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