Dear Shareholders,

The COVID-19 pandemic during the first half of 2020 was an extraordinary time for the company and for the economy, and also had an impact on the operations of the Orell Füssli Group. Thanks to a diversified and robust business model, a sound asset and financial position as well as professional crisis management, Orell Füssli was able to overcome the challenges successfully and to limit the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Both existing and incoming orders remained at healthy levels during the first half of the year. However, net revenues of the Orell Füssli Group fell by 10% over the first six months to CHF 104.1 million (last year: CHF 115.2 million), which can be accounted for by delayed orders for security printing, the sale of a line of business last year by Zeiser as well as reduced revenues from book retailing. According to Federal Council instructions, the Book Retailing Division was forced to close its fixed sales outlets temporarily. EBIT for the first half of the year amounted to CHF 6.7 million (last year CHF 8.1 million). Half-year net income of CHF 8.0 million turned out to be significantly better than last year (CHF 5.4 million), mainly for tax reasons. In line with expectations, EBIT for the Security Printing Division during the first half of 2020 was lower than it was in the first half of 2019, while Zeiser was able to increase last year’s solid result. Travel restrictions caused by the pandemic resulted in delayed order acquisition for both Security Printing and Zeiser. Some effects may be felt in 2021.


Business slowed down for the Book Retailing Division due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to its status as a market leader for Swiss online book retailing, the Division was able to benefit from the strong rise in demand for digital books and to redirect a significant share of the business lost from fixed sales outlets to the Orell Füssli Thalia digital shop.

On the publishing side, further important progress was made in relation to the ongoing transformation project and we are confident that the publishing business will be able to break even by the end of 2020. We were delighted that 3 books from the spring non-fiction and children’s books publishing programme were best sellers in Switzerland for a number of weeks. In addition Ms Martina Barth will take over the management of Orell Füssli Publishing as of November 2020.


The expansion of new digital applications in the area of security and education was pursued further during the first half of 2020. The most recent developments in society triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic have made it clear that demand for digital identities and e-government products will increase significantly. In an initial step, Orell Füssli made a strategic investment in the company Procivis Ltd. Procivis’ e-government technology enables citizens to access government and private services se-curely based on a digital identity.

In addition, Orell Füssli merged Orell Füssli Holding Ltd with its fully-owned subsidiaries in Switzerland to form Orell Füssli Ltd retrospectively as of 1 January 2020. As part of this change, Orell Füssli also reorganised Group management and redesigned the Group’s website (

The Orell Füssli Group remains cautiously optimistic for 2020 and still expects net revenues to be slightly below their level in 2019, with an EBIT margin in the mid-single-digit percentage range. This is based on the assumption that there will be no second wave of COVID-19 requiring the imposition of further drastic restrictions.

We would like to express our warmest thanks to our employees at all companies for their commitment during these challenging times, to our customers and partners for their continuing loyalty, and to you, our shareholders, for the confidence placed in us and in the Orell Füssli business.

Zurich, August 2020


Dr Anton Bleikolm

Chairman of the Board of Directors