ProSiebenSat.1 suffers from SBS write-off

By Robert Briel | March 4, 2009 | 08:45 UK

A write-off to the tune of €80 million has pushed the results of German based broadcasting giant ProSiebenSat.1 into the red. The broadcaster acquired SBS Broadcasting in 2007 for €3.3 billion.
Interest payments on loans associated with the SBS purchase also influenced the results of the company, whose regular TV business is under pressure.

The company said in a press statement: “The reduction in revenue is the result of problems with acceptance levels after the launch of a new sales model for the German TV advertising market. In addition, the economic uncertainty significantly reduced advertisers’ willingness to invest during the second half of the year, both in Germany – the Group’s core market – and in the rest of Europe.”

On the basis of preliminary figures for 2008, the ProSiebenSat.1 Group’s consolidated revenues came to €3.054 billion. Recurring EBITDA (EBITDA adjusted for one-time effects) reached €674.5 million. Reflecting the first full-year consolidation of SBS, revenue growth was equivalent to 12.7% (2007: €2.710 billion). This calculation includes the SBS business for the full year, with a contribution of €1.076 billion in revenues (July-December 2007: €547.0 million).

“I am taking office as CEO of a company that has shown great strength in difficult situations during 2008. Far-sighted business decisions have been made, and important operating and strategic goals have been achieved. The German family of stations increased its audience share significantly, in spite of the Olympics and the European Soccer Championships. The reorganization of German Free TV and the German Sales House will be completed successfully by mid-2009,” said Thomas Ebeling, CEO of ProSiebenSat.1, in a statement.

The major strategic goals included the reorganization of German Free TV and German Sales House; European playout center built; technical outsourcing and the sell-off of the Scandinavian C More premium TV operations.