Once again, sales in the new product areas again developed well, with a further plus of 0.4 million euros. Custom content offerings, dpa’s video service and the technology services were in some cases all able to achieve significant growth.
The special service for advertising journals dpa-Avis and the European special service dpa Insight EU proved to be largely stable. However, the foreign-language special services were unable to meet revenue expectations and on balance, fell short of the previous year’s figures.
Revenues for technology and transmission fell slightly, in line with expectations, to just over 1.2 million euros.
Other operating income increased from 1.4 million euros to 1.7 million euros, mainly due to project-related funds from two EU institutions.
The total operating performance was 94.6 million euros (previous year: 94.4 million euros), an increase of 0.2 million euros.
The cost of materials fell by 5.2% or 1.6 million euros to 29.7 million euros, mainly due to the absence of the special expense allocations for major sporting events in 2018. This was also due to the one-off expenses for the restructuring of the Spanish service. The cost savings achieved in this context more than compensated for the higher cost of IT purchases.
Personnel costs rose noticeably again in 2019, increasing by 2.5 million euros to 55.3 million euros. This contrasted with 2018 when there was no collectively agreed salary increase and no special contribution to the dpa provident fund.
Of this amount, 1.5 million euros was attributable to cyclically higher allocations to the provident fund, 0.4 million euros to offset one-off expenses for the ongoing restructuring of editorial structures and around 0.8 million euros to finance the effects of new collective wage agreements as well as to increase the number of temporary staff. The costs were offset by sustainable savings effects from the reorganization of the Spanish service.
The personnel measures associated with this reorganization were implemented – as planned – in the first quarter of the year, taking the best possible account of the interests of those affected. In addition, a new collective bargaining wage round was launched at the beginning of the year, as the previously valid collective bargaining agreements governing employee salaries had been formally terminated as of December 31, 2018. Unlike during previous collective bargaining rounds, however, the parties involved were able to reach an agreement in the middle of the following year. This and the negotiated contract period term of 30 months made an important contribution to planning security for the coming years.
The related portfolio of training and personnel development measures was also expanded. In order to improve cooperation within the group, an open day for employees was organised and its success has ensured the event a regular place in the calender. The personnel department was also able to expand its range of services throughout the group.
The processes regulated in the current works constitution act show some clear deficits when it comes to the agile working methods now increasingly being used. New demands on all the parties involved relate to procedures governing face-to-face meetings and decision-taking which crops up during the course of a project and cannot be foreseen. Although progress has been made in this area, the aspect is set to be a central element of operational cooperation in the coming year.
The average number of employees fell slightly to 673 (previous year: 679). The proportion of female employees in the company has gone up slightly and now stands at just below 50%. The number of part-time employees remained almost constant at 145.