In 2019, the EPO achieved a standardised operating result of € 354m, one of its highest results to date, even if slightly below the 2018 figure. This reflects the high level of production of 421 250 search, examination, and opposition products (-2.1% compared to the 2018 peak) achieved in 2019.
The EPO's revenues remained unchanged compared to 2018. Lower renewal fees for patent applications at € 476m (-8%) were offset by higher renewal fees for granted patents, which totalled € 582m (+7%). The revenues from procedural fees remained at the previous year's level (+ € 6m, 0.7%), and growth in grant revenue compensated for the slight decline in search and examination.
Budget surplus for 2019, after investments in the capital section, amounted to € 364m, exceeding forecasts, but remaining below the 2018 figure.
The IFRS operating result for 2019 was € -135m, marking an improvement of € 70m versus 2018. This was primarily due to a decrease in the current service cost for employee benefits resulting from a higher discount rate applied in 2019.
In 2019 the EPO generated a financial profit of € 1 348m, mainly resulting from gains on RFPSS assets (€ 1 435m) and EPOTIF (€ 325m), reduced by the interest cost on defined benefit obligation (€ 412m). It is worth noting that these results were achieved prior to the financial crisis in Q1 2020.
The value of the RFPSS assets at the end of the year was € 9 594m and the EPO Treasury Investment Fund (EPOTIF) closed the year at € 2 955m. The EPO's total assets amount to € 13 811m.
The equity of the Organisation decreased in 2019 by € 6.8bn due to actuarial losses primarily resulting from lower interest rates applied at the year-end to the valuation of its post-employment benefit obligations. At the end of 2019 our negative equity amounted to € -17.6bn.
In 2019 the EPO completed its implementation of the governance framework defined in the EPO Investment Guidelines (CA/F 18/17 Rev. 1). The EPOTIF Governance Framework regulations were issued by the President in March.
The Board of Auditors issued their report (CA/20/19) in April 2019, which confirmed that the set-up of the Master-KVG model and the internal structures and processes relating to the EPOTIF are in line with market practices.
The EPO created a new function, that of EPOTIF Risk and Compliance Officer, reporting directly to the President. The first EPOTIF Risk and Compliance Report was issued in July 2019.
The Investment Committee was set up in August 2019 and its first annual meeting was held in September 2019.
The Implementing Rules on EPOTIF Oversight were issued by the CFO in September 2019.
The external audit of the EPOTIF was performed in Q3 2019 and a reported was submitted to the BFC in October 2019 (CA/F 27/19). The auditors confirmed that the setup of EPOTIF is of high professional quality and adheres to best governance principles.