For Orell Füssli, the first half of 2018 was dominated by the task of setting the group’s strategic course and continued work on operational improvements. The approx. 3% decline in group net revenue compared to the previous year to CHF 127.5 million was due primarily to a change in the product mix at Security Printing. Operating earnings remained constant compared to the previous year, at CHF 3.2 million. This figure includes special items due to external expenses for optimisation and strategy analyses at Security Printing amounting to CHF –0.6 million.
In the first half of 2018 Atlantic Zeiser drifted sideways in operating terms compared to the previous year. On the one hand, net revenue at the Packaging business unit increased as a start was made on processing the high level of incoming orders from the previous year. On the other hand, orders received by the Card Personalisation Systems business unit were substantially lower than in the first half of 2017 due to market conditions. The current order backlog at the Banknote Serialisation and Packaging business units mean that a stable second half year can be expected. The strategic future course for Atlantic Zeiser was also finally set in the first half of 2018. The reorientation of the business to concentrate on the serialisation of banknotes and security documents results in the clear, sustainable focusing of Atlantic Zeiser on its core competences and outstanding market position in this field.
At Security Printing, both net revenue and operating earnings were lower in the first half of 2018 compared to the previous year, despite an increase in output. The main reason for this was the change in the product mix. Further significant progress was made in the important parameters of productivity and quality on the basis of experience gained from several new issues in previous years. On the customer side, work on acquiring high-quality orders is continuing unabated, and new customers were gained in the first half of the year. The Swiss franc continues to be the most important reference in this context as the world’s currently most innovative banknote. Finally, in the first half of 2018 a start was made on compiling further optimisation and strategy analyses with the objective of positioning Security Printing favourably in an evolving market environment.
Book Retailing developed encouragingly in the first half of 2018, despite a persistently challenging market environment, and further consolidated its position as Swiss market leader against the market trend. Work in the context of the transformation programme was pursued further and is at an advanced stage of implementation. The fact that the Book Retailing Division was also able to grow in the new sales channels of e-books and online sales was especially pleasing and underlines the correctness of the omni-channel strategy. The branch network will be expanded in the coming year with the addition of a new high-frequency outlet in Zurich’s inner city.
In the second half of 2018 the Board of Directors and executive management of the Orell Füssli Group will focus both on completing the strategic reorientation of Atlantic Zeiser and on the further pursuit of the strategic initiatives at Security Printing and Book Retailing. In the second half of 2018 the establishment of the new organisation at Atlantic Zeiser will continue to be pursued alongside the numerous efforts involved in separating operating activities. At Security Printing the emphasis – in addition to ongoing operating improvements – will be on inspiring new customers with the company’s capabilities and securing their long-term loyalty to Orell Füssli. At Book Retailing, market leadership is to be consolidated further by the systematic implementation of the remaining stages of the transformation programme.
Zurich, August 2018