Combined Management Report

Financial Year 2015 in Review

In the financial year 2015, Bertelsmann posted a strong operating performance with revenue and earnings growth as well as a significantly increased Group profit. Group revenues from continuing operations rose 2.8 percent to €17.1 billion (previous year: €16.7 billion), particularly as a result of positive exchange rate effects. The revenue share generated by the growth businesses increased to 28 percent overall (previous year: 25 percent) thanks to organic growth and acquisitions, while the revenue share of structurally declining businesses minimized to 5 percent overall (previous year: 8 percent) as a result of disposals and scaling back. Operating EBITDA increased by €111 million to €2,485 million (previous year: €2,374 million). Earnings improved in particular in the US book publishing business, the German television business, the service businesses in the Customer Relationship Management and Supply Chain Management segments, the music business BMG and the online education provider Relias Learning. Furthermore, Bertelsmann continued to implement the Group-wide earnings improvement program successfully. This was counteracted by start-up losses for new businesses and the digital transformation of existing businesses. The EBITDA margin of 14.5 percent was above the high level of 14.2 percent in the previous year. Group profit increased significantly from €572 million to €1,108 million. This is primarily attributable to higher operating earnings and the elimination of negative special items from the previous year. This means that for the first time since 2006, earnings again exceeded the €1 billion mark, which should be sustainable. Total investments, including acquired financial debt, in the reporting period were €1.3 billion (previous year: €1.6 billion). For 2016, Bertelsmann expects positive business performance and continued progress with the implementation of its strategy.

Revenues in € billions1)

Revenues <span>in € billions<sup>1)</sup></span>
  • Revenue increase of 2.8 percent thanks to positive exchange rate effects in particular
  • Revenue increase at RTL Group, Penguin Random House and Arvato
  • Increased share in revenues generated by growth businesses; lower revenue shares of structurally declining businesses

Operating EBITDA in € millions1)

Operating EBITDA <span>in € millions<sup>1)</sup></span>
  • Operating EBITDA above previous year’s high level
  • EBITDA margin increased to 14.5 percent
  • Profitable growth and Group-wide earnings improvement program

Group Profit in € millions1)

Group Profit <span>in € millions<sup>1)</sup></span>
  • Significant growth of Group profit
  • Highest level since 2006
  • Lower charges from special items

1) The figures from the previous year have been adjusted. Further details are presented in the “Prior Year Information” section. Figures for the financial year 2013 have been adjusted.