The average number of employees for the year fell slightly to 669 (previous year: 673). The proportion of female employees in the company increased slightly and now stands at just over 50 per cent. The number of part-time employees remained virtually unchanged at 143.
Depreciation and amortization was 2.9 million euros, up 0.2 million euros compared with the previous year.
Other operating expenses fell by 0.4 million euros to 19.7 million euros. Here, too, the cancellation of major sporting events played a major role along with a disproportionate, corona-related decrease in travel and event costs allied with overall savings achieved in communication, transport and advertising. An opposite tendency, but in line with plan, saw an increase in the technical consulting and operating costs needed to speed up major innovation projects. A conservative accounting approach was again taken into account through increased provisions for litigation risks and allowances for bad debts.
The financial result amounted to 15.5 million euros, an increase of 1.0 million euros over the previous year. In addition to higher contributions to earnings and distributions from subsidiaries and investments, particularly from news aktuell and mecom, the previous year’s high book value write-downs of 0.8 million euros were also reduced to 0.3 million euros. Interest income increased slightly to 0.2 million euros, while interest expense remained virtually unchanged at 0.1 million euros.
This resulted in earnings before taxes of 1.7 million euros. Net income after taxes amounted to 1.6 million euros, up 0.3 million euros on the previous year.
The Management Board and Supervisory Board propose to the Shareholders’ Meeting that the net profit for the year of 1,611,255.80 euros be added to the profit carried forward as of 01/01/2020 of 2,657,216.72 euros to produce a balance sheet profit of 4,268,472.52 euros and carried forward to new account.
In addition to its core activities, dpa operates in a number of associated other business areas and new business fields organised as in independent, wholly owned subsidiaries. Owing to the chosen structure, dpa’s earnings are highly dependent on the economic development and the profit contributions of the affiliated subsidiaries and other holdings, which are generally subject to profit and loss transfer agreements, as well as other investments. In 2020, they once again generated high net incomes for the year and made an overall contribution to earnings that marked a new all-time high of 15.7 million euros (previous year: 15.3 million euros).
Within the framework of the existing profit and loss transfer agreement, news aktuell GmbH contributed the largest sum to the success of the dpa group, at 7.6 million euros. The significant increase in the annual result was greatly influenced by the growth of two business lines, ots and Zimpel, but also by corona-related savings effects, especially on travel expenses and in the event area.
In 2020, dpa Picture-Alliance GmbH once again succeeded – despite huge sales losses due to the corona crisis – in achieving a result above the 2 million euros mark in the highly competitive picture market. At 2.3 million euros, this was only slightly below the previous year’s figure. As in the past year, positive effects from the company’s sales and technical restructuring played a role here. Renewed increases in rights prosecution and strict cost management made a major contribution to the unexpectedly good result.
The photo agency Zentralbild GmbH clearly felt the impact of the corona crisis on the culture and entertainment industry as well as on the world of sports. It managed to achieve a positive annual result by only a very narrow margin. Medium-term developments will be watched here very closely.
As expected, the graphics subsidiary dpa-infografik GmbH was unable to maintain the previous year’s level of sales in a market which remained difficult. Its earnings fell back again by 0.1 million euros to 0.2 million euros following the previous year’s increase.
Driven by its own product innovations in the field of data-based products and fact-checks, dpa-infocom GmbH was able to maintain in fiscal 2020 the very satisfactory earnings level of the previous year. With a cautious expansion of production capacities, it achieved an annual profit of 2.7 million euros.
The service companies dpa-IT Services GmbH (formerly dpa mediatechnology GmbH) and dpa English Services GmbH finished 2020 at roughly the same level as the previous year, with business volumes remaining virtually unchanged. The Rufa audio segment expanded its service business for the dpa parent company by about 30 percent by integrating the staff of the TeleNewsNetwork video unit.
dpa-AFX Wirtschaftsnachrichten GmbH, in which dpa holds a 76% stake, managed to keep sales stable at 4.7 million euros despite a tense market environment. A dedicated cost management helped the subsidiary to achieve a profit of 0.6 million euros which is on a par with the previous year.
The mecom Medien-Communikations-Gesellschaft mbH (dpa holds a 50% stake and indirect investment of 10% shareholding) recorded a marked increase in sales, especially in the growth area of protected networks. Owing to restructuring measures, which began the previous year and one-off savings effects from the corona crisis, mecom was able to post a surplus of more than 1.0 million euros for the first time in many years and it set a new benchmark with a profit of 1.4 million euros.
dpa-digital services GmbH (in which dpa holds a 50% stake) was able to deliver a positive result for the fourth year in succession after an initial start-up phase linked to start-up losses. However, revenue growth once again fell short of expectations, showing that the market environment remains challenging.
The two holdings in Switzerland, awp Finanznachrichten AG (50% dpa stake) and news aktuell (Schweiz) AG (100% dpa participation since 01/2020), developed very positively in 2020.
Market changes were evident in the Swiss financial industry, particularly in the banking sector, but these had virtually no negative impact on awp’s business performance. Sales remained stable at a high level and the company closed the year with a slightly increased profit of 1.8 million Swiss francs.
Following the completion of structural and personnel reorganisation in the two previous years, news aktuell (Schweiz) AG boosted both sales and earnings in 2020 and generated a very satisfactory net profit for the year of 0.7 million Swiss francs.