Prisa profits, ad revs up

Int'l expansion helps boost revenues

MADRID — There may be a ray of hope for an advertising recovery in Spain — media company Prisa reported first half profits of €66 million ($65.4 million), 56% up on last year.

Prisa is the managing shareholder of Spain’s leading pay TV operator Sogecable; Prisa and France’s Canal Plus Group hold 21% apiece.

Second quarter advertising at the group’s media companies — including Spain’s most-read quality daily newspaper, El Pais, and top radio net Cadena Ser — rose 5% against second quarter 2001. Ad sales repped nearly 39% of Prisa’s revenues.

“The results are considerably above what we were expecting,” said an analyst. “We could be reaching the bottom of the advertising cycle,” he added.

Revenues increased 2% to $593.6 million, boosted by ad sales and Prisa’s international expansion. Last year it boarded Mexican radio network Radiopolis, a 50/50 joint venture with Televisa, and bought Brazilian textbook publisher Moderna. International revenues increased 49% compared to a year earlier. Operating margins also grew significantly at both El Pais and Ser, driven by cost controls.

Prisa stock rose 3.35% after the announcement in a generally down day for the Spanish Ibex stock market.

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