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Bertelsmann Falls to Q1 Loss

News, 09 May 2003

German media mammoth Bertelsmann slumped into the red in the first quarter.

The owner of the BMG music label and RTL Grouptelevision conglomerate posted net losses of €397 million ($455m; £283m) for the first three months of the year, down from profits of €2.54 billion in Q1 2002 (when it was boosted by the sale of its stake in AOL Europe).

Revenues slid 8.6% to €3.93bn, while EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) fell from a €20m gain to a €58m loss.

“The results are in line with our expectations and reflect the difficult overall market situation,” declared chief financial officer Siegfried Luther.

As the USA accounts for around 28% of sales (making it Bertelsmann’s number two market after Germany), the group’s results were also hit by weakness in the dollar, which has fallen 20% against the euro in the last year.

Bertelsmann’s debts rose to €2.72bn by March 31, though it hopes to cut this by around €1bn with the sale of academic publisher BertelsmannSpringer.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff