Losses sliced 40%

BERLIN — CLT-UFA’s profits increased by 90% from 1997 to 1998, Europe’s leading TV and radio group announced.

The Luxembourg-based media company also managed to reduce losses in its TV and radio operations by 40%. CLT-UFA was $22.6 million in the red last year, compared with an $80 million loss in 1997.

German commercial web RTL, which is partly controlled by CLT-UFA, increased its profits by 40%, while RTL2 managed to turn a profit for the first time in 1998. CLT-UFA’s stock in French broadcaster M6 also rose after that web saw a 29% increase. RTL Radio in France added to the positive numbers, as it remained the most popular station in the country.

CLT-UFA suffered heavy losses last year when the European Commission torpedoed merger plans between German pay TV channels Premiere and the Kirch-owned DF1. CLT-UFA, which has a stake in Premiere, invested heavily in programming for the expected merger, which would have resulted in Europe’s largest digital platform.

The EC, wary of a digital monopoly, vetoed the plans. Premiere nevertheless remains Germany’s leading pay TV channel.

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