Bertelsmann Shareholder Leaks News of Q3 Loss

07 November 2002

All’s fair in love and finance, as Belgian money-juggler Albert Frère probably reflected when he decided to leak news of a €350 million ($351.43m; £224.72m) third quarter loss by German media giant Bertelsmann .

Frère’s holding company Groupe Bruxelles Lambert owns a 25.1% stake in Bertelesmann, and made the disclosure in a filing at the close of Tuesday’s trading on the Brussels bourse. The figures are due for formal release today (Thursday).

The revelation “surprised” and “irritated” Bertelsmann, say insiders, although the company declined to make any formal comment.

The Frère disclosure relates to the first nine months of this year and states that Bertelsmann has posted net profits of €1.27 billion on sales of €12.99bn during the period. But based on the six-monthly figures, this implies a net loss of €350m in Q3 – probably because of a sharp hike in amortization and write-downs.

However, the entrail-rakers were cheered by Groupe Bruxelles Lambert’s upbeat full year assessment for the media mammoth: “Bertelsmann should see a substantial rise in its ebita during the fourth quarter, which is traditionally the busiest time of year for most of the group's activities.”

Meantime, Bertelsmann moles have let it be known that today’s results will show EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortization) of €102m for the quarter, including internet start-up costs.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staf