TV4 Sweden revs swell

Net profits hit plus side with $3.9 mil, up from $4.2 mil loss

AMSTERDAM — Scandinavia’s largest terrestrial commercial channel TV4 Sweden reported an increase in revenues in its second quarter of 5% and an optimistic increase in profits.

Net sales climbed to 590 million Swedish kroner ($62.4 million), up from $59.4 million in 2001, a modest increase of 2%. However, net profits rose to $3.9 million, up from a loss of $4.2 million a year earlier. That loss excluded an extraordinary gain of $20.7 million for a refund of concessionary fees paid to the Swedish public broadcasting system.

The numbers cheered investors. “The Swedish market has been hard hit by the advertising climate, with losses of total ad spend of as much as 15% in the fourth quarter,” said Peter Dahlender, an equity analyst for Stockholm’s Carnegie investment bank.

In the first half, TV4 posted net revenues of $119 million, down 1% from a year earlier. Pre-tax profits rose to $3.6 million, up from $2.8 million year-to-year, adjusted for extraordinary gains included in last year’s figures. Net profits were down from $17 million to a loss of $317,000.

Sweden’s 197-year-old Bonnier Group owns substantial stakes in TV4, and the possibility of a trickle-down effect to its other media investments is good news to the privately owned media group. It also owns the largest stake in Finland’s Alma Media Group, which owns MTV3, Finland’s largest commercial channel.

Dismal 2001 reports triggered a shakeup in leadership and heavy cost-cutting at both TV4 Sweden and MTV3 in Finland.

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