Kirch unit blames soft ad sales for profit dip

ProSiebenSat 1 Media expects pre-tax numbers to drop by 45%

COLOGNE — ProSiebenSat 1 Media, the holding company for the Kirch Group’s four TV webs, has again revised its projections for the current fiscal year and now expects pre-tax profit to drop by 45%.

Following the events of Sept. 11 and its effect on ad sales, ProSiebenSat 1 in late September forecast that its operating profit would drop 20% from the previous year’s 245 million euros ($220 million).

But October and November, the months that traditionally produce the highest revenues, have remained “considerably below the expectations we could expect even after the terror attacks,” the company said in a statement.

Annual sales, which in spring were predicted to be 4% up from the $1.9 billion of 2000, now are expected to drop by 6%-7%. Ad customers’ budgets have been cut again since late October, when Germany’s leading research institutes forecast economic growth of only 0.7%, vs. the 2.5% predicted a year ago.

On the basis of ad bookings now registered for 2002, ProSiebenSat 1 forecasts a gentle recovery of the German TV market, but said it does not expect a sustained improvement until the second half.

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