Group revenues in the first half of 2016 of €7,966 million were 0.9 percent below the previous year’s figure (H1 2015: €8,040 million). Adjusted for exchange rate effects of -1.1 percent and portfolio and other effects of -1.1 percent, organic revenue growth amounted to 1.3 percent.
In the first half of 2016, RTL Group achieved revenue growth primarily due to the positive development of Groupe M6, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland and the digital activities. Penguin Random House recorded a decline in revenues, attributable primarily to divestments, exchange rate effects and new sales terms for e-books in the United States and the UK which led to lower sales. At Gruner + Jahr, revenues decreased due to a decline in advertising and circulation revenues and also due to divestments. On the other hand, revenues from digital businesses continued to increase. BMG continued to grow, aided by its acquisition of additional music companies and rights catalogs. Arvato grew its revenues, in particular in the CRM Solutions and Financial Solutions business units. Revenue development at Bertelsmann Printing Group was affected primarily by the sale of printing activities in Southern Europe which were included for part of the same period last year. Bertelsmann Education Group pressed ahead with the expansion of the education business and increased its revenues. The fund activities combined in the Bertelsmann Investments division are not consolidated and, for this reason, no revenue is reported for this segment.
There were moderate changes in the geographical breakdown of revenues compared to the same period in the previous year. The revenue share in Germany increased to 35.2 percent, compared to 34.0 percent in the first half of 2015. The revenue share generated by France amounted to 14.2 percent (H1 2015: 14.0 percent). In the UK, revenue share was 5.7 percent (H1 2015: 5.9 percent), while other European countries achieved a revenue share of 18.5 percent (H1 2015: 17.8 percent). The share of total revenues generated in the United States was 20.4 percent (H1 2015: 21.5 percent); other countries accounted for a share of 6.0 percent (H1 2015: 6.8 percent). In total, these figures show that the total share of revenues represented by foreign business decreased slightly, from 66.0 percent in the first half of 2015 to 64.8 percent. The ratio of the four revenue streams (products and merchandise, advertising, services, and rights and licenses) to one another remained mostly unchanged compared to the first half of 2015.
Bertelsmann achieved operating EBITDA of €1,111 million during the reporting period (H1 2015: €1,063 million). The EBITDA margin of 13.9 percent was above the level of 13.2 percent in the same period last year. The operating earnings of RTL Group improved compared to the first half of 2015.
The increase was mainly attributable to higher earnings contributions from Groupe M6 and Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland. The decline in revenues at Penguin Random House also impacted operating EBITDA. As a result of lower revenues in the advertising business, and start-up losses for digital businesses, operating earnings at Gruner + Jahr decreased. Operating EBITDA at BMG was higher than the previous year’s figure. Operating earnings at Arvato increased across all business units. Due to improved utilization of production capacity as a result of the acquisition of new customers and further cost savings, operating EBITDA for Bertelsmann Printing Group increased. As a result of start-up losses in connection with business expansion and transformation costs, operating earnings at Bertelsmann Education Group decreased in the reporting period. Since the fund activities combined in the Bertelsmann Investments division are not fully consolidated, operating results are not generally reported.
Special items offset each other in the reporting period compared to €-101 million in the same period last year. They consisted of impairments on other financial assets totaling €-5 million (H1 2015: €-5 million), results from disposals of investments of €56 million (H1 2015: €17 million), and restructuring expenses and other special items totaling €-51 million (H1 2015: €-118 million). The result from disposals of investments was particularly affected by gains on disposals in the Bertelsmann Investments division. In the reporting period there was no fair value remeasurement of investments following €5 million in the same period last year.
Taking into account adjusted operating EBITDA for special items totaling €0 million (H1 2015: €-101 million) and the amortization, depreciation, impairments and reversals of impairments on intangible assets and property, plant and equipment totaling €-306 million (H1 2015: €-292 million), which were not included in special items, EBIT amounted to €805 million in the reporting period (H1 2015: €670 million).
Group Profit or Loss
The financial result was €-117 million (H1 2015: €-119 million). Tax expenses amounted to €-206 million compared to €-156 million in the same period last year, in particular due to the improved earnings before taxes from continuing operations. In addition, the positive special effects included in tax expenses decreased compared to the same period in the previous year. Earnings after taxes from continuing operations were thus €482 million (H1 2015: €395 million). Since no companies were classified as discontinued operations during the reporting period, Group profit was also €482 million (H1 2015: €398 million). The share of Group profit held by Bertelsmann shareholders was €288 million (H1 2015: €217 million). The non-controlling interests in Group profit came to €194 million (H1 2015: €181 million).