Fininvest slide adds to Silvio slump

Slide attributed to a one-time gain of $1.9 bil

Silvio Berlusconi’s family holding company, Fininvest, which controls the tycoon’s film production, TV and book publishing empire, reported a near-10% decline in first half operating profits to e719 million ($915 million).

The slide was attributed to a one-time gain of $1.9 billion in 2005 from the sale of a 16.68% stake in Berlusconi’s broadcast group Mediaset, which boosted that half’s figures, company said in a statement late last week.

It’s been a difficult year for Italy’s richest man. The former prime minister lost the general election in April and Mediaset’s share performance continues to dive as an advertising and ratings slump wreaks havoc on the bottom line.

Fininvest, however, signaled it will continue to be an aggressive player in the European media sector.

Investments during the period rose 57% year-on-year to $1.27 billion as a lot of coin was plowed into digital terrestrial TV.

Fininvest maintains a 35% stake in Mediaset, a 50% stake in publisher Mondadori plus ownership of Medusa Films and soccer outfit A.C. Milan.

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