Grupo Clarin

Buenos Aires

Revenue: 1.499 million pesos ($1.499 on Dec. 31, 2001*)

Beset by an economic crisis in Argentina, privately held Grupo Clarin has pulled back from an expansion drive abroad and into new digital services, and is focusing on its core print and TV businesses.

The country’s biggest media group had sought to raise capital through a public flotation to fund expansion and development of services like cable telephony and video-on-demand with the goal of generating extra revenue from its film, Internet, publishing, radio, sports and TV businesses.

With the country’s economy worsening and credit scarce, it started to shore up finances under the leadership of chief executive Hector Magnetto.

In 2001, it nearly halved the debt of multisystem operator Multicanal, its biggest business, and this year exited the telecom business by selling most of its 20% stake in mobile phone carrier CTI to America’s Verizon.

Still, the group, 18% owned by U.S.-based Goldman Sachs, faces the worst economic slump in years. Revenue dropped 7.9% in 2001 and is expected to fall more this year as ad spending declines at a rate of more than 30%.

Going forward, the group will focus on publishing and TV, sources of half its revenue, and boosting exports of publications and TV productions to bring in hard currency as the peso weakens.

*One peso was equal to one U.S. dollar under the country’s previous fixed exchange rate. Since January, the peso has been allowed to float. The figure does not include revenue from CTI, a mobile phone carrier in which Clarin sold most of its interest this year.

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