Ringier reports increased profit in 2012 thanks to core business and diversification

Ringier, Switzerland’s largest internationally active media group, increased its EBITDA by 55.2 percent in 2012, to reach CHF 99.5 million. The Group’s consolidated 2012 revenues amounted to CHF 1,087.6 million, 18 percent of which were generated by its digital businesses. Ringier’s traditional publishing business maintained its position as the Group’s main source of revenue. The positive contributions made by acquisitions, the pleasing performance of Ringier’s Swiss magazine business, systematic development of its Entertainment division, as well as the consistent and sustainable implementation of cost-cutting measures across all business areas and in all countries in which the Group does business all played their part in the good results Ringier achieved in 2012.

  • EBITDA raised 55.2 percent to CHF 99.5 million (CHF 64.1 million in 2011)
  • Largest sources of profit still in core business
  • Digital businesses contributed 18 percent of Ringier Group’s overall revenue (13 percent in 2011)
  • Digital revenues up 29 percent on 2011 levels
  • Investments in business transformation totaled CHF 1.1 billion over last five years

In 2012 Ringier increased its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) by 55.2 percent, to CHF 99.5 million, net of one-off extraordinary items. The Group’s 2012 revenues amounted to CHF 1,087.6 million (CHF 1,147 million in 2011). 18 percent of this was generated by its digital businesses. In Switzerland, Ringier increased its revenues to CHF 618.2 million from CHF 610 million in 2011.

Ringier CEO Marc Walder commented, „We are pleased with our 2012 results. Our three-pillar strategy is gaining traction, and Ringier’s development into a diversified media group with longer value chains continued apace last year. This was a year of major acquisitions and decisions which will be significant in shaping the Group’s future. Ringier’s organizational structure was redesigned and a number of efficiency-boosting measures were successfully put into effect. From this strong position we will continue to push ahead with the digitalization of our business. We will accelerate the pace of innovation, increase the value generated by the capital we have invested and play an active part in reshaping the media industry.“

The reorganization Ringier carried out in the spring of 2012 provided the basis for the Group to continue its development with efficiency and effectiveness. A leaner management framework was put in place and the Group’s organizational structures were transformed from a geographical to a strategic basis, around its Publishing, Entertainment and Digital divisions.

By making substantial investments in its digital business, Ringier was able to tap into new and sustainable sources of revenue in 2012. In Switzerland, Ringier and Tamedia jointly acquired the recruitment platform jobs.ch. Ringier’s stakes in Scout24 Switzerland and jobs.ch mean that the Group is now a market leader in Swiss online classified advertising.

In the autumn of 2012, the Ringier Axel Springer Media AG (RASMAG) joint venture’s acquisition of 75 percent of Onet.pl, Poland’s leading online portal, represented a major step forward in the digitalization of its Eastern European businesses.

The Onet.pl and Jobs.ch acquisitions are significant milestones in Ringier’s digital development. In 2013, they are expected to raise the proportion of its overall revenues that Ringier generates from its digital businesses to approximately 25 percent. Ringier completed a year of major acquisitions by purchasing the online employment portal eJobs.ro. Over the last five years, Ringier has invested more than CHF 1.1 billion in its business transformation.

Publishing sees Ringier achieve success in its traditional core business

Despite the speed at which it is implementing its diversification strategy, Ringier has no intention of neglecting its valuable core publishing business. The development of new business models and the rapid advances Ringier is making in the digital arena are not contradictory to promoting and fostering the Group’s core publishing activities. Publishing’s 2012 results were both over budget and ahead of their 2011 performance, contributing more than 55 percent of the Group’s overall revenues.

The Blick Group further accentuated its profile during 2012. Blick was notably successful in consolidating its position as Switzerland’s most widely read paid newspaper, with 613,000 readers (source: MACH Basic 2012-2). By continuously extending and enhancing its distribution area, Blick am Abend was able to expand its readership. In the fiercely competitive Sunday-newspaper market, SonntagsBlick, with 805,000 readers, remains the country’s most widely read Sunday title. With over 1.5 million unique users each month, Blick.ch is one of the most frequently visited news websites in German-speaking Switzerland. The Blick brand, with its three newspapers and its online portal, now reaches a total of 2.8 million unique individuals each week.

Despite economically challenging conditions, Ringier’s magazine titles also had a good year in 2012. Schweizer Illustrierte reached 878,000 readers, making it Switzerland’s most widely read family magazine, SI Style remained the undisputed leader among women’s magazines in Switzerland and GlücksPost added to its impressive history of success. The most recent example of this positive performance is Schweizer LandLiebe. Two years after being launched, it is already selling more than 120,000 copies.

Ringier Romandie gained new readers for L’Hebdo (now read by 207,000 people according to MACH Basic 2012-2, 11,000 up on the previous period) and TV8 (with 247,000 readers, an increase of 4,000). Marketing the Swiss TV advertising slots for French broadcaster TF1 has provided Ringier Romandie with a new and profitable business activity.

The 23-percent decline in the Group’s printing revenues reflects Swissprinters’ consolidation of its activities at a single site in Zofingen and the non-recurrence of revenues from the Hong Kong printing plant sold in 2011. By concentrating its activities on one plant, Swissprinters has paved the way for an improved future.

By developing innovative solutions, Ringier Print Adligenswil was able to achieve a further increase in its revenues in 2012. With Schweizerischer Hauseigentümerverband (in English, „Association of Swiss Property Owners“), 20 Minuti Ticino and a portion of the print run for Migros-Magazin, the Adligenswil unit was able to sign up important new customers. It also successfully extended its existing long-term contract with the Neue Luzerner Zeitung, its largest third-party customer.

2012 was an eventful year for Ringier Germany. Christoph Schwennicke was appointed editor-in-chief of Cicero, the firms’ politics magazine. In order to consolidate a sustainable and more advantageous position in the advertising market, Ringier Germany set up its own marketing organization in 2012. Monopol, the firm’s arts and lifestyle magazine, published a number of special editions.

2012 was a difficult year for China’s economy and thus for Ringier Asia. While online advertising spending increased by 50 percent, this largely reflected a redirection of budgets away from print media, thus reducing advertising revenues in that medium. This had a notably adverse effect on the firm’s Asia Inflight magazine title. Restructuring measures at Ringier China and an acceleration of China’s economic output enabled revenues to recover in the second half of the year.

Ringier Trade Media, the leading pan-Asian publisher of specialist magazines for the manufacturing industry, further increased its revenues during 2012. Ringier Vietnam also achieved further expansion, increasing its sales by nearly 40 percent. This good performance was principally attributable to the firm’s integration of the MBND real-estate platform, its successful launch of a Vietnamese edition of Women’s Health and the strong showing achieved by its existing businesses. The Vietnamese edition of ELLE – first launched in October 2010 – increased its sales by 20 percent in 2012. In the Philippines, Ringier Asia and its joint-venture partner Summit Media succeeded in further enhancing their position in the local classified advertising market.

Entertainment systematically develops its portfolio

Due to the greater immunity this business enjoys from the economic cycle, Ringier places significant strategic emphasis on its Entertainment division. That is why systematic efforts were also directed towards the further development of its portfolio during 2012.

The launch of its new Energy Basel radio station enabled Radio Energy to expand its footprint further. The three radio stations it now operates in German-speaking Switzerland – Energy BaselEnergy Bern and Energy Zurich – reach more than half a million listeners every day. As a result, Energy is now Switzerland’s largest privately owned radio broadcaster.

The division’s television business achieved pleasing results with its stake in Sat.1 (Switzerland). The divestment of the stake in Teleclub, the sale of the Rose d’Or brand rights to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the discontinuation of Ringier’s commitment to PresseTV reflect the clear strategic focus the division has adopted for its television business.

InfrontRingier Sports & Entertainment Switzerland AG further consolidated its market position as Switzerland’s leader sports-marketing organization. InfrontRingier acquired the marketing rights to the Swiss Football Super League until 2016/17 and has successfully placed these with sponsors. The firm also achieved some notable marketing successes for Swiss Cycling and for the FIFA 2014 Football World Cup in Brazil. Moreover, InfrontRingier also staged the heavyweight boxing match between Wladimir Klitschko and Tony Thompson in Bern in 2012.

Ticketcorner had a good year in 2012. The firm was able to build on its leadership position in Switzerland’s ticketing market, as well as extending or initiating contracts with such well-known clients as ZSC LionsAppalooza Productions and Circus Monti.

Good News Productions AG maintained its position as Switzerland’s leading concert promoter in 2012. Since its foundation more than 40 years ago, Good News has staged well over 4,000 concerts and shows. In 2012, the firm ran some 100 events, with total audiences of more than 700,000 people.

Pool Position Switzerland AG, the artists’ management agency, concert promoter Starclick Entertainment AG and The Classical Company Switzerland AG all contributed to the solid results achieved by Ringier Entertainment in 2012.

Digital generates growth from its expanding e-commerce and classified advertising businesses

Ringier Digital focuses its attention on three growth markets – online marketplaces, online retail and online marketing. In all three of these arenas, initiatives were taken during 2012 which, over the next few years, will enable Ringier substantially to increase the proportion of its total revenues that it generates from its digital businesses.

In the online marketplaces business, the Group’s acquisition of a 50-percent stake in Jobs.ch Holding AG, alongside Tamedia, has enabled Ringier to extend its leading position in the classified advertisement market to include job advertisements. The Scout24 Switzerland Group continued to perform well, with Autoscout24, Immoscout24 and Jobscout24 all successfully extending their market coverage across all digital channels.

In addition to the developments taking place in Switzerland’s vertical marketplaces for real estate, cars and jobs, 2012 also saw further expansion of the so-called „horizontal“ marketplaces. This is a competitive market, in which Ringier Digital has achieved a strong position thanks to its Anibis.ch platform. During 2012, Anibis.ch was again able to expand its market coverage substantially. With more than six million visits per month, anibis.ch is one of Switzerland’s most popular online portals.

Ringier Digital made notable progress in the further development of its e-commerce activities during 2012. Qualipet.ch expanded its business further, thanks to its strong brand recognition and the reputation for quality it has established. DeinDeal, Switzerland’s leading group-purchasing platform, not only significantly expanded its couponing business and held its own against international competitors, but also successfully extended its business model by investing in vertical product markets with the creation of dedicated new Home & Living, Sports and Design channels.

Ringier Digital’s online marketing business is also growing. Online advertising is becoming increasingly automated (through real-time advertising). There is also significant demand from major clients for individualized communications solutions. This prompted the decision to position Omnimedia as the central hub for all Ringier Digital’s marketing solutions.

In addition to expanding its market position in Switzerland, Ringier Digital also made a number of investments in venture projects. Following the establishment of Ringier Africa in 2011, further new online platforms were launched in Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria during 2012.

Ringier Digital’s sales for 2012 were 29 percent up on their level a year earlier.

Ringier Eastern Europe performs successfully despite challenging market conditions

In the face of demanding trading conditions and a continuous decline of the overall advertising market, Ringier Hungary achieved good results in 2012. Blikk, with 945,600 readers in the 4th quarter of 2012, held its own as Hungary’s most widely read daily newspaper, while sports newspaper Nemzeti Sport successfully capitalized on the Euro 2012 football championships and the Olympic Games. Although the quality daily Népszabadság also increased its readership from 2011 levels, and currently has 208,500 readers, its performance fell short of expectations. Conversely, the firm’s tabloid magazine hot! exceeded its objectives.

Ringier Romania acquired eJobs.ro, Romania’s leading online employment portal in 2012. The firm’s Libertatea daily newspaper was able to narrow the gap separating it from its direct competitor, while Libertatea pentru femei maintained its position as Romania’s best-selling women’s magazine.

Unica enjoys the widest readership among Romania’s glossy magazine titles for women, while the Romanian edition of ELLE maintained its number one position at the exclusive end of the market. The firm’s online business is doing well Unica.ro grew faster than the overall market, nearly tripling the number of unique visits it attracts, which is currently running at 1.6 million per month. Libertatea.ro, now attracting 3.2 million unique visitors each month, is Romania’s leading tabloid portal. Ringier Romania also contributed to charity in 2012, through its support of the „Help the Children“ campaign.

Digitalization and scale enable Ringier Axel Springer Media AG to achieve strong performance

In Poland, Ringier Axel Springer Media AG (RASMAG) publishes three newspapers and more than ten magazine titles. With Fakt, Poland’s leading paid newspaper, and Przeglad Sportowy, the country’s only sports daily, the firm increased its share of the Polish newspaper market to 40.7 percent in 2012, making it the country’s largest newspaper publisher. Newsweek Polska also continued to perform well.

The firm is also the largest news publisher in the Czech Republic, with six newspapers and 18 magazine titles. In addition to the leading positions it holds with its Blesk newspaper title and Reflex, the Czech Republic’s number one magazine title, RASMAG is also a market leader in car magazines, as well as publishing Blesk pro ženy, the country’s most widely read women’s magazine.

The firm’s leadership position in Slovakia is largely attributable to its Nový Čas group of titles, comprising two newspapers and four magazines. The tabloid newspaper of that name is the most widely read newspaper in the country, with 41.9 percent of the market. In aggregate, Ringier Axel Springer Media AG publishes two newspapers and nine magazines in Slovakia.

In Serbia, the firm’s Blic title, read by an average of 869,623 readers every day, is the country’s best-selling newspaper. In mid-2012, the firm launched Daily Blic, a new regional edition for Montenegro. Altogether, Ringier Axel Springer Media AG publishes three magazines and eight newspapers in Serbia.

Ringier Axel Springer Media AG’s portfolio makes it the leading multimedia company in Central and Eastern Europe.

Ringier AG, Corporate Communications