Notes to the Group Account

1. Consolidation and valuation principles


The present group accounts are based on the individual financial statements for the group companies, drawn up according to uniform guidelines as per 31.12.2020 and stated in Swiss francs (CHF). The consolidated annual accounts are based on the following principles:

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1.1. Accounting and valuation principles

The consolidated annual accounts of MCH Group Ltd. comply with the specialist recommendations for accounting (Swiss GAAP FER) and thus fulfil the requirements of the SIX Swiss Exchange Directives for the “Swiss Reporting Standard” segment. They present a true and fair view of the group's assets, financial assets and earnings and have been drawn up on the assumption that the corporate activity will be continued. The group accounts are based on the principle of individual valuation for assets and liabilities and on historical acquisition costs.

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1.2. Consolidation principles

The group accounts include the annual accounts of MCH Group Ltd. as well as all the group companies, observing the following criteria:

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  • Companies in which MCH Group Ltd. holds, either directly or indirectly, more than half of the voting rights or which are otherwise controlled by MCH Group Ltd. are fully consolidated. It is possible, under certain circumstances, for MCH Group Ltd. to exercise control over a company even without holding half of the voting rights. In this case, 100 % of the assets, liabilities, income and expenses are included. Any shares of minority shareholders in the equity and profits of the consolidated companies are stated separately in the group balance sheet and the group income statement.
  • Companies in which MCH Group Ltd. holds, either directly or indirectly, between 20 % and 50 % of the voting rights and which are not controlled by MCH Group Ltd. are included on the basis of the equity method. The share of equity held is stated under “Financial assets” in the group accounts. The pro-rata result for the year is stated under “Result of associated organisations” in the group income statement.
  • Companies in which MCH Group Ltd. holds less than 20 % of the voting rights are included on the consolidated balance sheet at acquisition price minus any value adjustment necessary for business reasons.

Initial consolidation is performed at the time at which the MCH Group acquires control over the company. The assets and liabilities of the company acquired are valued at their current value at the time of acquisition. Any difference remaining between the purchase price and the equity of the acquired company following this revaluation is directly charged against or credited to the retained earnings as goodwill. Upon disposal of an investment, the goodwill previously recognised in equity is taken into account at the original cost for purposes of determining the gain or loss on the disposal of investments recognised in net income. This transaction is disclosed on a separate line in the equity statement. Transaction costs are recognised as expenses.

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In performing full consolidation, 100 % of the assets, liabilities, income and expenditure are included. Any shares of minority shareholders in the equity and profits of the consolidated companies are stated separately in the group balance sheet and group income statement. Intragroup assets and liabilities, and also expenditure and income from intragroup transactions and relations between intragroup companies are eliminated, as are profits from intragroup transactions. When shares are sold to or bought from minority shareholders, the difference between the selling price and the pro-rata book value of the net assets sold is recognised in retained earnings.

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1.3. Foreign currency conversion

Annual accounts for consolidated companies in foreign currencies are converted as follows: current assets, fixed assets and liabilities at year-end rates (reporting date rate); shareholders’ equity at historical rates. The income statement and cash flow statement are converted at the average rate for the year. The resulting currency translation differences are recognised in equity without affecting the operating result.

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Items kept in foreign currencies are converted applying the reporting date exchange rate method. All assets and liabilities are converted at the daily exchange rate on the balance sheet date. The effects of foreign currency adjustments are included in the income statement. Unrealised exchange gains are similarly recognised with an effect on net income.

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Transactions in foreign currency are converted at the official average rate of the Swiss Federal Tax Administration for the month in question.

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1.4. General posting concepts

The annual accounts are drawn up on the basis of correct period accrual. The impact of business transactions and other occurrences is thus reported at the time they take place and not at the time cash and cash equivalents are received or paid. This means inter alia that expenses and income are assigned to and recognised in the relevant periods. A check is carried out on all assets at the end of the year to establish whether there are any signs that the book value of the asset is in excess of the realisable value (value impairment). If an impairment can be demonstrated, the book value is reduced to the realisable value, with the impairment being charged to the result for the period in question.

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1.5. Valuation and accounting principles


The MCH Group generates its sales with exhibitions, events and stand construction projects. The sales and associated expenditure for exhibitions and events are recognised, affecting net income, at the time at which the event is held. The last day of the exhibition or event is decisive for recognition in net income. Stand construction projects are recognised in net income at the time of the event, when the benefits and risks of the delivery and/or service pass to the purchaser. Deposits received from customers or paid to suppliers for projects in future business years are entered as prepayments and deferred income on the balance sheet for exhibitions and events; for stand construction projects, they are entered as work in progress and liabilities.

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In the case of cancelled projects (construction and stand construction), the cancellation date of the project is normally deemed to be the realisation date, and the corresponding terms of contract must be taken into account. If, in exceptional cases, special repayment and cancellation terms are negotiated, the date of the agreement on/signature of the repayment and cancellation terms is deemed to be the date of realisation.

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In the case of cancelled exhibitions, profit is recognised as follows:

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  • Cancelled exhibitions without event cancellation insurance:
    These are recognised in net income after agreement has been reached with the customers on the repayment and cancellation terms, unless the arrangements specified in the contract are applied.
  • Cancelled exhibitions with event cancellation insurance:
    Accrued costs are recognized in profit or loss under operating expenses at the time the event is cancelled. Insurance benefits are recognized in profit or loss either after the insurance company has given a definitive payment commitment or if it can be assumed with virtual certainty that the insurance benefits will be provided.
Cash and cash equivalents

Cash and cash equivalents include cash holdings and cash at banks and the Post Office, as well as short-term fixed deposits (remaining term less than 90 days). They are stated at their nominal value.

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Accounts receivable for deliveries and services

Receivables are stated at their net value, i.e. after deduction of any appropriate impairment (bad debt provision). Receivables are first written down individually. All receivables that are not written down individually are subject to a lump-sum value adjustment calculated on the basis of the following empirical values, without consideration of the country of origin:

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Due date of invoice and value adjustment as a percentage of sum invoiced:

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  • > 360 days: 100 %
  • 181 – 360 days: 50 %
  • 91 – 180 days: 30 %
  • 61 – 90 days: 15 %
  • 31 – 60 days: 5 %
  • 00 – 30 days: 2 %
  • Not due: 2 %
Inventories and work in progress

  • Inventories
    Inventories are valued at the lower of acquisition or production cost and their net realisable value. Production costs include all the directly attributable material and manufacturing costs as well as overheads that have been incurred in conveying the inventories to their current location and converting them into their current state. If the acquisition and production costs are greater than the net market value, a value adjustment (expenditure) must be made for the amount of this difference. This value is determined on the basis of the current market price on the sales market. Discounts granted are deducted from the cost of goods as a reduction in the purchase price. Measurement subsequent to initial recognition is performed using the average cost method.
  • Work in progress
    Work in progress relates to long-term projects for stand construction, which is recognised and valued using the completed contract method, since the conditions for the percentage of completion method are not cumulatively fulfilled. The project expenses incurred during stand production are capitalised as work in progress. A long-term project is only recognised, affecting net income, when the delivery and performance risk has been transferred. Any losses are recognised immediately with an impact on net income. Advance payments received are recognised without affecting net income. They are offset against the corresponding long-term projects for which the advance payment has been made, insofar as there is no right of recovery. They are otherwise shown as liabilities.
Other receivables and loans granted to others

Other receivables (including fixed deposits with a remaining term in excess of 90 days) and loans granted to others are stated at their nominal value minus any impairment.

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Prepayments, accruals and deferrals

Prepayments, accruals and deferrals are valued according to the principles that apply for receivables and liabilities. The prepayments and accrued income include both third-party and own work entered into the books for exhibitions and events taking place the following year (with the exception of work in progress on stand construction) and any sales for the reporting year that have not yet been invoiced. The accrued expenses and deferred income take in already-invoiced income from exhibitions, events and stand construction for the following year, as well as supplier invoices that have not yet arrived for goods and services already received. The accruals for current income tax are also stated under accrued expenses and deferred income.

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Tangible fixed assets

Tangible fixed assets are included in the balance sheet at acquisition or production cost and measured with allowance for the scheduled straight-line depreciation and any impairment. If the factors that have led to an impairment loss in the past improve significantly, the impairment loss will be reversed in part or in full by means of an impairment reversal. Depreciation of tangible fixed assets commences on the first day of their use. Assets under construction are thus not depreciated. The depreciation period corresponds to the estimated useful life and is as follows:

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  • Land: no depreciation
  • Buildings: 40 years
  • Various investments in extensions to buildings and systems: 10 – 20 years
  • Furniture and fittings: 3 – 10 years
  • Vehicles: 5 – 8 years
  • Sound and lighting equipment: 5 – 10 years
  • Hardware: 3 – 5 years

If it is ascertained that the useful life of a fixed asset is changing, especially as a result of technical progress, the state of the asset or the market, the residual book value of the asset will be depreciated over its new envisaged remaining useful life.

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Accompanying services provided by our own employees in creating tangible fixed assets are not included as assets on account of the type of activity involved (general planning). Interest expenditure during the construction phase of a tangible fixed asset is included on the balance sheet as acquisition or production costs.

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Intangible assets

Intangible assets are non-monetary assets without physical substance. At MCH Group, only acquired immaterial assets are capitalised, employing the following categories (including the estimated useful life):

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  • Acquired exhibitions and events: 3 – 5 years
  • Software: 3 – 5 years

Intangible assets developed by the group itself (exhibitions, events, software and other intangible assets) are not included as assets.

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Liabilities and loans taken up

Liabilities and loans taken up are stated at their nominal value. A liability or loan taken up is deemed to be short-term if:

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  • it is to be fulfilled within 12 months of the balance sheet date or
  • an outflow of funds is to be expected in the operating activities on account of it.

All other liabilities are long-term.

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Derivative financial instruments

A derivative is included on the balance sheet if it meets the definition of an asset or a liability. The group employs currency futures and swaps for hedging currency risks. For currency hedging purposes, use is made of cash flow hedges, in particular, in order to reduce foreign currency risks for highly probable future cash flows from sales in foreign currencies. All open positions from cash flow hedges on the balance sheet date are disclosed in the notes and are recognised in equity via the hedging reserve.

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Pension benefit obligations

The pension obligations of the Group companies for old age, death and disability are based on the local regulations and practices in the countries concerned. With the exception of MC2, the most important companies are located in Switzerland, where employee pensions are managed by a legally independent foundation. Only isolated pension plans are operated abroad. The actual economic impacts of all the group’s pension plans are calculated as per the balance sheet date.

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Any benefit arising from the employer contribution provisions is recognised as an asset. The capitalisation of further economic benefit (resulting from an excess funded status of the pension fund) is neither intended nor are the conditions for this fulfilled. An economic obligation is recognised as a liability if the conditions for the formation of a provision are fulfilled or, if appropriate, is stated as an obligation.

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Provisions are established to cover all the identifiable risks and obligations existing at the time the balance sheet is drawn up. Provisions are stated on the balance sheet if a probable obligation exists towards third parties which is attributable to an event that took place in the past (prior to the balance sheet date) and if the level of the obligation can be estimated. The amount of the provision is based on the expected outflow of funds to settle the obligation, which is revaluated each year. The amount of the provision is determined through an analysis of the respective event in the past, as well as on the basis of events that have occurred subsequent to the balance sheet date, insofar as these contribute to clarifying the situation. Anticipated losses from exhibitions and events are recognised immediately with an impact on net income and shown under provisions. Obligating events after the balance sheet date have an impact on provisions if it becomes clear that they are caused by circumstances originating prior to the balance sheet date.

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In the case of an acquisition, the net assets acquired are valued at their current value. The excess of the acquisition costs over the revalued net assets corresponds to goodwill. Goodwill is offset directly against equity at the time of acquisition. This is permissible under Swiss GAAP FER insofar as the impact of theoretical capitalisation and theoretical amortisation on the goodwill and the equity is set out separately in the equity statement and in the notes. The goodwill is amortised on a theoretical basis over a period of five years. In the event of any impairment of the goodwill, this will be stated in the notes.

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Upon disposal of an investment, the goodwill previously recognised in equity is taken into account at the original cost for purposes of determining the gain or loss to be recognised in profit or loss.

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In stating current and future income tax consequences, a distinction is made between the determination of current and deferred income tax. Current income tax is calculated in accordance with the tax regulations for determining taxable income and is stated as expenditure. Current income tax is included under accrued expenses. Deferred taxes result from valuation differences between the group’s values and the decisive values for tax purposes and are included as deferred items accordingly. The recognition of deferred income tax is based on a balance-sheet approach and fundamentally takes into account all future income-tax consequences. The deferred tax liability is calculated on the basis of the actual future tax rates to be expected and shown under the long-term provisions. Deferred tax assets from losses carried forward are not capitalised.

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In the context of the “Messe Basel New Buildings” project, various subsidies were granted from the public purse (Cantons of Basel-Stadt, Basel-Landschaft and Zurich and also the City of Zurich); these included investments à fonds perdu. In the 2012 business year, MCH Swiss Exhibition (Basel) Ltd. received a non-repayable loan, secured by a mortgage, of CHF 50.0 million from the Canton of Basel-Stadt, as a financing contribution à fonds perdu. This was to run for 20 years and incurred the obligation to continue operating the Congress Center Basel (CCB) for 20 years. Under buildings and fixed installations, an acquisition value was eliminated for the same amount as the non-repayable loan secured by a mortgage. Each year, the corresponding part of the building is depreciated by CHF 2.5 million and, at the same time, the non-repayable loan secured by a mortgage is reduced by CHF 2.5 million and recognised as other operating income.

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