RTL Group CEOs Hail ‘Good Start’ to 2014


LUXEMBOURG: RTL Group is benefiting from an ad-market recovery in most of the European markets it is active in, co-CEOs Anke Schäferkordt and Guillaume de Posch stated in announcing the company's Q1 results, hailing "a good start into the year" as revenues were stable at 1.3 billion euros ($1.8 billion).

Profit for the period attributable to RTL Group shareholders dropped from Q1 2013's 133 million euros ($184 million) to 92 million euros ($127 million). The company noted that the 2013 period included a one-time gain related to the partial reversal of an impairment charge on the Spanish asset Atresmedia.

"Overall, we had a good start into the year and generated one of our best first-quarter results," the co-CEOs said in a joint statement. "While Groupe M6 and RTL Radio operated in a continuously very challenging economic environment in France, all our other broadcasters reported higher or stable profit contributions year-on-year, benefiting from the recovery of most of our European TV advertising markets. Looking at the first quarter, it is important to explain that with the late Easter this year, some advertising revenue from the traditional build-up campaigns for Easter was shifted from March to April 2014, and thus into the second quarter. In addition, the second quarter is expected to profit from advertising campaigns in the run-up to the football World Cup in June, while the weeks of such big tournaments are usually less frequented, as advertisers try to avoid the direct competition to these events. We are continuing to invest across all strategic pillars: broadcast, content and digital. We are delighted about the successful launch of our Croatian children’s channel RTL Kockica and are looking forward to launching a new pay-TV channel, Geo Television, in Germany today, which builds on the strong and popular magazine brand Geo. Additionally, we have significantly strengthened our position in the U.S. with the acquisition of 495 Productions which is one of the leading production companies for the growing U.S. cable market."

The executives continued: "Based on our very healthy financial position, we have the investment capacity to explore more opportunities and will continue to do so, applying our strict investment criteria to generate profitable growth. We confirm our outlook for the full year 2014 and expect our total revenue, at constant scope and exchange rates, to be broadly stable. Additionally, our EBITA for 2014 is also expected to be broadly stable.”

The company's European ad markets were largely up, with the exceptions of a flat market in Germany and an estimated 2-percent decline in France. In Germany, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland had a stable EBITA of 134 million euros ($186 million), while in France M6's EBITA fell 28 percent to 43 million euros ($60 million). At FremantleMedia, EBITA dropped slightly to 9 million euros ($12.5 million) but RTL Nederland's EBITA rose to 6 million euros ($8.3 million).