M6, TF1 stocks fall flat

French rivals both see drops on Gallic index

PARIS — Shares in TF1, France’s leading private web, fell 18.4% on Thursday after posting disappointing half-year results and predicting more gloom to come Wednesday.

Meanwhile, shares in net M6 lost 10.8%, despite substantially better results, as the overall Paris stock market index fell just .01%.

Net profits for TF1 in the first half of 2001 were 161 million euros ($146.8 million), down 4.3% from the same period last year, on revenues of $1.1 billion, up 7.9%.

The group predicted a 3%-5% dip in ad revenue and a drop in consolidated profits of 8%-10% for the year.

According to a first-semester statement, ad revs rose just .2% to $760.3 million.

In programming terms, costs at the core channel rose 5.1% in the first half, but the channel has pledged to keep to within 3.5% for the year.

TF1 group said its 100% takeover of the pan-European sports channel Eurosport, the acquisition of the theme web Serie Club and a May dividend consumed its cash, leaving it $6.2 million in the red.

Meanwhile, rival private free-to-air web M6 posted a net profit of $73.14 million, up 34.3% on the same period last year, on revenues of $380.63 million, a 10.6% hike.

Ad revs, boosted by the success of reality show “Loft Story,” rose 6.5% to $267.47 million while noncore business profits went up 21.7%.

The consolidated profits include a 20% stake in the German shopping channel RTL Shop, the sale to TF1 of Serie Club and losses incurred by TF6, a general interest cable and satellite web M6 recently launched with TF1.

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