Editorial

Ladies and Gentlemen

“The Aduno Group posted consolidated revenue of CHF 484.1 million. The operating result rose by 1.8 per cent to CHF 84.1 million and at CHF 74.6 million, net profit was also slightly up on the previous year.”

Looking back on the 2015 financial year, two topics in particular have kept us busy – digitisation and the strong franc.

Digitisation is the mega trend in our industry. All market participants are gearing their business towards this and pushing ahead with great momentum to bring products and services for digital payment onto the market. While some have already disappeared again, new competitors are appearing on the market and pushing their way into our value chain – including global enterprises such as Apple, Google and Samsung that are capable of establishing digital payment in the mass market. Our environment has become more dynamic and competitive. Nevertheless, we have every confidence that the Aduno Group can not only hold its own well but will also be among the winners of digitisation.

Why are we so optimistic? Because the Aduno Group can play some trump cards: first of all, it is ideally positioned as a specialist in card-based payment solutions, as Apple and the like are focusing on collaboration with the existing card organisations MasterCard and Visa. This gives the Aduno Group an initial advantage as partner of the card providers. Secondly, the Aduno Group can count on broad acceptance among end customers and established relationships with its partner banks and affiliated partners. And thirdly, innovative strength and speed are called for in a dynamic environment – qualities the Aduno Group has already demonstrated several times. We thus worked at full steam in the 2015 financial year on the preparation of digital payment services and invested around CHF 30 million in future projects.

On 15 January 2015 the Swiss National Bank decided to scrap the euro/franc floor which had far-reaching implications for the Aduno Group. This move has fundamentally altered the framework conditions in our industry: owing to the strong franc, the value of all card sales generated in the eurozone suddenly fell by 15 per cent. Prices collapsed by a similar amount in the vehicle trade, which affected our leasing business, and card sales by foreigners in Switzerland dropped by as much as 30 to 40 per cent, particularly in the first half of the year. On the positive side it can be noted that the absolute volume of our foreign business has increased. In other words, the Swiss are going shopping and spending their holidays more in the eurozone. Nevertheless, the overall impact of the strong franc was negative.

In view of the considerable investments in our strategic projects and the headwind brought about by the currency developments, we can be very satisfied with the result of the 2015 financial year: the Aduno Group posted consolidated revenue of CHF 484.1 million. The operating result rose by 1.8 per cent to CHF 84.1 million and at CHF 74.6 million, net profit was also slightly up on the previous year.

In total, all business divisions of the Aduno Group – Payment, comprising the Issuing business of Viseca Card Services SA (Viseca), the Acquiring and terminal business of Aduno SA (Aduno), the guarantee deposit business of AdunoKaution AG (AdunoKaution) and the terminalsoftware business of Vibbek AG, and Consumer Finance with cashgate AG (cashgate) – contributed to this result. Payment once again grew and increased the number of issued cards in the Issuing business by 3.9 per cent year-on-year to around 1.4 million. New card sales rose by 6.2 per cent, thereby underlining the efficiency of our sales organisation and the good collaboration with the partner banks. In the Acquiring business, transaction volumes were upheld despite the abolition of the euro minimum exchange rate. Newly gained key accounts offset the fall in turnover in sectors sensitive to the exchange rate such as tourism, the hotel industry and the cross-border retail trade.

In the Consumer Finance division, the personal credit business once again sent out a strong signal: the volume of new business rose by 11.2 per cent in a shrinking overall market. cashgate’s attractive price model therefore also paid off in the last year. cashgate also launched a product for financing studies, thereby tapping a completely new business area. In parallel with the shrinking overall market, the leasing business also sustained a decline in new volume.

As in 2015, we will also address tasks associated with the digitisation of our business in the current year. We will also continue to face the challenges of the strong franc. However, a third major issue will be the increasing degree of regulation: according to a federal ordinance, a maximum interest rate will apply from mid-2016 of ten per cent for personal credits and 12 per cent in the credit card business. It is hard to comprehend why the regulator wishes to intervene in well-functioning markets in which competition prevails between different credit models and conditions.

In the credit card business the Competition Commission had prescribed a reduction of the interchange fee that the Acquirer passes on to the Issuer. This reduction will for the first time apply for an entire year in 2016, which will have a negative impact on the earnings of the Aduno Group. Nevertheless, we will not attempt to offset these financial losses by cutting investments as in order to be properly prepared for the future we need to lay down the key foundations this year.

Credit for the fact that the Aduno Group successfully mastered this challenging year above all lies with our employees who worked hard on behalf of the company at all levels in 2015. We would like to thank them for this commitment. We would also like to thank our customers for their trust and our partner banks for their support.

 

                    

Dr Pierin Vincenz
Chairman of the Board of Directors

Martin Huldi
Chief Executive Officer