Bertelsmann is counting the cost of last year’s purchase of Zomba Records, the tumbling value of which took the gloss from otherwise positive results.

Following a €1.3bn write-down in Zomba’s value, the German media mammoth’s full-year 2002 net profits slumped 25% to €928 million ($990m; £629m) from €1.23bn in 2001.

However, operating earnings (which exclude exceptional items as well as interest and taxes) surged 63% to €936m, as all seven of Bertelsmann’s major divisions reported an improvement in performance over the year. Sales slipped from €19bn to €18.3bn, which the group blamed largely on the recent strength of the euro.

Of the media firm’s units, RTL Group – the leading TV broadcaster in Europe – posted a jump in earnings from €385m to €465m.

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