Bonnier gains turn red

'Unfavorable earnings trend are expected to continue,' CEO sez

AMSTERDAM — Profits for Nordic media conglom the Bonnier Group skidded into the red for the first time since the company revamped itself three years ago, as the weakened ad climate began taking a toll.

Bonnier posted a 5% rise in net revenues to 10.6 billion Swedish kronen ($1.13 billion), up from $964 million in the same period a year ago. But profits of $30 million turned into losses of $31 million year on year.

Bonnier CEO Bengt Braun forecast that the “weak demand for advertising and unfavorable earnings trend are expected to continue through the remainder of the year.” Fourth quarter is the company’s strongest period, however, and Bonnier could pull back into the black before year’s end.

In 2000, the Bonnier Group posted net profits of $61.6 million on $1.6 billion in revs, its best figures yet, but Braun has been warning over the past half year of a possible downturn from the ad slump.

Bonnier Entertainment, which houses the group’s TV, film, radio, Internet and production and distribution outfits, reported a 13% rise in revenues, largely attributed to film arm Svensk Filmindustri’s new agreement with Fox on video distribution in Scandinavia and film distribution in Norway and Denmark.

Operating losses at Bonnier Entertainment increased by $4.9 million to $11.6 million, due to weaker titles offered by Bonnier theatrical arm SF Bio and ad revenue lost by Bonnier Radio.

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