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ProSieben results up 15% over 1998

German co.'s revs hit $524 mil with record pre-tax numbers

BERLIN — Germany’s ProSieben Media on Wednesday reported its best ever half-year pre-tax results with a 15% increase to more than DM185 million ($96.7 million), compared with $85.3 million in the same period last year.

The company also announced its expansion into the Internet market and its purchase of stakes in a Swedish e-commerce company.

Speaking at ProSieben’s annual shareholders meeting in Munich, CEO Georg Kofler said ProSieben’s revenues were about 7% higher at more than $524 million, up from $518 million last year.

ProSieben acquired 13% of Swedish e-commerce outfit Letsbuyit.com, which is looking to set up a European platform for the online sale of brandmark products. ProSieben also has an option to assume another 12.1% of the company in the future.

Kofler cautioned, however, that the growth rates achieved in the first half- year cannot be used to predict the results for the whole financial year:

“Television is a seasonal business,” he said, adding that revenues are at their highest during the winter months while summer is usually the low season.

In addition, the group’s investments in other areas, namely its planned round-the-clock news channel N-24, the expansion of its ADN news agency and its move onto Internet services, won’t be cheap.

“For us, the year 1999 is the year of innovation and expansion more than ever before,” Kofler said.

N24 is set to go on the air in January.

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