Divesting lefts Egmont profits

Pretax profits were posted at $110 million in 2004

AMSTERDAM — Danish media giant Egmont turned in record pretax profits in 2004 for the second year in a row as it continued to divest activities that produced too little profits and to move to digitization.

Egmont’s 2004 pretax profit, excluding proceeds on the sale of Io Interactive, shot up 20% year-to-year to E70 million ($94 million), the highest pretax profit ever recorded by the media group.

Including the sale of Io, pretax profits were posted at $110 million in 2004. The group’s after-tax profit rose to $98 million, up from $65 million a year earlier.

But net revs slid $50 million to $1.4 billion. As with last year, the fall was put down to company divestments, lower sales and falling prices of its PlayStation game consoles (through its sales-and-marketing agreement with Sony) as well as the fall of local currencies against the Euro.

Nordisk Film, under whose entertainment and distribution arm the PlayStation activities fell, was one of the hardest-hit divisions by the fall in revenues, with a slip from $464 million in 2003 to $389 million a year later.

Nordisk launched its first broadband TV channel and a VOD service late last year in cooperation with TV2 Danmark, a channel it hopes to buy when it is privatized in the near future.

Egmont’s share of profits from its 33% stake in TV2 Norway was $8 million, down from $10 million a year earlier.

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