Topper will ankle ailing Alma

Co. posts net revs of $317 mil for first nine months; operational profit down

AMSTERDAM — Matti Packalen, president and CEO of Finland’s second-largest media company, Alma Media, will step down in spring. Move comes in the wake of firm’s revelation last week of serious losses in its nine-month earnings report and warning of worse to come.

Alma owns Finland’s largest commercial television channel, MTV3, plus print, broadcast, cable and new-media outfits.

Alma reported net revenues of 2.1 billion Finnish marks ($317 million) for the first nine months of 2001, a minor rise from $314 million a year ago. But operational profit slid from $10 million to a loss of $2.9 million. Broadcast racked up the biggest losses, but red ink also flowed from digital TV and new media.

The Swedish-based Bonnier Group, which owns a majority 33% stake in Alma, has been hit by the company’s earnings performance. Bonnier is the largest media group in the Nordic territories.

Packalen became CEO when the company was formed in 1997 from the merger of MTV3 and Finnish publisher Aamulehti, where Packalen was CEO.

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