German media giant KirchMedia, part of privately owned Kirch Gruppe, posted a 42% rise in earnings over its fiscal first half, driven by a strong performance in its rights trading business.

EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) jumped to DM514.4 million (E289m, $263m) from DM362.2m a year earlier. Sales increased 15% to DM3.25 billion.

“The improvement of the margin in the rights trading business has more than offset the downturn in advertising revenues, which has affected the entire media industry this year,” revealed Dieter Hahn, the firm’s chairman-designate. Kirch’s sports rights business more than trebled in value to DM603.5m over the period, while fiction rights trading increased 3% to DM926.5m.

However, the company warned it did not foresee a recovery in advertising before early 2003. It declined to give projected overall performances for this full year or the next.

The interim results were the first ever released by Kirch, which is trying to increase its transparency before merging with its own listed TV subsidiary ProSiebenSat.1 in order to gain access to the stock market [06-Sep-01].

News source: Wall Street Journal