German company sees dramatic rise in profit

BERLIN — In what appears to be a clear sign that Germany’s ad market is bouncing back, pan-European broadcasting group ProSiebenSat.1 posted higher than expected profits in the first three months of the year.

The Munich-based company saw a dramatic hike in first-quarter net profit from E1.7 million ($2.25 million) in 2009 to $28.1 million this year while total revenue rose $41.6 million, or 5%, to $873.4 million.

The improved performance resulted largely from greater TV ad revenues in Germany, the group’s core market.

Revenue at the German-speaking free TV division, which also includes Austria and Switzerland, gained a total of $37 million, or 7.2%, to reach $552 million. The conglom’s other European free TV assets, including channels in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Belgium and the Netherlands, saw revenue rise by $9.1 million, or 4.5%, to $212.7 million.

ProSiebenSat.1 also managed to cut its debt by $107 million to $4.5 billion.

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