- Record operating profit (EBITDA) of CHF 123.7 million in 2021
- Revenue up on previous year to CHF 965.3 million
- Significantly higher EBITDA margin (12.8%) exceeds pre-COVID levels
- Digital share of EBITDA also reaches new high at 73%
- Total investments of more than CHF 200 million in 2021
- Transformation into a digital media and technology group consistently pursued
Despite the ongoing COVID pandemic – or perhaps because of it – 2021 was a year of constant change for Ringier. In the second year of this unprecedented crisis, the company continued to invest strategically in its ongoing transformation.
With an EBITDA of CHF 123.7 million in 2021 (previous year: CHF 84.4 million), the Ringier Group posted its best result since first starting out on its journey towards becoming a media and technology group 10 years ago. After a difficult 2020, revenue increased to CHF 965.3 million in 2021 (previous year: CHF 953.7 million). At 12.8%, the EBITDA margin was also considerably higher and exceeded pre-COVID levels (2020: 8.8%; 2019: 11.6%).
Results were encouraging across the entire portfolio in 2021: In the media segment, advertising sales had been rising steadily since Q3 2020 and were higher than expected in the reporting year. The strategic realignment of our internal Swiss marketing unit Ringier Advertising at the start of 2021 also bore fruit.
At over CHF 200 million, total investments in our digital products in the media and marketplaces segment were twice as high as in the previous year. The strategic alignment of the Ringier Group’s portfolio is reflected in a digital EBITDA share of 73% (previous year: 69%), which is high compared to the European industry average. At 60%, the proportion of digital revenue is also above the previous year’s level of 57%.
Marc Walder, CEO and Managing Partner of Ringier AG: «2021 was an exceptional year for Ringier, both financially and strategically. In addition to robust growth, we also achieved a high level of profitability. Our record financial results and the strategic milestones that we reached in 2021 will enable us to continue growing into a media and technology group. We will keep investing in the organic and inorganic growth of our Group, which now operates in 19 countries. We are doing this because we firmly believe that the digital transformation is not yet over, but in fact is only just getting started.»
Ringier’s digital media services increased their market share in almost all countries.
- Blick.ch: 1.2 million users per day.
- Blick TV: Up to 1 million video views per day.
- RASCH: Handelszeitung, Bilanz, cash.ch and PME together make up Switzerland’s strongest business network. In the form of Caminada and Interview by Ringier, two high-quality print-only products were launched.
- Energy Group: On social media, Energy was again one of Switzerland’s leading media brands, with around 2.5 million user interactions per month.
- Blic.rs: The leading news platform for the past 10 years, with approximately 3 million real users per month and an overall online reach of 75.17%.
- Blikk.hu: Hungary’s most popular digital news outlet, with over 3.4 million users per month (Nov. 2021).
- Libertatea.ro: 9.1 million unique users and 44 million visits per month.
- Pulse: Pulse Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda and Ivory Coast saw the use of their websites and social media channels increase by 35% to 26 million people per month.
The Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report 2021 confirms that the Polish news portal Onet, which already has the highest reach, is also the most trusted among internet users. The same is true for aktuality.sk and novini.bg, which are the most trusted digital-only media brands in Slovakia and Bulgaria respectively. Libertatea and Gazeta Sporturilor attracted international attention through the documentary film Collective, which received two Oscar nominations from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2021.
Investments in the Ringier media portfolio – here, in particular, in digital sports media brands – are ongoing. The Ringier Group is already excellently positioned internationally and operates leading media brands with proven sports expertise in various markets:
- Blick in Switzerland
- Blikk in Hungary
- Gazeta Sporturilor in Romania
- Sport.sk in Slovakia
- Blic Sport in Serbia
- Pulse in Africa
- Onet and Przeglad Sportowy in Poland
- the Sportal Media Group with Digital Ventures OOD in Bulgaria, which includes Sportal365, the world’s leading sports content management system
For the operational implementation of the ambitious Ringier Sports Media strategy, an independent company, the Ringier Sports Media Group, will be founded with headquarters in Zofingen, Switzerland, which will include the following digital brands at the launch date:
- Sportal Media Group and Digital Ventures OOD in Bulgaria with their leading sport content management system: Sportal 365
- Gazeta Sporturilor in Romania
- Sportal.rs in Serbia
Stilian Shishkov, founder and CEO of the Sportal Media Group in Bulgaria, will be responsible for the further development of the sports media sector globally. The Supervisory Board of the internationally active group is headed by Robin Lingg as Chairman of the Board. The board members are Marc Walder, Ladina Heimgartner, Annabella Bassler and, as delegate, Alexander Theobald.
Our national and international marketplaces – especially the job sites – performed significantly better than forecast and all achieved record financial results and traffic figures.
- JobCloud: With top-line reaching an all-time high, JobCloud proved that it has fully recovered from the effects of the coronavirus crisis, having grown by 6% compared to 2019.
- Imobliare.ro: 100% increase in EBITDA compared to 2019.
- ejobs.ro: Record increases in revenue and operating profit since the platform was launched.
- CV Keskus: The Baltic job platform posted record revenue and EBITDA figures.
- Profession.hu: Hungary’s leading job marketplace posted its highest-ever EBITDA and revenue figures.
- ROAM: Ringier One Africa Media doubled its revenue in comparison with 2019.
- DeinDeal: The flash-sale platform had the second-best year in the company’s history.
2021 – a year of key strategic moves for Ringier
Bulgaria: In March 2021, Ringier acquired majority stakes in Sportal Media Group and Digital Ventures OOD in Bulgaria. Sportal Media Group combines some of Bulgaria’s leading online media companies under one roof, including Sportal.bg, the country’s most successful sports website. Digital Ventures OOD is the company behind Sportal365, a globally unique content management system for sports news. The acquisition of these two companies represents an important milestone in the acceleration of Ringier’s sports media strategy.
Central and Eastern Europe (CEE): In July 2021, Ringier AG acquired shares in Axel Springer SE in Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia and the Baltic states. The Ringier Group now owns 100% of the shares in all of these countries – except Slovakia, where the existing co-shareholders have retained minority stakes.
With this transaction, Ringier is continuing to pursue its international growth and investment strategy in the media and digital marketplaces segment. In addition to its long-standing activities in Romania, the Ringier Group has also initiated new activities in Bulgaria. As a result, it is now the leading provider in the media and digital marketplaces segment in a total of nine central and eastern European countries. Axel Springer and Ringier remain active in Poland as joint venture partners with equal shares of 50%. They will continue to drive the expansion of the media brands and digital marketplaces portfolio, which is characterized by high revenues and EBITDA.
Switzerland: In November 2021, Ringier established SMG Swiss Marketplace Group, a pioneering digital marketplace joint venture with TX Group, Mobiliar and the renowned growth investor General Atlantic. SMG’s portfolio includes Switzerland’s leading online marketplaces for vehicles and real estate, as well as horizontal platforms. Ringier and Mobiliar have contributed AutoScout24, ImmoScout24 and FinanceScout24 as well as anibis.ch to the joint venture. With its broad portfolio of 15 platforms, SMG Swiss Marketplace Group is one of the largest digital companies in Switzerland.
Marc Walder: «The Ringier Group posted excellent results across all divisions in 2021. With our strategic moves and the operational excellence of our employees, we are creating the right conditions to continue doing so in the future. Due to the widespread uncertainty caused by the pandemic, the importance of trusted media outlets has risen substantially over the past two years. We now own some of the most trusted independent media brands in the CEE countries. The pandemic and the war in Ukraine have further underlined the importance of reliable information. We will now use the tailwind of this tangible and measurable trend to our advantage.»
«Another Festival of Gratitude» – the 2021 Ringier Annual Report has been designed by Lebanese artist Walid Raad
For the past 25 years, the Ringier annual report has been designed by an artist whose works of art are represented in the Ringier collection. This special feature of the annual reports was introduced in 1997 by publisher Michael Ringier and curator Beatrix Ruf with the aim of incorporating art more widely into the company’s activities.
Walid Raad was chosen for the anniversary edition. The contemporary artist, born 1967 in Lebanon, loves to polarize and provoke. He skillfully creates his own, unique universe from documents, sculptures, videos, photos and drawings. His fictional narratives revolve around the themes of contemporary Lebanese history, war, violence, art and capitalism, and he gives his own take on these important topics in a subtle and creative way. For the Ringier Annual Report 2021, Raad has chosen the title «Another Festival of Gratitude».
Publisher Michael Ringier said: «Walid Raad’s work provides much food for thought and discussion. He provokes real questions and real answers using fake news – but not fake news as we know it. This year’s report underlines that there is more to art than meets the eye.»
Walid Raad became known for his project work «The Atlas Group» (1989–2004), a fictional collective. He has since displayed his work in solo exhibitions around the world – including at the Louvre in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Kunsthalle Zürich. Raad lives and works in New York. As a Professor of Art, he teaches at the Cooper Union in New York City.
Ringier AG, Corporate Communications
Ringier is a Media- and Technology Company Swiss by nature. The Group includes over 130 companies operating numerous leading media brands, digital platforms and marketplaces. Ringier addresses every walk of life and touches the lives of millions of people – every day around the globe in 19 countries. 73 percent of operating profit comes from the digital sector. This puts Ringier in the group of leading European media companies. The family-owned enterprise believes in entrepreneurship, collaboration, innovation, trust and courage for nearly 190 years. In a world that’s becoming ever more complex and challenging, Ringier`s mission is to keep interest alive and to ensure that customers, users or readers never lose sight of what connects them: We create interest in the world around you – and beyond. www.ringier.com