Hamburg, 24 March 2010 – Extensive, consistently implemented measures – a mix of short-term cost reduction and long-term structural measures – have helped to largely offset the impact of declining Group revenues on the operating result.
Due to the cost-cutting and restructuring program initiated early on, Gruner + Jahr reported only a slight year-on-year decline in its operating result, despite a significant fall in advertising revenues. In 2009, the global economic and financial crisis, accompanied by a general reduction in brand advertising, resulted in a substantial decline in advertising revenues in G+J's core markets. Gruner + Jahr countered this restraint in advertising and the structural change in the media industry with a comprehensive cost-cutting and restructuring program in all markets and countries. Resolutely and rapidly implemented measures, a mix of short-term cost reduction and long-term structural measures had their intended impact and were very effective.
Consolidated revenue for 2009 came to 2.508 million Euros, down 9.4 percent year-on-year (2008: 2.769 million Euros.) Thanks to rigorous cost management in all divisions, Gruner + Jahr was able to largely offset the impact of the decline in Group revenues, caused by the weak advertising market, on its operating result. Adjusted for special items, operating EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) amounted to 203 million Euros, vs. 225 million Euros a year earlier. Therefore, return on sales remained stable at 8.1 percent in 2009 (2008: 8.1 percent) despite difficult market conditions.
In spite of the economic crisis, distribution revenues remained relatively stable - particularly in Germany – falling by less than 5 percent to 811 million Euros. Total advertising revenues declined by 19 percent in fiscal 2009, to 772 million Euros. The cost-cutting measures initiated, with a total volume of well over 200 million Euros, were realized almost proportionately to the decline in revenues. The positive effects of these fast-acting measures are particularly evident in the halfyear comparison: Operating profit rose from 55 million Euros in the first half of 2009 to 148 million Euros in the second half, and was therefore even exceeding prior year's second half results.
Due to special items such as extraordinary write-offs and restructuring costs totaling 170 million Euros, EBIT came under strong pressure and ended up at 33 million Euros (previous year: 170 million Euros.) After deducting interest and taxes, G+J recorded a net loss of -18 million Euros (previous year: net profit of 88 million Euros.)
Gruner + Jahr continues to be free of financial debt and equipped with a comfortable cash, making the Group financially healthy and fully ready to invest.
Journalistic Quality of G+J Titles wins national and international Awards
In 2009, 51 G+J titles and journalists, print as well as online, received national and international awards. For instance, QUEST was voted Magazine of the Year in the Netherlands, the Polish online version of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC won the Grand Webstar, and FOCUS and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Poland won a total of three Grunery Awards.STERN and its line extensions collectively won 16 awards in 2009, including six Lead Awards.
The titles GEO, GEO KOMPAKT, GEO INTERNATIONAL, the FTD, SÄCHSISCHE ZEITUNG, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Germany, BÖRSE ONLINE, NEON, FOCUS in Italy, CUISINE ACTUELLE in France, CLAUDIA and NAJ in Poland and many other Gruner + Jahr publications also received awards.
Last year's successful re-invention and expansion of the core business shows Gruner + Jahr's strength
Bernd Buchholz, CEO of Gruner + Jahr AG, said: "Gruner + Jahr has proven that Europe's leading publishing company can adapt resolutely and proactively to a severe economic crisis as well as to the change in the media industry. This is already reflected in the improved operating profits of the 2nd half of the year. We did our homework successfully without compromising our journalistic quality. We are very optimistic about the future."
Gruner + Jahr's CFO Achim Twardy added: "The cost measures were already having a very positive impact in the second half of the year and some of the structural changes will not show their full impact until 2010. We have already largely compensated for declining revenues, and look forward with optimism. We expect a stabilization of revenues and operating profit and therefore a reasonable net profit in the current business year."
Executive Vice President
Phone +49 (0) 40 / 37 03 - 31 13
Fax:+49 (0) 40 / 37 03 - 56 17