Reporting the financial results for the first nine months of the year, the RTL Group said the outlook for the full year 2008 remains unchanged. Despite the current economic climate and continued low visibility on the advertising markets, the broadcaster remains cautiously optimistic about achieving its financial targets this year.
Bucking a tougher economic climate, RTL Group said it generated ‘sound results’ in the period January to September 2008: operating profit (EBITA) increased slightly to €577 million (2007: €568 million). Particularly strong performances from Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland and FremantleMedia compensated for significant negative effects such as the slowdown in several advertising markets, the major programme investment for the European football championship 2008 at Groupe M6 in France and restructuring charges at RTL Nederland.
Revenue in the reporting period was stable at €4,052 million (2007: E€4,039 million). Stripping out the effects of the portfolio changes, underlying revenue at constant exchange rates came to €4,095 million. The net cash position at 30 September 2008 amounted to €755 million (30 June 2008: €588 million) with an operating cash conversion of 125% (2007: 122%).
TV advertising market conditions were very mixed in the reporting period with Germany and The Netherlands posting positive growth. Elsewhere, net TV advertising markets were down year-on-year, with Spain and France reporting the most severe decline. RTL Group’s operations continued to outperform the markets in many countries, most notably in Germany and France (TV and radio).