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Accounting policies

Cash and cash equivalents

Cash and cash equivalents include cash on hand, postal and bank account balances and time deposits with an original term of up to around three months, which are measured at nominal value.

Current financial assets

Current financial assets include marketable securities, time, sight and demand deposits with an original maturity of more than three months but not more than twelve months, as well as current derivative financial instruments.

Publicly traded marketable securities are measured at quoted market prices as of the balance sheet date. Securities that are not publicly traded are measured at fair value. Time, sight and demand deposits are measured at nominal value. Any realised and unrealised price differences for these items and for marketable securities are recognised in the income statement, with the exception of unrealised price differences for derivative financial instruments designated as accounting hedges (see accounting policies for derivative financial instruments).

Receivables

Receivables are measured at their nominal value. Bad debt provisions are charged to the income statement for doubtful receivables whose collection is uncertain. In regard to the general valuation risk, the TX Group applies the simplified approach in accordance with IFRS 9 to measure anticipated loan losses, factoring in the need to make valuation allowances based on past experiences and anticipated losses from future default events for all trade accounts receivable.

Inventories

Inventories are measured at their purchase or production cost according to the weighted average method, but at most at their net realisable value minus the expected costs of completion and disposal.

Items with a low inventory turnover and those that are difficult to dispose of are impaired based on business criteria.

Property, plant and equipment

Property, plant and equipment are measured at the higher of amortised cost less depreciation considered necessary for business reasons, with the exception of land, which is recognised at cost.

The right-of-use assets to be capitalised in connection with leases come under property, plant and equipment. Improvements to leased properties are capitalised and depreciated in line with the term of the lease. Any options for extension of the leases are not taken into account. The costs of any maintenance and repairs that do not add value are charged directly to the income statement.

With the exception of additional impairment necessary for business reasons, depreciation is charged on a straight-line basis over uniform useful lives established within the Group.

The following depreciation periods apply:

Buildings: 40 years

Installations and constructional facilities: 3–25 years

Machinery and equipment: 3–25 years

Motor vehicles: 4–10 years

Office equipment and furnishings: 5–10 years

IT equipment: 3–5 years

Underlying lease assets: Term of underlying lease asset

Investments in associates and joint ventures

Investments in associates (i.e. companies in which the TX Group directly or indirectly holds between 20 per cent and less than 50 per cent of the voting rights without exerting control over any financial and operational decisions, or less than 20 per cent of the voting rights where a significant influence can be exercised in another way) and in joint ventures are recognised using the equity method. The Group’s shares in losses that exceed the acquisition cost are only recognised if the TX Group has a legal or de facto obligation to share in further losses or to participate in any ongoing or initiated financial restructuring.

Non-current financial assets

Non-current financial assets include other investments, non-current loans, non-current derivative financial instruments and other non-current financial assets.

Other investments (less than 20 per cent of the voting rights) are stated at fair value. If these are equity instruments, unrealised gains – net after taxes – are taken to the statement of comprehensive income until realised. If they are not equity instruments, they are treated at fair value and all changes in the measurement of assets are taken to the consolidated income statement.

Non-current loans are measured at amortised cost.

Non-current derivative financial instruments (fair value through profit and loss) are measured at fair value. Both realised and unrealised price differences are recognised in the income statement, with the exception of those for derivative financial instruments designated as cash flow hedges (see accounting policies for derivative financial instruments).

Other non-current financial assets (“fair value through other comprehensive income”) are also measured at fair value. Unrealised gains – net after taxes – are taken to the statement of comprehensive income until realised. Impairment losses are recognised in the income statement.

Intangible assets

Acquired intangible assets are recognised at cost and amortised using the straight-line method over their expected useful life. Intangible assets with an indefinite useful life are tested annually for impairment and an annual review is carried out to determine whether the useful life is still indefinite. Own work for intangible assets is capitalised if the necessary conditions are met. Otherwise, it is charged to the income statement as it arises. Trademarks/domains are classified as intangible assets with an indefinite useful life if they can be used and renewed at no material cost and for an indefinite time and such a possibility is envisaged.

The following amortisation periods apply:

Goodwill: no amortisation

Trademarks/domains – Tamedia segment: 8–20 years

Trademarks/domains – other segments: generally no amortisation

Customer bases/publishing rights: 5–20 years

Capitalised software project costs: 3–5 years

Goodwill and intangible assets

At the time of initial consolidation, the assets and liabilities of a company – or the net assets acquired – and the contingent liabilities are measured at fair value. Any positive difference between the consideration paid and the acquired net assets calculated according to these policies is recognised as goodwill in the year of acquisition. The goodwill thus calculated is not amortised but is instead tested for impairment every year. If there is any indication of a possible goodwill impairment, its value is reassessed and, if necessary, written off as an impairment. Any negative difference between the consideration paid and the net assets is recognised immediately in the income statement following a review.

In the event of disposal of consolidated companies, the difference between the sale price and other shares held, as well as transferred net assets, which could also include some remaining goodwill, is reported in the consolidated income statement as income from the sale of investments.

The position that a company or a product has within the market at the time a purchase agreement is entered into is reflected in the purchase price that is paid for this acquisition. This position is by definition not a separate component and therefore cannot be measured. It forms an integral component of the goodwill acquired.

Impairment of non-current assets

Impairment tests are performed on property, plant and equipment, intangible assets with finite useful lives and financial assets if events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount may have been impaired. The determination of their impairment is based on estimates and assumptions made by Group Management and the Board of Directors. As a result, it is possible that the actual values realised may deviate from these estimates. If the carrying amount is higher than the recoverable amount, an impairment is made in the income statement to the value which appears to be recoverable based on the discounted, anticipated future income, or a higher net sales value.

Assets held for sale

Assets held for sale are individual assets and liabilities held for sale or those of disposal groups and – where applicable – discontinued business divisions. Assets are only reclassified under this item if the Board of Directors or Management Board has decided to proceed with the sale and has begun to actively seek buyers. Additionally, the asset or disposal group must be immediately sellable. As a general rule, the transaction should take place within one year. Non-current assets or disposal groups that are classified as held for sale are no longer depreciated or amortised. If the carrying amount is higher than the fair value less the costs of disposal, this will give rise to an unscheduled impairment loss. The gain or loss (after taxes) from any changes in the measurement of assets held for sale and disposal groups are reported separately under the Note “Assets held for sale”.

Leases

All leases with their associated rights and obligations are generally recorded in the balance sheet. Right-of-use assets are capitalised in the balance sheet under property, plant and equipment, while lease liabilities are shown as current and non-current financial liabilities. Short-term leases with a term of less than one year and leases where the underlying asset is of low value do not have to be recognised. The payments for short-term leases (with a term of less than a year) and for low-value underlying assets (replacement value below CHF 5,000) are recorded as lease expenses under other operating expenses. Any assessment of the residual term of leases with extension options involves estimates and assumptions. These estimates are inherently uncertain and may not prove to be accurate.

The initial capitalisation of right-of-use assets and lease liabilities associated with a lease is performed on the basis of the fair value of the future lease payments (discounted). An incremental borrowing rate of interest is used to calculate the fair value of lease liabilities. In order to determine this value, due account is taken of the risk-free interest rate for specific lease terms, the collateral, the credit spread and the country-specific risk premium, with a uniform rate being applied to a portfolio of similar leases. Lease liabilities include firmly agreed lease payments. The first capitalisation of right-of-use assets is based on the fair value of lease liabilities and includes any initial direct costs. Depreciation of right-of-use assets is linear and applies across the term of the lease. The lease payments reduce the lease liability on the liabilities side, and the interest added in relation to the lease liability is applied across the term of the lease and recognised in the income statement as financial expense.

Financial liabilities

Financial liabilities are initially recognised at the amount paid less transaction costs incurred, and then measured at amortised cost in subsequent periods. Any differences between the amount paid (less transaction costs) and the repayment value are calculated over the repayment period using the effective interest rate method and are recognised in the income statement.

The lease liabilities on the liabilities side in connection with leases come under financial liabilities (see the section on leases).

Financial liabilities are classified as current except where the Group has an unlimited entitlement to defer payment of the liability to a date at least twelve months after the balance sheet date.

Borrowing costs that are incurred directly in conjunction with the purchase, construction or completion of an asset that requires a substantial period until being put to its intended use are capitalised as part of the costs of the asset in question. All other borrowing costs are charged to the income statement in the reporting period in which they are incurred.

Provisions

Provisions are only recognised if an obligation exists or appears probable based on a past event and when the amount of such obligation can be reliably estimated.

Possible obligations and those that cannot be reliably estimated are disclosed as contingent liabilities.

Employee benefits

The TX Group has both defined contribution and defined benefit pension plans. Employee benefit plans are largely in line with the regulations and conditions prevailing in Switzerland. The majority of employees are insured against old age, disability and death under the autonomous employee benefit plans of the TX Group. All other employees are insured under collective insurance contracts with insurance companies. Contributions to the employee benefit plans are made by both the employer and the employees pursuant to legal requirements and in accordance with the respective plan policies.

The pension plans of the Danish, German and Austrian companies are defined contribution plans under which contributions are paid to public pension plans. There are no other payment obligations. The contributions are recognised immediately as personnel expenses.

Every year, an independent actuary calculates the defined benefit obligation in accordance with the criteria stipulated by the IFRS, using the projected unit credit method. The obligations correspond to the present value of the anticipated future cash flows. The plan assets and income are calculated annually. Actuarial gains and losses are recognised immediately in the statement of comprehensive income.

An economic benefit will result if the company can at some point in the future reduce its contributions. The amount that should become available to the company as a reduction of future contributions is defined as the present value of the difference between the service cost and the contributions laid down in the respective plan policies, and must be capitalised in compliance with the limitation imposed by IAS 19.64. The effects of the employer contribution reserves are also considered.

Of the pension cost, the current employee service cost and past service cost, plan settlements, etc. are reported as personnel expenses while the interest result is recognised in the financial result.

Any funding deficit of the defined benefit liability plans is recognised as an employee benefit liability. This is calculated by deducting the present value of the employee benefit obligation from the plan assets measured at fair value.

The calculations to determine the plan assets, employee benefit obligation and pension cost take into account long-term actuarial assumptions such as the discount rate, future salary increases, mortality rates and expected future pension increases, which can differ from the actual results and will have an impact on net assets, the financial position and earnings positions. As pension plans are long term in nature, these estimates should be seen to be subject to a significant element of uncertainty.

Contributions to defined contribution plans are recognised in the income statement.

Taxes

Current income taxes are recognised in the period to which they relate on the basis of the local operating income figures reported by the consolidated companies in the reporting year.

Deferred tax liabilities resulting from measurement differences between tax and consolidated values are calculated and recognised using the liability method. In the process, all temporary differences between the values included in the tax returns and those in the consolidated financial statements are taken into consideration. The tax rates used are the anticipated local tax rates. Depending on the underlying transaction, any change in deferred taxes is recognised in the income statement, total comprehensive income or directly in equity.

Deferred tax loss carryforwards and deferred taxes arising from temporary differences are only capitalised if it is likely that gains will be realised in future that would allow the loss carryforwards or the deductible differences to be offset for tax purposes.

Product development

All costs incurred for product development during the financial year are taken to the income statement whenever the restrictive capitalisation requirements for development costs as per IAS 38 are not fully met.

Revenues

The following accounting policies apply to the recognition of revenues in accordance with IFRS 15:

  • Revenues are realised if the TX Group has satisfied its performance obligation and control of the asset has been transferred to the purchaser or the service has been rendered.

  • As regards activities where the power of disposal does not lie with TX Group or sums are collected in the interest of third parties, the revenues at the time of the intermediary activity are only shown in the amount of the relevant commission or the share of the revenues to which the Group is entitled. In these cases, TX Group commissioned a third party to render the service and acted as broker between supply and demand.

  • Revenues are stated net of sales reductions and value-added tax, while losses on receivables are reported under other operating expenses. Variable considerations (for example refunded media revenue) are usually limited and are estimated based on the contractual agreement and on anticipated figures and internal forecasts. The non-cash exchange of the same services between companies in the same business segment (one example being the non-cash exchange of adverts between media companies) is defined as a “barter transaction” and recognised net, while revenues and expenditure from other barter transactions which pertain to different services are recognised gross and measured at fair value. Any consideration not yet received is accounted for on an accruals basis. Contracts with customers generally stipulate payment terms of 30 days. As less than 12 months usually elapses between the service being provided and the customer paying, the simplified approach in accordance with IFRS 15 can be applied and no financing components need to be considered. There are no take-back and refund obligations or other similar obligations and guarantees.

  • Revenues from contracts with multiple performance obligations (multi-component contracts) are allocated based on the individual sales prices for the respective performance obligation. If no individual sales prices are available, revenues are allocated using allocation formulae which reflect the best-possible estimate of the individual sales prices.

  • TX Group does not usually have any material assets from contracts with customers since its services have either already been invoiced or not yet rendered. In particular, no account is to be taken of contractual assets from work in progress which do not yet give rise to an unconditional right to receive the consideration due to unsettled performance obligations. Costs arising in connection with the initiation or performance of a contract with the customer are capitalised if the costs can be directly attributed to the conclusion of the contract and if the costs (direct costs above the contractual reimbursement or indirect costs above a contractually stipulated margin) can be generated again. TX Group does not have any material capitalised costs in connection with the initiation or performance of a contract with customers. If the customer has already furnished the consideration before the goods or service is/are transferred, the contract is reported as deferred revenues and accrued liabilities from contracts with customers.

  • TX Group breaks down revenues in the income statement according to its core competencies with regard to the type of service and goods: advertising revenue, revenue from classifieds & services, revenue from commercialisation and intermediary activities, revenue from subscriptions and individual sales, revenue from print and logistic operations, other operating revenue and other income (see consolidated income statement). Segment reporting is structured based on the market-specific business segments reported internally.

  • Advertising revenue covers revenue from the sale of commercial advertising space (for example commercial advertisements) in newspapers and magazines and advertising revenue within the digital business model known as display affiliate marketing. Advertising revenue also includes revenues in the advertising market for the sale of outdoor advertising spaces if TX Group bears the inventory risk for these advertising spaces or is responsible for providing the service. In these cases, revenues from the sale of outdoor advertising space are recognised gross, as are direct expenses for renting the space. Revenue from the advertising market generated through selling individual advertisements is realised at the specific time the advertisement appears, while revenues from the provision of advertising spaces over a contractually defined period are recognised over that period.

  • The revenue from classifieds & services include revenue from the sale of classified advertising. The revenue is recorded over the contractually defined period associated with the provision of the advertising space. The revenue from classifieds & services also cover revenue from the sale of digital applications and formats.

  • Revenue from commercialisation and intermediary activities mainly comprise revenues from the marketing and brokerage of advertising in the TV, radio and display/video segments. Only the intermediation fees due to TX Group are recognised as revenues, as the service is provided by third parties and TX Group acts merely as the intermediary between supply and demand. Revenue from commercialisation and intermediary activities also comprise the fee for intermediation of out-of-home advertising (net revenues) if TX Group does not bear the inventory risk for the outdoor advertising spaces and is not responsible for providing the service. For all areas, the service is provided and the revenues recognised when the advertisement is broadcast/published. On the balance sheet date, media volumes not used by customers are calculated, valued and duly accrued.

  • Revenue from subscriptions and individual sales cover revenues from the sale of newspapers and magazines to subscribers, retailers and wholesalers. In the case of subscriptions, the service is provided over a period of time (the duration of the subscription). Revenues are therefore recognised over the course of the relevant subscription, which equates to the transfer of the service.

  • Revenue from print and logistic operations include revenue from newspaper printing. Proceeds are realised when printed products are delivered and recognised as revenues at this time.

  • Other operating revenue mainly includes revenues from management fees and services, sales of out-of-home technology and digital services, marketing services (strategy, advice, design and implementation of advertising campaigns), income from buildings used for operational purposes and other revenue items which would not be material on their own. The various items incorporate various smaller sources of revenue. These include income from the staff restaurant, merchandise revenues, visualisation support for the marketing of property, sale of petrol, etc.

  • Other income includes income from asset disposals, income from evaluations of previously non-consolidated investments and other income items which would not be material on their own.

Segment reporting

Segment reporting reflects the corporate structure and is in line with internal reporting.

The accounting policies described above also apply to segment reporting, whereas pension costs according to IAS 19 are shown separately, together with the eliminations.

The revenues, expenses and net income of the various segments include offsetting between the business divisions. Such offsetting is carried out on an arm’s length basis.

Derivative financial instruments

Forward contracts and options with financial institutions are not entered into on a speculative basis, but selectively and exclusively for the purpose of mitigating the specific foreign currency and interest rate risks associated with business transactions. Foreign currency derivatives are measured according to the settlement of the hedged items as fair value hedges or as cash flow hedges, either in conjunction with the underlying transactions or separately at fair value as of the balance sheet date.

Derivative financial instruments, such as interest rate swaps, foreign currency transactions and certain derivative financial instruments embedded in basic agreements are recognised in the balance sheet at fair value, either as current or non-current financial assets or liabilities. The changes in fair value are charged either to the income statement or to the statement of comprehensive income, depending on the purpose for which the respective derivative financial instruments are used.

In the case of fair value hedges, the change in fair value of the effective share (of the derivative financial instrument and the underlying transaction) is recognised immediately in the income statement. The changes in fair value of the effective share of derivative financial instruments classed as cash flow hedges and qualifying for treatment as such are taken to the statement of comprehensive income until the underlying transactions can be recognised in the income statement.

Changes in the fair value of derivative financial instruments that are not considered to be accounting hedges (as understood by the definition given above) or that do not qualify as such are recognised in the income statement as components of financial income or expenses. This also applies to fair value hedges and cash flow hedges as described above as soon as such financial instruments cease to qualify as accounting hedges.

Contractual obligations to purchase the Group’s own equity instruments (such as put options on non-controlling interests) result in the recognition of a financial liability, which is recognised at the present value of the exercise amount in equity. The fair value of the financial liability is regularly reviewed and any deviation from first-time recognition is recognised in the financial result.

Transactions with related parties and companies

Transactions with associates, joint ventures and related parties are conducted on an arm’s length basis. In addition to the information disclosed in Note 39 details relating to the compensation of the Board of Directors and Group Management are disclosed in the Compensation Report.