraine, which began in February 2022, the high price of paper and resource scarcity, steep rise in energy prices and the resulting historically high inflation rate – especially in our countries in Central and Eastern Europe – 2022 was another successful year for Ringier, both financially and operationally. This was partly thanks to early intervention by an overarching task force and strict cost management.
Like-for-like, the Ringier Group once again increased its operating profit – EBITDA – by 9% to CHF 134.3 million. This represents the seventh consecutive increase, with the exception of the first year of the coronavirus pandemic.
The reported EBITDA for 2022 was CHF 104.9 million. The like-for-like adjustments totaling CHF 29.4 million compared to 2021 result from both the following strategic transactions in 2021. On the one hand, the founding of the SMG Swiss Marketplace Group in November 2021. This commitment is now only being reported as an «at-equity investment». Previously, the Scout24 Group was shown as a fully consolidated company. The purchase of Axel Springer from the Eastern European business (Slovakia, Serbia, Hungary, Baltic states), on the other hand, has led to full consolidation in these countries. Foreign currency effects from the strong appreciation of the Swiss franc in 2022 must also be taken into account.
The like-for-like turnover of CHF 1,010.1 million in 2022 was also significantly higher than in the previous year (2021: CHF 965.3 million). The lower reported turnover in 2022 (CHF 932.6 million) was again due to the changed consolidation method (SMG Swiss Marketplace Group now only as an at-equity investment). The like-for-like EBITDA margin was a solid 13.3%, surpassing the previous year (2021: 12.8%).
The successful digital transformation of the Ringier Group is reflected in another significant increase in the digital share of EBITDA to 79% (2021: 73%) – a peak value in comparison with others in the European industry. The investment volume in 2022 was around CHF 120 million.
Marc Walder, CEO of Ringier AG: «2022 was another extraordinary year, characterized by war, inflation and the energy crisis. So we’re all the more pleased about the good figures. We continue to build on our three strategic pillars: Media, with 110 media brands; Marketplaces, with 50 digital platforms; and Sports Media, with 9 digital media brands. We are now active in 19 countries and thus well diversified. This is down to our deep conviction that the digital transformation, far from being complete, has further growth opportunities to offer. My heartfelt thanks go to the shareholders, who have invested with foresight and for the long term, making this transformation from a publishing house to a diversified, modern interpretation of the media company possible. I would also like to express my sincere thanks to our great employees on behalf of the Group Executive Board. They exemplify innovation, implementation and completion every day.»
Sports Media – the Ringier Group’s third strategic pillar gets off to a successful start
Sports Media will be developed into the Ringier Group’s third strategic pillar alongside Media and Marketplaces. Hence the Ringier Sports Media Group (RSMG) was founded in the summer of 2022, and is driving expansion into the attractive digital sports media segment. The RSMG portfolio has expanded to include 9 media brands in just one year: Sportal Media Group in Bulgaria, with sportal.bg and Sportal365; Gazeta Sporturilor/gsp.ro in Romania; sportal.rs in Serbia; sportal.hu in Hungary; sport.sk in Slovakia; Pulse Sport in Africa; and sportal.gr in Greece. The investment in the globally active British LiveScore Group (investment volume of GBP 50 million) underlines RSMG’s international ambitions.
2022 was a robust year for the advertising market in the Media segment. The companies pushed ahead with their digital product developments. The media activities in Eastern Europe were particularly affected by the Ukraine crisis. In addition, we had to compensate for cost increases due to inflation (e.g., paper and energy) with rigorous cost management and by developing additional revenue streams. Ringier’s digital media offerings gained market share in practically all countries.
At the Blick Group, the focus in 2022 was on operational excellence. Digitally, Blick now reaches around 1.4 million unique clients every day. Video views increased by 34% from 193 million to 259 million in 2022.
Ringier Axel Springer Schweiz AG
Business media in particular (Handelszeitung, BILANZ, cash.ch and PME) continues to grow. The Handelszeitung expanded the «HZ Insurance» offering and launched «HZ Banking» in 2023. BILANZ launched the print magazine Bonanza. Schweizer Illustrierte celebrated its 111th birthday, and since 2022 LandLiebe has also been available in western Switzerland as CôtéNature. Over 100,000 readers have subscribed to LandLiebe, making it a true print media success story.
Energy Group Switzerland
Following on from Energy Zurich, Energy Bern, Energy Basel and Energy Lucerne, the Energy Group launched Energy St. Gallen in May 2022 – its fifth radio station in German-speaking Switzerland. Energy is also leading the way virtually, including the opening of the first radio studio in the Metaverse.
Blic.rs has held the number 1 position in Serbia for eleven years now, most recently with 3.5 million users per month – with a population of just 6.8 million. In addition, Blic TV, which can also be received on cable, was launched in autumn 2022. The focus is on relevant, reliable information from the fields of politics, society, economy, sport, culture, and show business.
In Hungary, Blikk.hu was able to maintain the reach leadership it won in 2021 for most of the year. On some days, Blikk.hu was the only Hungarian news service to reach more than 1 million users, out of a population of 9.7 million.
In Romania, Libertatea.ro holds the number 1 position among news providers, and has reached up to 10 million users per month since January 2022, in a country of 19.1 million inhabitants.
Leading news portal Onet, which belongs to the Grupa Ringier Axel Springer Polska AG joint venture, is once again the most trusted digital media brand in Poland according to the Reuters Institute’s Brand Trust Index. Having launched the Onet Premium bundle offer in 2022, Onet has quickly become the second-largest paid content platform in Poland, with over 100% growth. An important part of the paid offering is audio: Onet launched its own audio app in 2022. The number of podcast listeners quadrupled to four million in 2022.
The Marketplaces segment (jobs, real estate, automotive, general marketplaces, finance and insurance) also exceeded expectations. The job platforms, which are all well ahead of targets, deserve special mention. They once again achieved high – in some cases historically high – financial results and traffic numbers. Ticketcorner has also developed well, and is back to the pre-Covid level.
JobCloud, the Swiss market leader in digital job placement, celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2022 – and is more successful than ever. The company had already reported the highest turnover in its history in the previous year, but in 2022 this was increased still further, by more than 20 percent. JobCloud also set a historic record for earnings!
eJobs.ro, Romania’s leading jobs platform, also recorded another record year for all key figures. In addition to the core offerings, the best result in the company’s history was also driven by the increased demand for recruiting solutions in the area of social media.
CV Keskus, the leading jobs group in the Baltics with headquarters in Tallinn and digital marketplaces in Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, had another record year in 2022 after an already strong 2021.
Profession.hu in Hungary achieved a record year, and was thus able to further expand its position as the market-leading job platform. Both sales and EBITDA showed significant double-digit growth.
In Africa, Ringier acquired all shares in leading marketplaces group Ringier One Africa Media (ROAM) from its long-standing Australian partner SEEK in 2022, thereby increasing its stake to almost 100%. This acquisition strengthens Ringier’s long-term investment in digital marketplaces in sub-Saharan Africa.
The «Ringier X» innovation project was launched at the beginning of 2023 to provide another boost to internal innovation. Ringier X is a group-wide accelerator that empowers Ringier employees worldwide to act and think like entrepreneurs.
International boards founded
An «AI Board» has been set up on the initiative of the Group Executive Board. Its main objective is to coordinate AI-related activities within the Ringier Group, to ensure the exchange of knowledge about artificial intelligence (AI), to define guidelines, and to promote promising AI initiatives. The Board headed by Petra Ehmann and Patrick Rademacher, reports to the Group Executive Board. Members of the Advisory Board include new Ringier Board of Directors member Anna Mossberg and Ringier CEO Marc Walder.
The «Editorial Standards and Innovation Board», which is international in its membership and operations, was also newly launched. This board focuses on all Ringier’s media brands, and assesses and encourages leadership and editorial innovation. The «Ringier Editorial Standards and Innovation Board» is chaired by Michael Ringier and is made up of Ringier Board of Directors member Nancy Cruickshank, CEO of Ringier AG Marc Walder, Head of Global Media of Ringier AG Ladina Heimgartner, Chief Innovation Officer of Ringier AG Petra Ehmann, Head of the Ringier School of Journalism Peter Hossli, and internationally active media expert Dmitry Shishkin.
Nicole Eisenman, one of the most successful contemporary artists, designed the 26th Annual Report for Art
The Ringier Annual Report 2022 was designed by American artist Nicole Eisenman (*1965). She is one of the most influential artists of our time. Her paintings, often referencing art history, are socially and politically relevant and deeply human-oriented. In her work, she playfully combines stylistic and compositional elements of art history with great artistic freedom: from Renaissance painting to contemporary comics. In addition to paintings and drawings, sculpture has increasingly become part of her work in recent years. The artist created a limited and numbered bronze edition for the Ringier Annual Report 2022 in the form of a vase, which she titled «Weed Holder». The vase has a face, and the flower that rises from it represents the idea. In Nicole Eisenman’s words: «It’s like an idea that, like Athena, springs from the head.»
The art section of the Ringier Annual Report provides an insight into the cultural and art history of the «vase» as an artifact and the diverse forms it can take. In collaboration with the Archaeological Collection of the University of Zurich, the Museum für Gestaltung and the Museum Rietberg in Zurich, we have succeeded in presenting a small collection of vases from the 7th century BC to the present, which come from Egypt, China, Germany, Greece, Congo and Thailand.
Publisher Michael Ringier: «The fact that we can tackle the challenges of the coming years with a great deal of optimism and self-confidence also has something to do with the 2022 annual results presented today. What the management and our employees have achieved over the past year is truly impressive. As a representative of the shareholders and the Board of Directors, I therefore express my deep gratitude to everyone for their huge commitment and great loyalty in an extremely difficult environment. This annual report designed by Nicole Eisenman with the Weed Holder shows that we are also able to have fun. I am proud that we were able to engage such a renowned contemporary artist as Nicole Eisenman, whose work has tremendous power, for the Ringier Annual Report for Art. She currently has several exhibitions in prestigious museums, which achieve prices in the six to seven-digit range on the art market.»
Link to Annual Report
Ringier is a Swiss media and technology company. The Group comprises around 140 companies in 19 countries, which operate a range of leading media brands, digital platforms, and marketplaces. Almost 80 percent of the operating profit comes from the digital business. This makes Ringier one of the leading media companies in Europe. The family business has been based on entrepreneurship, cooperation, innovation, trust and courage for 190 years. www.ringier.com