Co. credits results to restructuring of TV Nova

PRAGUE — Ron Lauder’s Central European Media Enterprises, the TV group that reaches 91 million viewers in six Central and Eastern European countries, was strutting its stuff Thursday, announcing third-quarter profits of $3.9 million, up from $9.7 million in red ink a year earlier.

The Bermuda-based media outfit, whose star property is the Czech Republic’s TV Nova, credited its glowing results to restructuring of the Prague terrestrial to a more margins-based model developed in Romania, plus a $6.2 million gain on the sale of an unconsolidated affiliate.

Slovakia’s Markiza, which has scored major ratings and was not consolidated in last year’s figures for this period, is also among the driving forces, said CME topper Michael Garin.

New media is another dynamic growth area for CME, with some 9.7 million items, 20% of them paid, downloaded from its Czech Web site.

Although CME reported $7.2 million in accounting errors discovered in stock option grants, it found no evidence of deliberate misconduct and said these would not affect current or future numbers.

Consolidated net revenues for the third quarter of 2006, meanwhile, increased 29% to $112.5 million over last year. Operating income for the quarter jumped 38% to $6.6 million, while net income from continuing operations increased $12.6 million to $6.3 million.

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