The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

TX Group grows thanks to Clear Channel acquisition and earns more

The TX Group grew in 2023, primarily thanks to the acquisition of Clear Channel Switzerland. Following a loss in the previous year, the Group is back in profit. Shareholders will participate in the improved result with a significantly higher dividend.

The TX Group, which is known to the general public primarily for its media brands such as "Tages-Anzeiger" and "20 Minuten" as well as its marketplaces Jobs, Riccardo, Homegate and Scout24, increased its sales by 6.2 percent to CHF 982.5 million last year. This growth is primarily attributable to the out-of-home advertising company Clear Channel Switzerland, which has been consolidated since April. In organic terms, however, Group sales fell slightly by 1.9 percent, as the TX Group reported in its press release on Thursday.

Increased profitability

The profit figures are significantly better than in the previous year. EBIT multiplied to CHF 71.0 million after CHF 5.9 million in the previous year. The adjusted operating result emphasized by TX management improved by 43.4 percent to CHF 143.6 million, bringing the corresponding margin to 14.6 percent (previous year: 10.9 percent). The SMG Swiss Marketplace Group made a significant contribution to this improvement. In addition, operating costs were kept at the previous year's level despite the Clear Channel takeover.

The bottom line was a net profit of 60.4 million after a loss of 4.0 million in the previous year. "The development in the 2023 financial year is pleasing," said publisher and Chairman of the Board of Directors Pietro Supino.

Shareholders can look forward to a regular dividend increased by 1.70 francs to 2.00 francs. In addition, there will be another special distribution of CHF 4.20 from the inflow of funds following the establishment of the Swiss Marketplace Group. A total of CHF 6.20 per share will therefore be distributed.

Marketplaces are developing very positively

TX Markets again made the largest contribution to earnings in 2023. The marketplaces and platforms combined in the segment increased adjusted operating profit by just under 16% to 108.0 million on slightly lower revenue. The adjusted EBIT margin of 80.7% shows just how profitable these businesses are. The SMG Swiss Marketplace Group, in which TX holds a 30.75% stake, performed particularly well. Revenue here rose by 12 percent and earnings (EBITDA) more than doubled. JobCloud also performed well again and achieved the second-best result in its history.

Thanks to the integration of Clear Channel Switzerland, the advertising sales company Goldbach grew strongly. Despite integration costs, adjusted operating profit increased. According to the press release, the foundations are now in place for promising and profitable growth in the out-of-home advertising market. Christoph Marty, currently CEO of Goldbach Neo OOH, will take over the management of Goldbach. Michi Frank, who has been CEO for many years, will hand over responsibility in summer 2024.

Journalistic sectors continue to struggle

The 20 Minuten business segment with commuter media grew slightly. However, margins fell again from an already depressed level. One-off costs for the social plan in connection with the adjustment of the cost structure had a particularly negative impact. The structural change continues to pose major challenges for the company, writes the TX Group.

Tamedia, the business division with the highest revenues, is also continuing to suffer from the consequences of the digital transformation of traditional media. At 3.3 per cent, the adjusted earnings margin (EBIT) is significantly higher than in the previous year, but remains at a low level in absolute terms. Tamedia was able to reduce overall costs through targeted savings and thus improve the result.

With regard to the outlook for the current year, the TX management is being cagey as usual and is refraining from giving a concrete outlook. According to CEO Supino, the starting position for the future has been strengthened in the individual activities.

©Keystone/SDA

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