German media group Bertelsmann is making sweet music with its first half profits, which have more than tripled compared with the same period last year.

The globe's fourth largest media company recorded a net income of €550 million ($670m; £375m), up from €142m, while revenues climbed 3.2% to €7.9bn.

Last year's cost-cutting and artist streamlining at music arm BMG seem to have paid off as the business saw a recovery in European and US markets and underwent an operating earnings before interest and taxation (ebit) turnaround from a €135m loss in 2003 to a profit of €74m.

Broadcaster RTL boosted finances with its strong performance and growth in operating ebit from €250m to €373m. The consolidation of French TV channel M6 and growth at British channel Five offset a fall in ad revenue at its core domestic business.

Publisher Random House also boasted a rise in operating ebit on the back of successful book sales such as Bill Clinton's autiobiography, 'My Life', while the sale of New York's Bertelsmann Building brought in a profit of €177m for the media group.

Although revealing it plans to spend up to €2bn on acquisitions over the next three years, Bertelsmann chose not to reveal whether this might include the purchase of BBC Worldwide, the commercial division of the British broadcaster [WAMN: 08-Sep-04].

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