Revs, losses rise at Sweden’s Modern

AMSTERDAM — Net revenue in the first half of 1997 jumped 11% at Modern Times Group from 1996, but losses continued to pile up as the broadcast and entertainment arm of Swedish conglom Kinnevik prepares to spin off from its parent company and go public in September.

Net revenues rose to SEK 1.5 billion ($188 million) in the first half of the year, up from $163 million in 1996, with the largest increase coming from the broadcasting and publishing sectors. Broadcasting profits rose from $100 million in the first half of 1996 to $113 million in the same time period this year.

Losses, however, nearly tripled from $9 million in 1996 to $24 million in 1997. Modern Times Group’s chief financial officer Johann Lindgren told Variety the weakening of the kroner against stronger currencies like the dollar “had a considerable impact” on MTG’s bottom line.

MTG has more than a dozen general entertainment and niche TV channels in Scandinavia and the Baltic States, as well as a 23% share of Swedish commercial market leader TV4. It also has interests in New York-based Kinnevik Media Properties, a film rights arm with more than 1,000 titles in its library.

Kinnevik, whose interests are in media, forestry and telecommunications, began spinning off its core businesses late last year. The MTG stock exchange launch will be accompanied by Kinnevik’s recapitalization of MTG, which lost $78 million in 1996.

Stig Nordin, president of Kinnevik, said the recapitalization was intended to ensure MTG “is positioned as as strong player in the media industry” when it goes public Sept. 15.

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