LUXEMBOURG: Europe's biggest commercial broadcaster, RTL Group, reported a robust rise in profits last year on the back of rebounding economies that lifted advertising sales. Net income climbed to €890 million ($1.17bn; £605.8m) from €537m in 2005. Sales rose 10% to €5.64 billion.

Ceo Gerhard Zeiler said the group's German and French channels had made a "promising start" this year and that RTL might make acquisitions to help growth.

The company, majority controlled by the Bertelsmann media giant, has 38 TV channels and 29 radio stations in ten European countries.

Its UK broadcaster Five made a €1m loss in 2006, the result of a slowdown in the British ad market and the cost of launching two digital channels.

But Zeiler added: "We are confident that the UK advertising climate will improve considerably. If you go into the market and talk today there is already a much better feeling around than there was at the end of last year."

Data sourced from Brand Republic (UK); additional content by WARC staff