US, German Weakness Threatens Bertelsmann Targets

25 March 2003

German media giant Bertelsmann will struggle to meet financial performance targets without significant economic recovery in the US and Germany.

So warned chief executive Gunter Thielen ahead of the release of Bertelsmann’s full-year 2002 results today (Tuesday). The group’s goal is to double profit margins to 10% by 2005, but this may be scuppered by poor conditions in America and its native Germany, in which two markets it does two-thirds of its business.

“The 10% can be reached in a normal economy. We stick to that goal in the mid-term,” Thielen declared. “With the economy as it is now, it will not be bad if we reach 7% to 8%.”

Bertelsmann is expected to post a 50% jump in 2002 EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) to around €900 million ($957m; £609m).

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