MTG’s revenues rise 25%; Finn outpost set

Cost cutting, operation streamlining credited for increased profits

AMSTERDAM — Better performance in its free TV and pay TV sectors and reduced losses for perennial problem pay TV child TV1000 pushed revenues of Scandinavian channel launcher Modern Times Group (MTG) up more than 25% and more than tripled the group’s profits in its first half year 1999.

The skyrocketing numbers were reported on the back of an announcement that MTG would launch a Finnish outpost of its decade-old TV3 network. “It will fulfill a longtime wish of the company to have pay and free TV operations across the Nordic and Baltic States territories,” MTG’s president and CEO Pelle Tornberg told Daily Variety.

Revenues of the group jumped from 1.8 billion Swedish krona ($220 million) in the first half of 1998 to $280 million the same time period this year. Profits rose year on year from $4.2 million in the first half of 1998 to $13 million in the latest reporting period.

For MTG, it has been a slow crawl to profitability since it spun off from Swedish industrial giant Kinnevik and launched onto the Nasdaq in 1997 and later the Stockholm Stock Exchange. Tornberg put the rise in profitability down to massive cost cutting and streamlining of the group’s operations.

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