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Revenues increased by CHF 22.2 million, compared with the previous year, from CHF 431.2 million to CHF 453.3 million. Without the change to the group of consolidated companies (essentially the sale of Olmero AG and Trendsales ApS during the second half of 2020), the increase in revenues would have amounted to CHF 32.9 million. Both advertising revenues (CHF +16.1 million or +17.2 per cent) and revenue from commercialisation and intermediary activities (CHF +9.0 million or +34.2 per cent) have improved significantly compared with the first half of 2020, which was badly hit by the coronavirus crisis. Revenue from classifieds & services (CHF –1.3 million or –0.9 per cent) would have increased by CHF 7.0 million without the change to the group of consolidated companies. There was no change in revenue from subscriptions and individual sales. Revenues from print and logistic operations reduced due to the change to the group of consolidated companies (Olmero print revenues) and due to falling paper prices and revenues from the printing centres by a total of CHF 2.5 million to CHF 32.6 million. Other operating revenue was up by CHF 1.2 million to CHF 9.3 million as a result, among other things, of an increase in revenues from agency services at Goldbach Group AG. Other revenues include hardship funds that Neo Advertising AG was able to claim and other revenues, which would not be material on their own, such as profit from the sale of assets. The decrease in other revenues can be attributed to the profit from the sale of the activity Renovero being recognised in the previous year.
Costs of material and services decreased by CHF 6.4 million to CHF 67.6 million. Without the change to the group of consolidated companies, the decrease would have amounted to CHF 4.8 million. Some of the decrease in the costs of material can be attributed, in the amount of around CHF 3.1 million, to the lower expenditure on paper. This declined as a result of big falls in paper prices and a slight drop in paper volumes (particularly for free newspapers). The lower costs of services are partly attributable to both Olmero AG and Trendsales ApS no longer being included in the group of consolidated companies.
Personnel expense increased by CHF 3.4 million, compared with the previous year, to CHF 230.9 million. Disregarding the change to the group of consolidated companies (Olmero AG and Trendsales ApS), the increase in personnel expense is CHF 7.0 million. In the first half of 2021, compensation for reduced working hours was claimed in the amount of CHF 5.9 million (previous year: CHF 11.5 million). Due to reduced working hours, the welfare fund contributed CHF 1.3 million to make up for shortfalls for employees. The subsidy from the welfare fund is recognised as employee benefit expenses according to IAS 19. Due to the improved consolidated net income, expenditure for profit share payments for Group Management and employees increased by CHF 3.9 million compared with the first half of 2020. In the first half of 2021, provisions in the amount of CHF 0.8 million were recorded for social plans, compared with provisions of CHF 5.0 million in the first half of 2020 (in particular for the restructuring of central services). Employee benefit expenses as per IAS 19 decreased by CHF 0.4 million compared with the previous year, with this change in employee benefit expenses also including expenses for settling compensation for reduced working hours and for expected social plan benefits.
Other operating expenses fell by CHF 7.5 million to CHF 91.9 million. Without the change to the group of consolidated companies, a decline of CHF 4.9 million would have been recorded.
The share of net income / (loss) of associated companies and joint ventures for the first half of 2021 amounts to CHF 9.5 million, which is up CHF 5.7 million on the first half of 2020. This increase reflects the economic recovery after the low result for the first half of 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis and the lockdown. The biggest contribution to the improvement in the share of net income / (loss) of associated companies and joint ventures has been made by Karriere.at. For BTMX P/S, there was an impairment test on account of the sale completed on 2 July 2021. This found that impairment was needed on the goodwill recorded in the amount of CHF 1.7 million, which has a negative effect on the share of net income / (loss) of associated companies and joint ventures for 2021 (see also the important events after the balance sheet date).
Depreciation and amortisation increased by CHF 2.5 million from the previous year to CHF 24.3 million. The increase is attributable in particular to amortisation of right-of-use assets under leases and to amortisation of capitalised software projects from the start of 2021, with no material effect to be recorded due to any change to the group of consolidated companies. Depreciation and amortisation from business combinations decreased by CHF 2.1 million to CHF 32.8 million, whereby the effect of the change to the group of consolidated companies amounts to CHF –0.8 million and the further decline is attributable to customer bases and IT platforms being fully amortised. No impairment needed to be recognised in the first half of 2021, whereas in the first half of the previous year an impairment in the amount of CHF 85.0 million was recorded on goodwill for the cash-generating unit Tamedia (Tamedia segment).
In the first half of 2021, the financial result amounts to CHF 11.7 million (previous year: CHF –1.0 million). There was a material impact from the arbitration proceedings at the court of arbitration in Copenhagen against the sellers of Trendsales, which concluded on 1 March 2021. The resulting payment of USD 13.25 million was recorded under financial income. As was previously the case in the first half of 2020, no material profit or loss from the sale of investments is to be recognised for 2021 either. Net interest amounts to CHF –0.6 million, which is the same as the previous year, and exchange rate effects amount to CHF 0.2 million (previous year: CHF 0.1 million), while financial income in accordance with IAS 19 remained stable at CHF 0.1 million.
The expected average tax rate equals the weighted average of the rates of the consolidated companies. This is 19.4 per cent for the first half of 2021 (previous year: 17.3 per cent). Both positive and negative results for the individual companies feed into the calculation for the expected tax rate, taking into account the applicable tax rates in each case, therefore resulting in a higher expected tax rate compared with the previous year.
The effective tax rate increased from –0.8 per cent in the first half of 2020 to 21.7 per cent in the first half of 2021. The main reasons for this divergence from the expected tax rate are the impact of investment deductions and other non-taxable income, tax effects on investments and unrecognised deferred tax assets relating to loss carryforwards. Unrecognised deferred tax assets on tax loss carryforwards result from the estimate that, based on their income situation, the relevant companies do not fulfil the prerequisites for the realisation of losses. In the previous year, the non-tax-deductible impairment on goodwill for Tamedia also had a material impact.