3. Further details
3.1 Full-time employees
The number of full-time employees averaged over the year was between 10 and 50 in both the reporting year and the previous year.
3.2 Sureties provided for liabilities of third parties
By way of security for obligations taken on by MCH Live Marketing Solutions AG in the context of a work contract, MCH Group Ltd. provided guarantees amounting to CHF 5.1 million on 31.12.2020 (previous year CHF 1.0 million). To secure a rent guarantee for MC2, a guarantee of CHF 2.2 million (USD 2.5 million) was issued (previous year CHF 2.4 million, USD 2.5 million).
3.3 Contingent liabilities
As the parent company, MCH Group Ltd. guarantees the fulfilment of the contracts (investment contributions and loans earmarked for a specific purpose) with the public-sector entities (the Cantons of Basel-Stadt, Basel-Landschaft and Zurich and also the City of Zurich) by means of joint and several liability (abstract payment guarantee).
MCH Group Ltd. is jointly and severally liable with MCH Swiss Exhibition (Basel) Ltd. for a credit facility of CHF 40.0 million (previous year CHF 40.0 million), which was taken up for a sum of CHF 40.0 million (previous year CHF 40.0 million) by MCH Swiss Exhibition (Basel) Ltd. on the balance sheet date.
3.4 Maximum dividend payment
The financing concept with the public-sector entities (the Cantons of Basel-Stadt, Basel-Landschaft and Zurich and also the City of Zurich) provides for a maximum dividend payment of 5 % over the full financing term.
3.5 Key shareholders
At the end of 2020, 2,255 (previous year 2,360) registered shareholders were entered in the share register.
Shareholding 31.12. 2020 (31.12.2019):
- Lupa Systems LLC: 32.3 % (0.0 %)
- Canton of Basel-Stadt: 30.2 % (33.5 %)
- LLB Swiss Investment AG: 4.75 % (9.8 %) 1)
- HSBC Overseas Nominee (UK) Ltd.: 1.62 % (0.0 %)
- Canton of Zurich: 1.6 % (4.0 %)
- City of Zurich: 1.5 % (3.7 %)
- Canton of Basel-Landschaft: 0.0 % (7.8 %)
- Indexatlas AG 0.0 % (3.85 %)
1) As per 31.12.2019, the Statutes included a restriction on the transferability of shares for non-state shareholders of 5 % of all registered shares. This was cancelled at the Extraordinary General Meeting of MCH Group Ltd. on 27.11.2020 through an amendment to the Statutes.
3.6 Disclosure of participation rights
Shares held by members of the Board of Directors
The members of the Board of Directors hold shares to the value of TCHF 57,729 (previous year TCHF 66). The taxable value per share is CHF 12.00 (previous year CHF 26.10).
Shares held by members of the Executive Board
The members of the Executive Board hold shares to the value of TCHF 33 (previous year TCHF 41). The taxable value per share is CHF 12.00 (previous year CHF 26.10).
3.7 Influence of the Covid-19 pandemic on the financial year
Review of 2020
The Covid-19 outbreak has negatively impacted economic conditions and customer demand globally and, as a result, business activity and financial performance were significantly negatively impacted in the 2020 reporting year. In March 2020, the outbreak escalated into a global pandemic. Governments and public authorities restricted freedom of movement, travel, and the holding of meetings and events, among other things, in order to contain the spread of the virus. In many European countries, including Switzerland, the restrictions were relaxed somewhat in the summer months up until September 2020. In autumn 2020, a second wave of the pandemic broke out, and the Swiss federal government ordered further measures to contain the pandemic, including severely restricting the number of participants at events in the first instance and then also banning exhibitions held indoors.
Following the escalation of the pandemic and the various restrictions and prohibitions put in place, the majority of exhibitions and events had to be postponed or cancelled. In the 2020 financial year, it was thus only possible to stage four of the planned 24 MCH exhibitions (Swissbau, SWISS-MOTO and SWISS-CUSTOM and also ILMAC Lausanne). All other exhibitions in Switzerland – including Baselworld, Art Basel in Basel and Giardina Zürich – had to be postponed, as did Art Basel in Hong Kong and Miami Beach and Masterpiece London. Of the planned 24 third-party exhibitions in the 2020 financial year, only five could be held. This led to a decline in sales of CHF 174.6 million (-67 %) in the “Exhibitions” and “Venues” segments compared with the previous year.
In the "Live Marketing Solutions” division, numerous orders were postponed or cancelled. In the 2020 financial year, the division took on 1,124 projects in this business field, which, in terms of numbers, was around 60 % fewer than in the previous year. This resulted in a drop in sales of CHF 82.6 million, corresponding to a decline of 44 % compared with the previous year.
Outlook for 2021 and following years
Based on the latest developments and the availability of a vaccine, exhibitions and events can be expected to resume in the second half of 2021. It is currently virtually impossible to say in what form and under what protective conditions they will be staged. It can be assumed that events taking place in 2021 and beyond will have lower participant numbers than when they were last held, which will also be associated with a corresponding drop in sales.
The continuing uncertainty regarding the further development of the pandemic and the timing of the return to normal, coupled with the resulting economic consequences, necessitates continuous monitoring and reassessment of the situation and, based on this, the implementation of suitably aligned measures by the Board of Directors and management of the MCH Group.
In order to assess the negative economic consequences and the measures that need to be adopted for the company, the strategic and medium-term plan for the coming years was revised to take into account the foreseeable impact of the pandemic. The necessary cost-cutting measures derived from this were implemented immediately. One of these measures involves making use of short-time working and the associated compensation from the state.
In December of the 2020 reporting year, the capital increase for MCH Group was successfully completed. This capital increase, together with the entry of new anchor shareholder, Lupa Systems LLC, has secured the necessary capital and liquidity reserves for MCH Group to survive the consequences of the pandemic, on the one hand, and to make the strategic decisions and investments required for a successful future, on the other.
On the basis of the carefully revised medium-term plan and the secured capital and liquidity position, the management and Board of Directors has concluded that the liquidity and also the equity base of the holding company have sufficient reserves to ensure the continued existence of the group beyond 2021. In principle, it is assumed that the situation will calm down as of mid-2021 and that activities can be resumed in the second half of 2021.
As a result, the Board of Directors sees no relevant uncertainty for the future of the MCH Group and its group companies.