TF1 posts solid profits, revs

Stocks slide despite report

PARIS — France’s leading national broadcaster, TF1, has posted first-half 1998 profits of 532 million francs ($95 million), a 52% increase over the same period last year.

According to a company statement, first-half revenues were up 6.7% to $996 million, with advertising revenues rising 5.6% to $758 million.

Ironically, the results came at the end of a day that saw TF1 stock take a battering on the Paris bourse. The company’s share price dropped 6.8% to end the day at $166. TF1 shares have been rising steadily throughout the year from a low of $108 to more than $178 at the end of last week.

According to a TF1 spokesman, the share slide “is clearly due to profit-taking. Our price has risen by around 50% this year and we have resisted very well in a market that has dropped heavily over the past week. It’s normal that there should be slight correction in the TF1 share price.”

The rise in profits came despite continuing losses at Television Par Satellite (TPS), the digital consortium in which TF1 has a 25% stake.

Diversification revenues were also healthy, rising 10.7% to $237 million. The company’s record label, Une Musique, hit big with Nomads, whose summer single moved 1 million copies. On the video front, TF1 Video has already sold more than 800,000 copies of “The Blues,” a tribute to France’s World Cup-winning soccer team.

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